Writer(s): Jon Erwin, Andrew Erwin, Jon Gunn, Scott LeRette, Susy Flory
Director(s): Jon Erwin, Andrew Erwin, Jon Gunn
Producer(s): Jon Erwin, Andrew Erwin, Jerilyn Esquibel, Kevin Downes, Peter Facinelli, Meredith Wieck, Chelsea Kujawa
Starring: Zachary Levi, Jacob Laval, Meghann Fahy, Peter Facinelli, Drew Powell, Pilot Bunch, Patricia Heaton
Plot Synopsis: “The Unbreakable Boy” centers on a teenager with autism who also has a rare brittle bone disease. Described as “told in the charmingly unpredictable voice” of the teen, the film is billed as “a funny and inspiring true story of a young couple stumbling through parenthood, who find constant inspiration from the joy and optimism of their spectacularly unique son.” The film also is described as in “the spirit of ‘Wonder’ and ‘Peanut Butter Falcon,’ with a dash of ‘JoJo Rabbit.'” It will be based on the true story of Iowan Austin LeRette, whose father, Scott, candidly chronicled his son’s life, struggles and faith in God in the book “The Unbreakable Boy,” co-written with New York Times best-selling author Susy Flory.
Donovan has always loved her dream job as the owner of a local coffee shop, but she fears that her mortgage is about to cause her dream to end prematurely. What’s worse is a hotshot playwright comes to town and starts off completely on the wrong foot with her, all the while Donovan’s sister is trying to get her to run back to the boyfriend who left Donovan for a big time Chicago job. Will Donovan be able to sort out all the confusion in time to save her dreams?
Production Quality (2.5 points)
Up Entertainment has perfected the Hallmark model of putting out a consistent amount of films with fairly professional production quality in each one. Video quality, camera work, and audio quality are all what they should be. The soundtrack is a bit too generic, however, which fits this genre to a T. What also typically comes with this sort of made for television movie is relatively good sets, locations, and props, yet some minor editing issues that plague it, all in the name of making the runtime trim. All of these typical elements are present in Coffee Shop, making it seem like it was made on an assembly line. Overall, though the production is great, there are plenty of other predictable elements to point.
Plot and Storyline Quality (.5 point)
Though this story is trying a bit harder than most made for TV romantic comedies, Coffee Shop is still an extremely typical story about a jilted girlfriend who has to save her ______ and then both her old boyfriend and a new well-groomed man whom she doesn’t like at first but grows to like show up in the small town she lives in with other quirky characters. Though some of the characters demonstrate attempts to be creative, probably mostly the influence of the Erwin brothers, there are just too many predictable elements for this section to warrant any more points. The entire plot follows a predictable progression and the end can be seen from the beginning. In the end, it’s hard to see the justification for yet another one of these sorts of films.
Acting Quality (3 points)
Despite all of other issues, the Erwin brothers still do their thing and win out when it comes to casting and acting coaching. There are virtually no errors in this section as line delivery is on point and emotions are very natural. UP and Hallmark should consider hiring the Erwins as permanent casting help.
We realize the machine of cable television demands certain movies that fit into certain molds, so perhaps there is really no solution to this problem until cable is no longer relied upon as a source of entertainment revenue. Creative Christian film makers need a better outlet for their films so that they can showcase their talent outside of the confines of a revenue-seeking machine. Perhaps one day we will see more of these sorts of films on streaming services such as PureFlix.