Meet the Dad
It is very easy to explain "What I Did for Love" because it is "Meet the Parents" turned into a Hallmark TV movie using the favourite location of a ranch for all the humour. As such it is very predictable from the city slicker boyfriend finding back water life alien to him messing up time and again when it comes to impressing the future father-in-law. And that to be honest is it, because whilst mildly entertaining "What I Did for Love" is also seriously corny, not hugely funny and in reality quite unreal.
As a hot shot lawyer James White (Jeremy London) has everything and the last piece is asking his girlfriend Sadie (Dorie Barton) to marry him. But knowing how traditional her father is Sadie insists that when she takes James back to the family ranch to meet her dad and brothers for the first time he does the right thing by asking his permission. The only trouble is that back water life and ranching is alien to city slicker James and Sadie's father Karl (James Gammon - Monte Walsh) takes a dislike to him immediately. And to make matters worse Sadie's high school sweetheart Clint (John Littlefield) is still sweet on her and will do anything to make James look bad.
So as already mentioned "What I Did for Love" basically works through the "Meet the Parents" formula as James meets Karl and keeps on messing up and as such we have a very predictable movie. When James stumbles out of bed in the middle of the night looking for a bathroom only to stumble into Karl's office and a bear trap on the wall it is all very obvious and to be honest not that funny. In fact when it comes to the humour "What I Did for Love" edges closer to being corny than amusing and certainly doesn't feature the sharp wit of Ben Stiller's movie.
Of course with this being set on a ranch there is plenty of more mishaps involving horses, cattle, hunting as well as Sadie's brothers mocking James when he cooks. There is a couple of sort of nice changes on the formula as to how everything gets resolved, not how you might first imagine when we learn that Karl is battling with the land conservancy and could do with a lawyer. But cheesily the movie wraps everything up in a nice little bow with a happy ever after ending which is so corny it is painful. Talking of corny, "What I Did for Love" is a movie set at Christmas but whilst there is mention of the festive season it most certainly isn't a Christmas movie.
As for the acting well firstly every single character is a forced stereotype from James being a city slicker to Karl being a curmudgeonly old Rancher and so no one has any real chance to shine. But to be honest this is a case of actors going through the motions, delivering lines and just trying to have fun so whilst "What I Did for Love" features James Gammon, Jeremy London and Dorie Barton their performances are forgettable.
What this all boils down to is that "What I Did for Love" is basically "Meet the Parents" turned into a Hallmark ranch movie and sadly is quite corny. It's predictable, not that funny and sort of mildly fun in the fact that it is predictable but it fails to deliver the feel good factor which it strives for.