Back to her Future
If you've seen "Back to the Future" I am sure you will remember Doc warning Marty that changing the past can affect the present; well that is very much the basis of romantic fantasy "Before You Say 'I Do'". It has a story about a man whose present day happiness is ruined by events which happened in the past and when he miraculously finds himself going back 10 years he has a chance to change history in the hope of making the present better. But this isn't really a movie about what so much happens when you mess about with the space time continuum but a light weight romance which skips along at a pleasant pace and delivers some expected confusion humour as the man finds himself living in the past.
The year is 2009 and George Murray (David Sutcliffe - Under the Tuscan Sun) wants to marry his girlfriend Jane (Jennifer Westfeldt), the only trouble is that she is scarred by a disastrous first marriage to Doug (Jeff Roop) who cheated on her on their wedding day and as such doesn't want to get married again. When George has a car accident he comes to and finds himself back in the past, 10 years earlier and to just 3 days before Jane is due to marry Doug. Seeing an opportunity to change the future by changing the past and stopping Jane from a decade of heartbreak he sets about stopping the wedding. And at the same time spots the opportunity to put another past misdoing right by stopping Jack Harrington (Brandon Firla), his boss from stealing his and his friends Harvey's (Brad Borbridge) advertising campaign. But how will all this messing about in the past change the present when he returns?
Now for the most "Before You Say 'I Do'" is pretty much what you expect from a TV movie, light weight, a bit shaky in places and not that deep when it comes to characters being more that 2 dimensional. But the actual set up which sees George getting engaged to Jane only to have her call it off because of her first marriage being so terrible is quite clever. Well clever in the fact it's a bit different to the norm as we learn that on Jane's wedding day 10 years earlier her husband Doug was cheating with the wedding planner. Add to that a subplot where George and his friend Harvey were cheated out of a lucrative advertising deal by a colleague and it gives enough reasoning to make the going back to the past element work.
But whilst a good set up "Before You Say 'I Do'" then has problems and the first of which is how George happens to go back 10 years, wishing on an amber light as he rushes through traffic and ending up in a car crash only to awake back in 1999. It's weak and just one of several fantasy elements that you have to accept without questioning or you end up laughing for the wrong reasons.
And sadly whilst the set up is reasonably good once George does return to the past it becomes quite obvious as we watch George not only try and stop Jane from marrying Doug and in doing so saving her from years of heartbreak but also helping Harvey get the lucrative advertising deal which in the present they were swindled out of. There is very little imagination to any of this as it rolls through one lightweight moment of romance and comedy after another as George and Jane end up falling for each other in the past. But whilst for the most it is obvious some of the expected comedy which comes from George going back 10 years is quite good, from mentions of a "wassup" advertising campaign to him predicting the future and Arnold Schwarzenegger becoming governor brings a smile to your face.
Here is the thing, you know that George isn't going to stay in the past, that just isn't going to happen and how he returns to the present is just as weak as how he got to the past in the first place. But then what has happened in the present, the changes thanks to his meddling in the past is either going to come across as imaginatively clever or a complete and utter cop out which pushes the fantasy element way too far. For me it is sadly the latter because whilst not exactly what I was expecting and good for not being so obvious it makes you actually question how it got to that point.
The ending is not the only issue because sadly the characters in "Before You Say 'I Do'" are both generic and 2 dimensional. There is absolutely no depth to either George played by David Sutcliffe or Jane played by Jennifer Westfeldt and whilst nice they are no more than cardboard characters. The same can be said of the supporting cast which includes Lauren Holly, Jeff Roop and Reagan Pasternak although at least Brad Borbridge as George's friend Harvey Blinton brings some much needed comedy.
What this all boils down to is that "Before You Say 'I Do'" is pretty much what you expect from a TV movie, delivering a simple fun storyline with a blend of romance and comedy but also being quite forgettable. You do have to stop yourself questioning certain things but the fun of George going back 10 years does bring a few clever smile moments.