Picking Up & Dropping Off (2003) starring Scott Wolf, Amanda Detmer, Eddie McClintock, Rachelle Lefevre, Roger Haskett, Liam Ranger, Maggie Hill directed by Steven Robman Movie Review

Picking Up & Dropping Off (2003)   4/54/54/54/54/5

Amanda Detmer and Scott Wolf in Picking Up & Dropping Off (2003)

Parenting in Denver

When it comes too made for TV romantic comedies "Picking Up & Dropping Off" is a cut above the norm. In fact this sweet romantic comedy has a touch of the "Sleepless in Seattle" about it because beneath the layers of cute and obvious romantic humour is a story about the fear of dating again and the fear of rejection. It's not deep, in fact "Picking Up & Dropping Off" resides firmly on the side of being sweet and obvious but because there has been thought when it comes to the writing it feels more than just another rushed out TV movie.

Having separated from his wife Will (Scott Wolf) has custody of his son Ben (Liam Ranger) for the holidays which means a joyous time when picking him up from the airport but sadness when he has to drop him off. But Will spots a kindred spirit in Jane (Amanda Detmer) because when ever he is picking us Ben for the holidays Jane is dropping of her daughter Claire (Maggie Hill) who spends holidays with her dad. These fleeting encounters lead to a friendship and even a tentative data but life and the fear of moving on, rejection and doing what is best for their children constantly gets in the way.

Rachelle Lefevre and Kathy Baker in Picking Up & Dropping Off (2003)

It doesn't take long to realise that "Picking Up & Dropping Off" is more than just some rushed romantic comedy, the opening scene which sees Will rushing to get to the airport to pick up Ben speaks volumes because his relationship with his son is strained due to it being shortly after the split. This element of truth, of depth flows through out the movie especially when Will spots Jane sitting at the airport and speaks to her because he recognizes the look of sadness as she has just dropped off her daughter. And as things progress we watch how picking up and dropping off as well as parent child relationships become easier but also the difficulties which follow. There is Will unsure about dating again in fear not only of rejection but also how that could affect Ben whilst Jane has to deal with Claire hoping she will get back with her dad. All of these elements really help to make "Picking Up & Dropping Off" a cut above the normal made for TV romantic comedy and in every scene there is this element of reality.

But of course "Picking Up & Dropping Off" is a romantic comedy and that flows through every scene from Will being late to the airport and celebrating when he discovers the plane has been delayed to the whole tentative friendship between him and Jane. It is all very obvious and very cutesy especially with many scenes playing over the Christmas period but it works. For all the sweetness this is a movie which has the same warmth and charm as the likes of "Sleepless in Seattle".

Now a big part of that comes down to the casting of Scott Wolf as Will and Amanda Detmer as Jane because they both create characters rather than just deliver the lines. Now Wolf delivers what can only be called a Michael J. Fox style performance, handsome young single dad with a bit of nervousness and a cheeky smile but it works because he also gets across the fear of being hurt again. And Detmer has a Meg Ryan thing going on, pleasant, slightly quirky yet also strong and it means that when they are together there is real chemistry between them, maybe not great romantic chemistry but something believable of two people dealing with feelings and responsibilities.

What this all boils down to is that "Picking Up & Dropping Off" is one of the better made for TV romantic comedies I have had a pleasure to watch. It's not that original but because you can see the thought which has gone into the writing and the elements of real life it draws upon it works better than most.