Review by James Lindorf
We are less than 100 days from the next election, which usually leads to a little stress in most of our lives. Now, due to a global pandemic, we are wondering how we will approach the most critical element of our democratic society safely. How we will find the time when kids may be learning virtually, instead of in classrooms while adults wait to make their voices heard. How will some of us even get to the polls if we lost our job due to the pandemic? With so many things weighing on us, the need for hope is crucial to finding a little peace in these trying times. That is the exact message of Director Andy Tennant’s latest film, “The Secret: Dare to Dream.”
Based on the bestselling self-help book by Rhonda Byrne, “The Secret: Dare to Dream” follows the friendship of Miranda (Katie Holmes) and Bray (Josh Lucas), which starts with a bang. Andy Tennant is the king of romantic comedies. Not just in sheer volume, but also in quality with movies like; “It Takes Two,” “Fools Rush In,” “Hitch,” and his first partnership with Josh Lucas, “Sweet Home Alabama” under his belt. Tennant brings his typical brand of humor and filming to “The Secret: Dare to Dream.” However, the film begins to depart from his usual stylings when it incorporates elements of Byrne’s book.
Using the book as the base takes a somewhat stereotypical Rom-Com with its meet-cute, blow out, and makeup sequence and tries to move it more into a realm of spiritual movies. Think of the recent film “Breakthrough,” starring Chrissy Metz. The writing team wisely or unwisely sidestepped that completely by having no references to god. Buddhism is the only religion mentioned. This half measure could open the film to a broader audience or cost itself the guaranteed audience that comes out to see every God’s Not Dead movie. Only the box-office will tell us if they made the right financial choice.
The best part of the film is Katie Holmes as the beleaguered widow and mother of three. The family is a living example of Murphy’s Law. When there is an opportunity for something to go wrong, it typically does. When you cancel your dental insurance, you find out you need a root canal, and things snowball from there. Holmes has a great ability to bounce between unbelievably stressed to laughing with the kids to try and keep their spirits high. Josh Lucas is good and his usual charming self, but maybe it was Bray’s character, or maybe Josh didn’t want to be there as much as Holmes because his performance felt more restrained.
Yes, “The Secret: Dare to Dream” is a bit cliché in its Rom-Com moments and sprinkles in Bray’s uninspiring platitudes, but the performances save it from being shown at 2 am on the Hallmark Channel. Without two engaging leads and strong support characters, “The Secret: Dare to Dream” could have been a complete mess. Instead, it comes out ahead of recent Rom-Com titles like the remake of “Overboard” or Tennant’s of “Fool’s Gold” or “The Bounty Hunter.”
Directed by: Andy Tennant
Written by: Bekah Brunstetter and Andy Tennant & Rick Parks
Starring: Katie Holmes, Josh Lucas, with Celia Weston and Jerry O’Connell
Rating: PG (for language and an injury image)
Genre: Drama, Romance
On Disc/Streaming: Jul 31, 2020
Runtime: 107 minutes
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