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The Remake

Ingrid Bergman, who knew a thing or two about women in Hollywood, is famously quoted as saying, "Until 45 I can play a woman in love. After 55 I can play grandmothers. But during those ten years, it is difficult for an actress." And that was Ingrid Bergman saying that. Imagine what it's like if you're not one of the most recognizable actresses in the world, one who even survived working with Alfred Hitchcock.

In The Remake, actress Sheridan O'Connor (Lynne Alana Delaney) is a grandmother in real life but still seems to be in that awkward place between leading lady and sassy older mentor to the leading lady. People still know who she is, but she's never quite managed to recreate the magic of her big breakthrough film when she was barely out of her teens: Passport to Love, now considered a classic of romantic comedy. To add to the mystique, she even had a real-life romance with her handsome young costar, Riccardo Rossi (Ruben Roberto Gomez), which unfortunately ended very badly.

Thirty years later, director Frank Zelski (Timothy Carhart) has a brilliant idea -- to remake Passport to Love in a new way, featuring its original stars in an updated version of their classic movie. And it is an interesting idea, certainly, one that might actually work well with some movies, but there's just one little problem: even after all these years, Sheridan still refuses to be in the same room with Riccardo, and it's pretty difficult to film a romantic comedy that way.

Riccardo has never stopped regretting his lost love, however, even though Sheridan married another man and raised a daughter, Lori (Tessa Munro), with him. Now Lori has a son, Max (Aiden Leeder), and the recently-widowed Sheridan spends a lot of time with them. But Lori doesn't quite get why her mother is still so angry with Riccardo. You see, he's been taking full advantage of the natural charm offered by an exotic accent as well as decades of wooing beautiful women on-screen and befriending both Lori and Max, much to Sheridan's anger.

But the more everyone around Sheridan -- from her sister Eileen (Patrika Darbo) to her Aunt Peg (Sally Kellerman) -- is pushing her to forgive and forget, the more she refuses. Eventually someone or something's got to give, but who or what that will be is another question. When good news inadvertently sparks a crisis, no one's lives will ever be quite the same -- for better or for worse.

It's an absolutely charming idea that unfortunately isn't always executed very well. The acting is uneven, and it seemed as though perhaps a little too much was cut out of the original novel (written by star Lynne Alana Delaney) for time -- I would have loved to see more of the filming of the remake of the title and the lead actors' struggles to work together. But it was wonderful to see so many faces on-screen that are more like what we see every day, not the glamorous faux reality that Hollywood usually sells, and the ups and downs of the main characters' romance are equally true to life.

It was also great to see some of the special guests, which include June Lockhart as Sheridan's domineering mother, Irene, and Larry King as himself, trying to interview Riccardo and Sheridan with mixed results. And in the end the charm outweighs the flaws, creating an entertaining, gently funny glimpse into the people behind the movie magic, and what really happens after the cameras are turned off.

Sheridan and Riccardo on one of those awkward 'dates that aren't really dates'.


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