(Warning: contains spoilers!)
Early in my Gather career I won a copy of the book "The Feast of Love" by Charles Baxter as part of a promotion for the movie. Yet I didn't ever watch the movie until now, when I saw that book on my shelf and wondered why I hadn't seen the film. I could have gone on waiting because this movie didn't make much of an impression on me. The best way of describing my disappointment is that this movie is too sappy to the point where I find it hard to suspend disbelief.
If you ever watched the TV show "Friends" (or did for a couple of seasons and then stopped caring like I did) you might remember the character Ross who wound up being married and divorced 3 times on the show. Bradley Smith (Greg Kinnear) gets into a similar fix, first when his wife for the last six years falls for another woman at a softball game. Later an attractive blond named Diana walks into Bradley's coffee shop in Portland, Oregon (the book incidentally was set in Ann Arbor, Michigan, which is one of the reasons I read it, to support a "local" author) and Bradley gets her help on finding a new house that isn't haunted by his wife's ghost. They end up getting married, but there's just one hitch: Diane is having an affair with a married man, David--she was doing this even before she met Bradley. So you can guess how that's going to turn out.
Meanwhile, at the coffee shop a new employee named Chloe falls in love with her co-worker Oscar. Oscar is a former drug addict who lives with his abusive drunken father known as The Bat--and not because he dresses up in tights and fights crime at night. When Chloe consults a psychic, she gets some bad news about Oscar, but presses ahead anyway. You can guess how that's going to turn out too.
In the midst of it all is wise professor Harry (Morgan Freeman) who is on a leave of absence after his son's death from drug-related complications. Harry advises Bradley and Chloe with sage advice like make sure you have two kids--you know, in case the first one dies then you have a backup.
In other, better movies we might have dealt with this realistically with arguments, anger, recriminations, etc., but "Feast of Love" is hell-bent to prove to us that love conquers all to the point where we're supposed to believe that all these people who have broken up, cheated on each other, and so forth are going to get together for a merry little picnic with maybe a musical number at the end. Being somewhat cynical I have to conclude Bradley is either an idiot or the biggest doormat since Charlie Brown. Not even similarly-themed movies like "Love Actually" ask us to make that kind of leap.
I haven't read the book in a while, but I don't quite remember it being that hokey. Maybe I'm wrong. Anyway, if you're less of a cynic you might actually enjoy this movie as a good break from your Nicholas Sparks books. Though what's funny as one reviewer pointed out for a movie that takes such a saccharine view of dating there's an awful lot of nudity involved.
That is all.
My score: 2/4 stars
Metacritic score: 51