Mystery Agony Aunt
Katie (Kellie Martin - The Christmas Ornament) always wanted to pursue a career in writing but when her mum fell ill and she gave up on her dreams to take care of her she decided on a more secure career in accountancy with one of her clients being the Bellport Herald. Everyone in Bellport loves the Herald because of "Dear Viola", the advice column, which after the original Dear Viola retired Katie took over on the promise from the paper's owner to keep it a secret. It leads to Katie giving advice to "Lost Love", Russ (Jefferson Brown - Silent Hill: Revelation), a widowed father with a daughter who is struggling with how to move on. As they correspond through the letters with Katie giving advice as Viola saying it is time for him to move on, she starts to fall for him which makes things complicated when he starts dating an attractive new woman who comes to town.
When you watch a lot of movies you go through that barrier and you no longer get as frustrated by unoriginal movies or those which are cheesy as you might once have done but instead accept them for what they are. That brings me to "Dear Viola" the sort of movie which gets shown on TV in the afternoon because the sort of person who is at home in the afternoon and looking for a movie to watch is probably after light entertainment rather than hard hitting realism. It does mean that "Dear Viola" is not the most demanding of movies and relies heavily on the simplest of charms but it kind of works.
Now "Dear Viola" is extremely familiar as we start with a very small community where it seems everyone goes to church and everyone else knows each other's business. On top of that we have the mousy woman who has put others ahead of her own desires and then there is the handsome father who is a widow. They are 3 basic ingredients and how this plays out with the woman, Katie, secretly falling for the father but he ends up with someone else is as text book as it comes. Of course things are not simple and we have the issue of her being Dear Viola and so we have that Tom Hanks - Meg Ryan things going on with a play on "You've Got Mail". Basically there is nothing new in "Dear Viola" but it blends the familiar ingredients in a pleasant, sugary way.
Because "Dear Viola" trades on familiarity the acting is more a case of did the director pick the right people to fit in with the feel of the movie and director Laurie Lynd did. Kellie Martin whilst OTT on doing the mild mannered stuff is also sweet and likeable whilst Jefferson Brown has that handsome father thing going on in that laid back sort of way.
What this all boils down to is that "Dear Viola" is the sort of movie which you put on but don't really watch as there is nothing new or fantastic about it. But at the same time it isn't a bad movie, just the equivalent of easy listening for those seeking a movie to watch in the afternoon.