Home on the Ranch
It's been almost 20 years since Karen (Krista Allen - Jesse Stone: No Remorse) had set foot on her father's horse ranch but when he unexpectedly dies she returns home for Christmas, dragging along her city bred teenage daughter, Juliet (Nadine Crocker), who has never been there. For Karen things are simple as she plans to sell the ranch as soon as possible, the trouble is her father didn't leave a will and Karen's former boyfriend, Hugh (Tim Abell - Kidnapped: The Hannah Anderson Story), who has been running the ranch for a few years, says he is now part owner of it. Of course it leads to tension between the two of them but at the same time they discover old feelings being rekindled. Meanwhile Juliet has found some romance of her own thanks to Hugh's nephew, Monty (Zeb Halsell), who sets about teaching her to ride her grandpa's horse, Rodeo. But when Christmas is over some big decisions are going to have to be made.
I could sit here all day trying to spin this review together to sound clever and original but in truth "Rodeo & Juliet" is not the sort of movie which deserves that much effort. That doesn't mean that this made for TV movie is poor just that "Rodeo & Juliet" is simply another horse movie where a person heads to the family ranch, realise they enjoy being there more than in the city, enjoys riding horses and finds a bit of romance in the process. The only real difference when it comes to "Rodeo & Juliet" is that it combines the ranch movie standards so city girl Juliet falls in love for ranch life, horse riding and a handsome local with her mum discovering she still has feelings for her beau from the past. So anyone who has watched a handful of horse/ranch movies will already know where "Rodeo & Juliet" is most likely going to end up.
Now whilst "Rodeo & Juliet" doesn't offer up anything particularly new when it comes to the storyline it does tick the boxes when it comes to appealing to the audience. There is an easy going tone and a simple storyline to follow, there are also some nice scenic shots and the actors all look good. Okay so the acting isn't bad either, nothing which stands out from the crowd but not overly amateur either. Yet "Rodeo & Juliet" is a movie which is as much about portraying the right look to go alongside the romantic storyline as it is anything else.
What this all boils down to is that "Rodeo & Juliet" is a solid combination of two ranch movie storylines; the mother rekindling old love and the young girl who finds love we well as discovering a passion for horse riding. But whilst solid and delivering the looks to make it easy to watch it is only a familiar movie at best.