Movie Review: “Change of Plans”, a Family-Friendly Film
This Saturday, January 8, 2011, Family Movie Night features the world premiere of “Change of Plans”, a made for TV movie, which airs on FOX at 8/7 central time. Wal-Mart and Proctor & Gamble have partnered together to develop the Family Movie Night initiative as a way to help families spend more quality time together viewing family-friendly films. “Change of Plans” is the fourth Family Night movie and I am pleased that I was given the opportunity to preview this fine film.
“Change of Plans” stars Brooke White (American Idol); Joe Flanigan (Stargate Atlantis) and Phylicia Rashad (The Cosby Show). “Change of Plans” is the story of the joys and struggles of building a family from a group of strangers.
Sally (Brooke White), a beautiful, free-spirited singer, and Jason Danville, (Joe Flanigan), a handsome, former Air Force pilot turned aeronautical engineer, who embrace the freedom and the affluence of their successful careers and life styles, are off on a trip to celebrate their fifth wedding anniversary, when they receive a phone call, which will not only change their vacation plans, but will also change their lives.
In the call, they learn that Teresa, Sally’s best friend and mentor, has died in a tragic accident while serving in the Peace Corps in Africa and has appointed Sally legal guardian of her four children. Sally and Jason discover through a meeting with Dorothy (Phylicia Rashad), a social worker from the Ohio Center of Family Protection, that they are the only “family” the children have.
The couple immediately rejects the idea of parenting the four orphans, which is just “not in the game plan.” They don’t really want children – at least that’s what they tell themselves. Jason is about to get his “dream job”, test piloting the plane he designed, while Sally is about to get her big music break and go on tour with her band. They come up with a variety of excuses to bow out of their dilemma. However, their consciences get the better of them and they realize they need to do something. When they meet the children, who are living in a group home, their hearts melt, and they decide to care for them temporarily until a better, more permanent home can be found.
Of the four school age children, three were adopted from third world countries. The children, who are all very bright and attractive, include: Jordan – the oldest child, a Caucasian teenager about to turn 16, who acts as a mother to the younger ones, Javier –a teenage boy from Guatemala, Kaleb – a boy from Uganda, and Sun Lee – a girl from China. Each one is very lovable and irresistible to Sally and Jason in their own way.
Sally and Jason become instant parents, which generates some humorous situations and some strongly emotional experiences, as the group eventually emerges into a cohesive family unit. There is even a scene that includes sincere and heartfelt family prayer, which is something you seldom see on TV anymore.
Sally and Jason begin to realize the joys of parenting, while at the same time struggling with the trials. As Sally and Jason learn to care for the children on a practical level, they also discover the true meaning of self-giving love.
I particularly admire the theme of this film – that life has more meaning when we look beyond our own self-interests and plans to care for the needs of others. For, self sacrifice and self-giving are what true love – true happiness – is all about.
I also enjoyed the music in this film – it’s very upbeat and compliments the story line. Twenty-seven year-old Brooke White is not only a beautiful woman, but she is a very talented musician. As one of the finalists in the seventh season of American Idol in 2008 (She took fifth place.), the singer-songwriter wowed both the judges and the audience with her incredible voice and versatility. In “Change of Plans”, she contributed three tracks to the soundtrack, which was executive produced by Idol judge Randy Jackson. Randy Jackson also makes a cameo appearance at the end of this film. Also making a cameo appearance in this movie is NASCAR driver Jeff Burton.
“Change of Plans” is good family viewing. It’s upbeat, entertaining, heart-warming, and humorous. I recommend you tune in Saturday, January 8, 2011, FOX at 8/7 central time and take a look for yourself.
~© Jean M. Heimann, January 6, 2011