Pros: Great acting; fun story that rises about the predictability
Cons: Predictable story; a bit with the premise
The Bottom Line:
Melissa and Joseph shine
Making the film charm
The Fiance May be Fake, but the Fun for the Viewer is Real
I've already established that I am one of those fans who will watch something a favorite actress is in, especially if I haven't seen her in anything new for a while. Since I loved Clarissa Explains it All and Sabrina the Teenage Witch, I couldn't pass up a chance to see Melissa Joan Hart in My Fake Fiance. Yep, this would be your typical romantic comedy, but it was charming and fun to watch.
The set up goes something like this. Jennifer (Melissa Joan Hart) is excited to be moving into a place of her own, but the moving van is stolen on moving day - with all her stuff inside. Vince (Joseph Lawrence) has gotten in too deep with his bookie, and needs to pay off some debt fast before some serious consequences catch up with him.
Jennifer and Vince meet at the wedding of some mutual friends who are trying to set them up. But they only repel each other. They decide to work together, however, to solve their problems. They will pretend to get married, Jennifer will keep the gifts, and Vince will keep any cash they are given. But somewhere in the whirlwind of meeting families and planning a wedding, they begin to develop real feelings for each other. Will they go through with their fake wedding? Will either tell the other how they truly feel?
As I said, predictable city. The broad outline of the story didn't surprise me in the slightest. However, many of the particulars did. And they also surprised me in just how charming they truly were. I found myself smiling more than once as I watched the two characters truly warm up to each other. I'll also confess to laughing a few times at some of the situations the characters were in.
What really make this story work for me was the characters. I wasn't sure about Vince at first, but pretty much liked Jennifer. As the movie progressed, we got to know both of them better, and I grew to love both of them. Despite the fact that I hated what they were pulling on family and friends, I actually found myself rooting for them to be happy because I loved them so much.
And make no mistake about it, this is Melissa Joan Hart and Joseph Lawrence's movie. The rest of the cast only pop in and out as needed for the plot and aren't given enough room to be fully developed. The cast does the best job they can. This is especially true of the bookie and his henchmen who are mostly played for laughs but give us just enough menace to make us worry about the outcome.
But back to Melissa and Joseph. With the movie riding on their performances, they needed to hit it out of the park. And they do. Not only do I believe them as these characters, but their chemistry is amazing. Incredibly, it seems to grow as their characters fall in love. You couldn't ask for more from the leads.
My only real complaint is with the premise. While the two do have guilt at various times at the con they are pulling, they never back down. It bothers me enough to knock off a star, but it doesn't keep me from swallowing the premise and enjoying the movie.
I'm sure a truly original romantic comedy would make headlines. Until that happens, there are plenty out there to be enjoyed. My Fake Fiance is certainly one of those.