Cupid & Cate (2000)
Romance & Battles
It's her father's birthday and Cate (Mary-Louise Parker) is dreading the family get together as her father Dominic (Philip Bosco) always makes her feel inferior, belittling her and her vintage boutique whilst praising her successful sister Francesca (Bebe Neuwirth) who is a doctor and her other sister Cynthia (Joanna Going) who is a super model. Fortunately at the party she meets Cynthia's lawyer friend Harry Dietrich (Peter Gallagher) and realises they are kindred spirits, so much so that she finishes with her secure but nothing special boyfriend to start dating Harry. And it is a passionate romance which ends up in a quick proposal and marriage although for Cate happiness may be short lived when Francesca tells Cate that Harry may have leukaemia whilst also having to deal with her issues with her dad.
"Cupid & Cate" is one of those Hallmark movies which starts off in a pretty typical manner as we meet the individualistic Cate with her vintage boutique, her own vintage dress sense and her love of daytime soaps which she knows so well she could be writing the scripts. All this screams romantic comedy especially as she is reluctant to return home for her father's birthday as she knows he will constantly put her down for what she does and how she looks. Everything about this screams romantic comedy as we have Cate meeting the empathetic Harry and whilst she has a steady boyfriend you can predict how this will go.
But "Cupid & Cate" is more than a romantic comedy as it evolves into a romantic drama as Cate ends up falling for Harry and without giving everything away faces a series of battles which could jeopardize their romance with the big one being that Harry is diagnosed with Leukaemia whilst of course Cate has to confront her issues with her father and how he belittles her. It is as you would expect sentimental and emotional, well it is Hallmark, but it is pleasant and nice evolves to end up more than you first think it will be.
Much of why "Cupid & Cate" works is thanks to the casting with the likeable Mary-Louise Parker perfect for this sort of movie as she has the look and the smile to deliver the romantic part but also the acting skill to cope with the emotion and drama which comes during the second half. It is the same with Peter Gallagher as he has that romantic charm but also the acting skills to bring out the depth of the character later on in the movie. It is the same with the rest of the cast with Philip Bosco well chosen to play Cate's father because he brings that almost paternal sarcasm to the character in a natural way which makes his put downs feel uncomfortably real.
What this all boils down to is that "Cupid & Cate" is an entertaining Hallmark movie, an engaging romantic drama which starts of in a cliche way but evolves in to an emotional drama which thanks to the performances of Mary-Louise Parker and Peter Gallagher keeps you involved in what happens.
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