This damned movie is gonna get me in so much trouble. Why, you ask? Because this sweet and sappy never-say-die tale of blossoming puppy love, which co-stars Ralph Macchio, actually inspired me to set out a-courtin’ a woman I really like. That’s right. I’m taking romantic advice from The Karate Kid.
I am so dead.
Actually, so is Hubbie (the scarcely recognizable Macchio). Dapperly dressed and wailin’ a mean saxophone, Hubbie’s spent the past fifty years or so hangin’ out at the cemetery waiting for his beloved to join him. There he spooks the bejeezus out of Danny (Bryan Burke) who’s visiting his father’s grave.
Danny’s on the cusp of puberty, that awkward age we all remember so well when the girls are all taller than the guys; those lumpy things suddenly protruding from their chests threatening to poke the guys’ eyes out. Danny doesn’t realize it at first, but he’s developed a nasty crush on his best friend Julie (Michelle Trachtenberg). She, of course, is totally oblivious to his plight; her hormones all atwitter over the hunky new guy in school, Archie (Michæl Galeota).
Danny’s mom Maggie (Rachæl Ticotin) knows what’s going on, as does his feisty recently widowed grandmother Nona (Diane Ladd). Hubbie, an expert on true and timeless love — guess whom he’s waiting for — gives his young charge tons of advice on how to win Julie over. It’s up to Danny to pull it off.
“Forever Together” is as predictable as it is sanitized. Laced with an almost Capra-esque “Aw, shucks!” attitude, director Richard Friedman’s film is the kind of movie where the “troublemaker” kid wears his hair long, dons sunglasses indoors, and unsuccessfully schmoozes the ladies for laughs. Of course, he’s really a good kid at heart.
The whole film, in fact, has that sort of PAX Network sheen to it; the performances and humor a little too pat, cheery and contrived. There are some nice moments between Macchio’s Hubbie and Danny, Bryan Burke doing reasonably well in a role that fifteen years ago would have gone to Fred Savage or, well, Ralph Macchio.
If — ack! — you like the comic strip “Family Circus” and openly wept at “Ghost,” “Forever Together” is the perfect date flick for you. What’s surprising is that it might even manage to tweak the heartstrings of some of the rest of us.
Wonder if my would-be courtee is one of them.