Along Came Wanda is a feel-good rom-com where love is more a journey than a search. Mary Beth Higgins (Constance Brenneman) is ending her 20-year marriage to her husband Bill (Max Adler) when she receives a ceramic teapot from an old lover. The ex in question, seen in photographs, appears to be a very sexy and beautiful woman. The newly single mother to a teen reminisces about her past life as a professional photographer and being in love.
That is when the eccentric and goofy Wanda (Cathy DeBuono) shows up in her converted soup truck (to a camper). Wanda encourages Mary Beth to join her on a journey. Happy, quirky, and very endearing, Wanda instantly captures Mary Beth’s attention. As they say, there are only a few stories in the world, and one of them is that someone undertakes a quest, which is what Wanda and Mary Beth do at the former’s insistence.
Mary Beth says goodbye to her husband and has her mother Grace (Isabella Hoffman) come to stay with her son. As the women hit the road, we learn even more about Wanda. She’s funny, aware, and cares about Mary Beth. First, Wanda takes her friend to a peace garden where Dai Ku (Rich Ceraulo Ko) and a woman named Laura (Monica Young) offer the advice of just being a person, not a bunch of titles. Then, a bit of meditation and advances by Laura have Wanda on route to continue their journey to Davina Moonbeam (Roberta Hanlen), a known psychic and close friend to Wanda. It is here, in a very homey and bewildering environment, where Davina presents the future to the two wanderers.
“Wanda encourages Mary Beth to join her on a journey.”
Along Came Wanda is a film about spiritual awakening and finding oneself in our everyday lives, especially if you are trapped by sexuality. The comic angle that Wanda provides saves the film, especially when Mary Beth intermittently turns to the camera to reveal her thoughts directly. This breaking of the fourth wall breaks the film’s flow. Unfortunately, this leaves particular directions the story goes in feeling improperly established.
In addition, the added elements about the pandemic in the dialogue and parts of the performances appear to be undeveloped. Yet the feel-good female vibe director Jan Miller Corran creates carries the romantic comedy a long way primarily through the comedic chops of DeBuono and the impressive acting by Hanlen.
At first, Along Came Wanda comes off a bit disjointed, and its spiritual overtones appear heavy. But the story comes to life and engages as Wanda reveals herself, and Mary Beth begins to feel empowered with life. There’s nothing like a road trip to break out of one’s patterns and discover a new direction and people. It is a journey to finding love and enlightenment, and a happy one at that.
For more information, visit the Along Came Wanda official website.
"…feel-good female vibe[s]..."