Proposal at Peyton's Place
I'm not going to knock "Taking a Chance on Love" because this is a Hallmark movie built on melodrama, filmed with an autumnal eye and is all about delivering a warm sentimental feeling. I will say I have seen better but basically "Taking a Chance on Love" works, it does what it sets out to do. But it is worth knowing that this is a sequel to a movie called "The Note", a movie which I haven't seen but I presume is more of the same with a different storyline. You can watch "Taking a Chance on Love" without seeing "The Note" I managed it, but there are elements of character history and relationships where having watched the first movie would have helped.
Having been reunited with Christine (Katie Boland), her daughter she gave up for adoption many years earlier, columnist Peyton MacGruder (Genie Francis) is still finding her feet as a mother. If that wasn't enough her boyfriend King (Ted McGinley) wants to marry her but there is something making it tough to say yes. After receiving a letter from Eve Miller (Kate Trotter) to her column she strikes up a friendship with this woman and not only learns a lot about Eve and the regrets she has held for 40 years but at the same time learns something about herself.
From a story point of view we have two main stories which interweave, the first one with Peyton being proposed to by sports journalist King and not being sure whether to accept or not. And then there is the storyline of Eve Miller who through a letter she sent to Peyton ends up becoming a friend who recounts her fascinating life and her 40 years of regret. Of course this has a purpose, it's all about Peyton's fears on getting married again and what is preventing her from saying yes. And if you couldn't guess all of this is sorted in time for a sweet happy ever after ending.
But whilst the main purpose of "Taking a Chance on Love" is about Peyton dealing with her fear and learning from Eve who has had 40 years of regret we get a lot more and by more I mean a lot of family melodrama. We have the father and son issues between King and his son David who has quit college and then there is Peyton's daughter who fears being shut out after years of never knowing her mum. It is during these subplots that it does get a little confusing if you haven't watched "The Note" but at the same time it does a nice job of explaining things so whilst you maybe initially confused you do piece it all together.
All of this means we have a lot of melodrama and director Douglas Barr never lets an opportunity slip by. Between plenty of tears, hugs, sweeping background music and autumnal framed shots Barr crafts a movie which purposefully goes for an emotional response. Personally it's a bit too much for me, I felt it was too manufactured but I know that there are plenty who will find this orchestrated emotional drama simply wonderful.
And in a similar manner the performances of Genie Francis and Ted McGinley as Peyton and King are also a little too forced for me. But what they do have is the likeability factor, both individually and as a couple which makes watching them a pleasure. And to be honest whilst we do have Kate Trotter as Eve and Katie Boland as Peyton's daughter Christine much of the movie focuses on Peyton and her fear of getting married again.
What this all boils down to is that "Taking a Chance on Love" is a pleasant enough movie and pretty much everything you expect a Hallmark movie to be. But for me it was just average and I am sure for those who watched "The Note" will enjoy this sequel a lot more.