Friday, September 16, 2016

'Rodeo and Juliet' DVD: Southern-Fried Shakespeare



[EDITOR'S NOTE: The following review of star-crossed lovers set on a Louisiana ranch contains a plethora of horse-related puns that allow your not-so-humble reviewer to sow his wild oats.]

The Breaking Glass Pictures September 20, 2016 DVD release of the 2015 Hallmark Movie Channel style film "Rodeo & Juliet" provides a welcome break from both the dark and rancorous days leading up to the dreaded election day for president and from the equally dark (but very good) families in tremendous turmoil fare that has been dominating the webpages of Unreal TV for roughly a month. On a related note, "Rodeo" makes a great Sunday morning brunch film for adults and an even better Saturday night slumber party flick for tween girls.

The following YouTube clip of the trailer for "Rodeo" provides a good sense of the Southern-fried sentimentality of the film.


The Juliet in this variation is a a New York high school student, who apparently has been held back several years, involuntarily sacrificing a Manhattan Christmas full of Saks Fifth Avenue and Rockefeller Center to travel to Louisiana with her romance novelist mother Karen to prepare the ranch of her recently deceased grandfather for sale. In true Hallmark Movie Channel style, prolific (and loved) character actor Krista Allen plays Karen.

Wonderful inadvertent humor relates to easily 25 year-old actress Nadine Crocker playing initially pouty and then very whiny on discovering a lack of Wifi on the ranch 16 year-old Juliet. The attitude of this brooding mare greatly improves on meeting the titular horse, who seems to be a direct descendant of Mr. Ed of  early '60s television fame. "Juliet" being a certified family-friendly flicka, rather than a Catherine the Great biopic or a variation on "Equus," precludes the doomed romance being between that girl and that equine.

Dreamy 20-something two-legged stallion Monty, who does not even approach going Full Monty in this G-rated outing, plays the Romeo in this tale of two young people having family conflict stall their efforts for a stable relationship. Parents of the aforementioned tweens are warned to expect tremendous squeals on the first appearance of Monty.

The family feud this time relates to Monty being the nephew of Hugh, who is the boy whom Karen left behind on moving to New York to become the next Danielle Steel. Present day strife relates to Hugh asserting an ownership claim regarding the ranch.

The stakes this time extend beyond seeking what is sure to be true romance. Juliet covertly ropes Monty into training her for a riding competition with a prize that she needs to keep her little pony on the ranch.

"Rodeo" being much more Disney Channel than Globe Theatre ensures a happier ending than the outcome in the source material.

Anyone with questions or comments regarding "Rodeo" is welcome to either email me or to connect on Twitter via @tvdvdguy.