LeAnn Rimes as Holly Whitman in Reel Love (2011)

No Real Love

With news that a parent has been taken ill a city girl returns home to the country in a rush leaving a sort of boyfriend behind and on returning finds herself re-evaluating her life, bonding with the parent as old issues are worked through whilst also finding love and diverting a mini crisis. I don't know how many times I have watched a made for TV movie which uses that exact storyline or a slight variation on it and "Reel Love" is another one to add to the list. Everything about "Reel Love" is predictable and follows that formula but if you enjoy the variety of movies that use the formula then with a cast which includes LeAnn Rimes and Burt Reynolds it is a pleasant distraction.

Following her graduation many years earlier Holly Whitman (LeAnn Rimes - Northern Lights) couldn't wait to leave the fishing community that she had grown up in, heading to Chicago to become a lawyer. But after receiving a call to say her father Wade (Burt Reynolds - The Longest Yard) has had a heart attack she finds herself racing back to look after him. But her return makes her start to re-evaluate her life as her sort of boyfriend Carl (Jeff Roop) is more in love with his car and issues which have kept her distant from her father come to ahead. Plus there is the handsome Jay (Shawn Roberts), town mechanic and all round good guy who takes a shine to Holly.

Burt Reynolds as Wade Whitman in Reel Love (2011)

In many ways "Reel Love" is a movie you could put on and not really watch yet still knows what happens because it takes that well used formula of a city lawyer returning to their childhood home and re-evaluating life, healing old wounds and finding love. The only real difference this time is that rather than having a ranch which is the usual location we have a fishing community which gives a pleasant twist on the also formula element of Holly helping out when the town becomes hot news because of a record bass in the lake. But basically "Reel Love" is a different skin on an old body which if you like the other movies which use it you should enjoy this as well

Now I enjoyed "Reel Love" despite the fact it didn't really offer anything new to elaborate on that old formula but compared to other similar movies it is a little weaker. The reason why is because whilst we have good characters and nice performances there is no real chemistry between anyone. LeAnn Rimes is nice to watch, she has a laid back style which makes her easy to like but when it comes to Holly having a spark of romance with Jay it never arrives. It also means that whilst Shawn Roberts makes Jay a really good guy there is still no spark to make you think that they should be together and will last. Basically it never really finds the magic of the romance which is for me key to making the movie work.

Of course "Reel Love" is not just about the romance and we have that father daughter bonding element which let me say that I would never in a million years have cast Burt Reynolds as a fishing loving father. But the irony is that in Reynolds quiet way he makes it work, he gives the character of Wade a touch of crankiness but watching Reynolds sit there with a rod in his hand and hat on his head he is actually believable. Again the actual chemistry between Reynolds and Rimes never feels right but it is okay.

What this all boils down to is that "Reel Love" is basically another TV movie which recycles a familiar plot. It doesn't bring anything new to the story other than having it set around a fishing community but if you enjoy the basic formula you should enjoy "Reel Love".