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Case Number 24331: Small Claims Court

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Lake Effects

Anchor Bay // 2012 // 100 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge Brett Cullum // August 14th, 2012

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All Rise...

Judge Brett Cullum dives into a lake with Jane Seymour in hopes of getting some open heart jewelry from her. No such luck!

The Charge

Look deep into the lake and you'll find three women from your television.

The Case

When a father (Jeff Fahey, Lost) passes away, he leaves the women in his life adrift to pick up the pieces. One daughter (Scottie Thompson, Trauma) moved away to Los Angeles to become a high powered attorney, while her sister (Madeline Zima, The Nanny) stayed behind to teach art and live with her parents. Their mom (Jane Seymour, Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman) is devastated and hopes the funeral will bring together her prodigal daughter with the faithful one. Ben Savage (Boy Meets World) shows up as comic relief on a mythical beast hunt. Estates must be settled, houses saved, issues raised, and lake monsters found.

Lake Effects is a Hallmark Channel production that boasts a decent television cast and some okay production values. It's absolutely a "chick flick," given that all the main characters are female, and the emotional land mines they navigate center on sister and mother ties. I think they slipped in the monster hunt subplot just to add some men into the proceedings, but this is really about women having to figure out where they belong in a world removed from men. Jane Seymour is comfortable with the material, and her gracious spirit ebbs across to her young costars. A grizzled Jeff Fahey shows up in dream sequences and flashbacks, offering wise advice. The script doesn't do much unexpected, which is what seems to hold everybody back. The whole thing feels like it could have been more original and satisfying, but aims low and hits its target.

The film is presented in standard definition 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen, and although the transfer is clean, it's too easy to see how low budget the production is. They do some really nice things with color saturations and framing, but it all looks decidedly television in nature. The Dolby 5.1 Surround mix works just fine, since most of the time we're just getting dialogue and Kaz Boyle's treacley underscore. Extras include some deleted scenes and a short making=of featurette.

Lake Effects is a gentle Hallmark movie which sells the idea that small town values are still better than an urban lack of ethics and a love of progress. This one will appeal to fans of the cast, and those looking for a quiet night of wholesome family entertainment.

The Verdict

Guilty of showing still waters running deeper than what's revealed.

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Scales of Justice

Judgment: 75

Perp Profile

Studio: Anchor Bay
Video Formats:
• 1.78:1 Anamorphic
Audio Formats:
• Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (English)
• Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (French)
• English
Running Time: 100 Minutes
Release Year: 2012
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
• Comedy
• Drama
• Family
• Television

Distinguishing Marks

• Deleted Scenes
• Featurette


• IMDb

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