JFL – Review on An Innocent Kiss

I love family quality time, don’t you? It’s a typical day at the Barnes family household, as they find themselves dealing with everyday family problems. Ellie (Whitney Goin) has to deal with the troublesome twins (Noah Neal and Matt Rossitch) keeping them under control, Billy (R. Keith Harris) has got bigger problems always working more than focusing on his family, along with financial woes and his suspicions about his wife. Louise the middle child (Sophia Watson) tries to make the best of being with the family, and Henry (Michael Provost) the oldest has no motivation as a teenager. But nothing is more problematic than crazy Uncle Randy (Michael Abbott Jr) coming over for a visit. He gets into the wrong house and mistakes their neighbour Gordon (Walter Duckworth) for an intruder. Yup, there’s always that one family member that messes things up big time just from visiting. Henry tries to come up with a present to make for Ellie so Billy shows him how to work with modelling clay. At the same time, Ellie tries (repeatedly) to apologize to Gordon for multiple unintended mishaps caused by Billy and Randy. But Randy tries to show he means well as he helps ice a wound for Ellie and she kisses him for it. Shortly afterwards when Billy comes home, Ellie supposedly captures Henry masturbating and Billy’s talk is misheard by Ellie. It’s only a matter of time before Billy gets more uncomfortable with Gordon and Ellie’s secret bond and it soon explodes in the worst place possible: At Ellie’s birthday party where everyone is sitting around to witness the intensity in Billy’s heated head. What it ultimately boils down is both Billy and Ellie are having a rocky marriage and they’ve got to find a way to work things out. Randy has his own issues to work out too as he decides to face off against his old wrestling foe Crazy Cobb Robbins (Gary Johnson) for charity.

It’s a chaotic film with a hefty amount of ridiculous humour that anyone can enjoy. Or at least try. Nothing shows the accuracy of dysfunctional families like this movie does. Even Billy and Randy’s father (played by the late Burt Reynolds) comments on how only perfect families are in movies, but this is one where that’s not true. Taking place in an old time period roughly 80s or 90s, with extremely good period details. Colour may seem like mixed shades of brown, but there’s a lovely bit of pink and green here and there. Just about every character has the most American accent you’ll ever hear. But that’s what adds to the authenticity and their personalities are very interesting themselves, you feel like you’ve known people like these before. It’s a film that teaches us not only to make time for the people who are most important in our lives, but it also shows other values like revenge is not the answer, and not to assume certain things without the whole story. A good blend of heartwarming humour. Maybe a little bit awkward, but it will give you a good time. Some quality time, maybe.




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