Growing up on Moonlight Bay
Alison Dodge (Kristen Bell - Couples Retreat) has been raised by her mother ever since her father Al Dodge (Tim Matheson - Driven to Succeed: The Story of Martha Stewart) abandoned the family when she was just a child. With college starting after the summer Alison decides it is about time she got to know her estranged father and so takes the bus to Arizona where her father lives. But her hopes of bonding don't go well as her father is a solitary man who likes his life as a handyman with no responsibilities who at the end of the day likes a drink. But it doesn't prevent her from trying to bond or trying to get her commitment shy father committing to his girlfriend Sandy Bateman (Sean Young). It's not just her father's romantic life which is set to change as Alison meets Tim Spooner (Bug Hall) who is also off to college at the end of summer.
Let's see we have a storyline about an emotionally restrained, estranged father with a drink problem, I've seen that before in another movie. And we have a teenage girl trying to get to know said father who over the summer does some growing up as she finds romance, I've seen that before as well. But whilst it would be fair to say that the parts of "The King and Queen of Moonlight Bay" are familiar it is a nicely put together movie which if you enjoy easy going movies will feel like that old jumper which makes you feel comfortable and secure.
Now don't mistake me saying that "The King and Queen of Moonlight Bay" is comfortable for not being hard hitting as in between the familiar stories it has its moments. In a pivotal scene where Al flips out over Alison having organized the kitchen the ferocity of Al's bark as he reprimands her knocks you back. But for the most it is a pleasant tale of a young girl bonding with her father who doesn't feel he deserves to know his daughter whist the daughter does some growing up.
A big reason why "The King and Queen of Moonlight Bay" works is down to the spot on casting with both Tim Matheson and Kristen Bell filling their characters with charm. Watching Tim show subtle signs of beating himself up for abandoning his daughter is touching whilst Kristen showing signs of a daughter just wanting to know her dad no matter what happened in the past. Plus there are enjoyable performances from Sean Young and Edward Asner with Asner taking on a very quirky character, maybe a little too eccentric but entertaining none the less.
What this all boils down to is that "The King and Queen of Moonlight Bay" is little more than a familiar movie made out of familiar elements but it all comes together nicely in a warm, friendly way.