Orphan Charlie (Scott Baio) marries aspiring actress Barbie (Julie Condra) and as they come up to their first anniversary they start to argue as Charlie wants children but Barbie is more focussed on her career. Whilst she is away for work he decides to get checked out by a doctor and receives the bad news that he is sterile but that is followed by even worse news when a few weeks later Barbie declares she is pregnant. At the same time Andy (Bruce Greenwood) and Diane (Gabrielle Carteris) are having their own pregnancy problems as they learn that Diane has a 1 in 1000 chance of getting pregnant. Believing that she is no good to Andy she decides to divorce him but Andy proves that he only wants her and they look into surrogacy and adopting which provides problematic as well as surprising for the couple. Then there is Brad (James Naughton) and Pilar (Bess Armstrong), older than the other couples but also looking at having a child. But their age proves to be problematic and head down the artificial insemination route which leads to problems as well as proving to be a very emotional journey.
"Mixed Blessings" is based on a Danielle Steel novel but unlike other movies which I have watched that have been adapted from one of Steel's novels this one feels different. Now I haven't read the book but this feels a lot less slushy and a lot more interesting than other movies as it looks at three different aspects of troubled pregnancy and relationships. Yes the way these three stories are linked via the same doctor's surgery is tenuous considering the differences between the couples but none the less interesting.
But it has to be said that at the same time in order to cover all three storylines it ends up feeling sparing on detail and resorting to spoon feeding information to us rather than allowing the stories to evolve naturally. It is annoying and in many ways "Mixed Blessings" needed to be longer in order to give each story line more time to evolve. The up shot of this is that after the set up and each storyline hits its flow it becomes like a series of melodramatic scenes such as we drop in to the story of Andy and Diane just to watch her have an emotional outburst at a family dinner where the talk of pregnancy gets too much for her.
As for the acting well I imagine that fans of the book will probably be disappointed by some of the choices and in fairness some of the performances are weaker than others. But the performances from Bruce Greenwood and Gabrielle Carteris as Andy and Diane are the best in the whole movie, not only looking good together but bringing emotion and romance to their performances which sometimes is lacking from some of the other performances.
What this all boils down to is that "Mixed Blessings" is entertaining and a bit of a surprise as it is not what I expected from a movie adapted from a Danielle Steel novel. It is not without its problems as it descends into a series of melodramatic moments but it has its good moments and good performances as well.
Tags: Danielle Steel Movies