Thursday, February 25, 2010

"The Family Plan": Hallmark comedy feeds the fantasies of a "Natural Family" manifesto


When I started my career in computer programming a few decades ago, I already sensed that programmers didn’t face the same pressures to conform to social expectations as people with “marketing profiles”. So we have the silly comedy from the Hallmark Channel, “Family Plan”, (2005) directed by David S. Cass Sr. (Oops, I see there is no "the"; but the title seems to need a definite article to me.)

Charlie McKenzie (Tori Spelling), an upwardly mobile executive (in a foods company) who could never stand for the mommy track, finds herself in a sticky position. An acquiring company walks in the door, and the new boss Ed Walcott (Greg Germann) insists on a “family company” (which may not be the same as “family friendly”). It sounds like EDS in Ross Perot’s dynamo of the 1960s at Exchange Park in Dallas. Ed thinks that a ring on her hand is a wedding ring, and she has to hire a gayish male actor Buck (Jordan Bridges) to put on the mirage of a husband. Then Ed wants to rent the house next door, and Charlie has to pretend it will be bad for the golf game, lead to roaches, or maybe even emit radon gas. The ruse turns into a plot like that of comic opera. It’s funny to see people see marriage as a tool of social approbation – or is it? In the end, Buck’s act may not be so much of an act after all. (Remember “Chuck & Buck”?)

There is a funny line about it being February, in southern California, the month for rain. But that typically translates into mudslides.

I recall an episode of the 50’s sitcom “My Little Margie” where you had to be married to get a particular job.

Don’t mix this movie up with “Family Man” which has several incarnations (one of which I saw on an international flight).

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