A Lesson in Life
High school teacher Trish Fahey (Nancy Travis) is forced to have Justin (Cameron Deane Stewart), a star basketball player, suspended from the school team for failing her class and it leads to an ugly encounter with Justin's mum, Cindy (Jana Lee Hamblin), who Trish accuses of being a bad mother. What Trish doesn't realise is that Cindy is a war widow struggling to pay the bills and cares deeply for her sons more than anything with Justin struggling with the loss of his father. That is until Molly (Yara Martinez), an angel, intervenes and magically causes Trish to become Cindy and having to live her life for a few days. After the initial confusion Trish begins to understand and appreciate what Cindy goes through whilst meeting Cindy's new neighbour Jake (Philip Winchester), a war veteran who is trying to make a go of it as a handy man.
In "Freaky Friday" Jodie Foster got to switch places with Barbara Harris and see in a comical way that being a mum is not easy. In "The Family Man" Nicolas Cage had an encounter with Don Cheadle who shows him an alternative view of what his life could have been like. And I could go on because there are other movies with people finding themselves all of a sudden leading a very different life to their own. And now I can add "A Walk in My Shoes" to that list with its storyline of a mum getting to see what life is like for another mother who is struggling to make ends meet after being widowed.
Now I don't know whether "A Walk in My Shoes" was made by a producer of faith based movies but it clearly has that sort of vibe going on especially when it came to filler scenes where all of the sudden the soundtrack starts to intrude as if a band had agreed to provide the music in return for free promotion. But it is not just the style which reminded me of faith based cinema as this is a movie with a message which wants to be thought provoking. We have Trish learning lessons from not judging people without getting to know them and their situation first to learning to appreciate what you have as it can be gone in a blink of an eye. We also see how for Jake trying to move on from the war is complicated and there is a whole lot more which with the inclusion of the comically quirky Molly you could also add God moves in mysterious ways.
The thing is that whilst as times "A Walk in My Shoes" may seem a little heavy handed in its approach it actually works and manages to combine being entertaining with the comedy of Trish learning to live as Cindy with the messages it wants to get across. And much of that is down to the performance of Nancy Travis who manages to deliver the humour and confusion but then bring out the journey of Trish as she begins to appreciate not only what she has but how difficult it can be for those less fortunate than her. But I have to mention Yara Martinez who really ups the comedy of Molly with her constant dancing and bubbly attitude which is strangely infectious.
What this al boils down to is that "A Walk in My Shoes" is a surprisingly effective variation on the body switch theme combining the entertainment of the obvious confusion with a couple of thought provoking messages. But it is a little heavy handed at times none more so when it comes to the soundtrack which far too often is intrusive.