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Somewhere along the line I've become the official DVD Verdict caretaker for The Note franchise. Boo-yah!
Facts of the Case
Everyone's favorite middle-aged couple, Peyton MacGruder (Genie Francis, General Hospital) and King Danville (Ted McGinley, Married with Children), return for yet another installment of low-impact, feel-good melodrama. And this time there's a new wrinkle: a baby!
One night, a desperate young mother leaves her infant on the doorstep of Peyton and King. Our heroes, initially thunderstruck by the intrusion into their life, quickly find themselves head-over-heels for the kiddo. But when the mom returns and wants back in, friction ensues, forcing Peyton and King to make some tough decisions.
Make no mistake, The Note series—specifically The Note III—is as low-calorie as it gets: saccharine, non-confrontational, and fairly predictable. The alternative title for this second sequel is "Notes from the Heart Healer," so that gives you a sense of how syrupy the proceedings will be.
These are all compliments, though, because this is precisely what The Note III wants to be: cheery and feel-good. And darn it, if it didn't want to make me hug my dog when the end credits rolled.
I like to belly-ache about getting all these movies to review, but deep down in the part of my soul that likes cotton candy and sings along with The Fresh Beat Band, I'm a fan. Or maybe the word is "sucker."
The Note III doesn't break much new ground with its storytelling. The baby shows up and of course Peyton and King fall in love the kiddo, and of course when the baby mama comes back and wants custody they make the correct, unselfish decision and…well, if you haven't figured it out yet, I won't ruin the suspense.
But who watches these movies for the surprises? Keyser Soze isn't walking through the door here. No, the entertainment is derived purely from the interaction between the film's two main characters. Any charm to be derived from the events is located in King and Peyton's relationship and—just as in The Note and The Note II—the chemistry of Francis and McGinley carries the day.
It's money casting really, and kudos to the actors for refusing to phone it in and cash the checks. They obviously enjoy these performances. In the making-of featurette, McGinley lauds the character of King, comparing his role to putting on a favorite pair of pants. Sure, that's a corny comparison, but it's apt; the man is happy doing this stuff.
The baby storyline allows for the two actors to go different places with their "comfy pants"—paternal and maternal—and while the story beats are familiar, there's zip and charm added when King and Peyton run with them.
All this to say: if you're a fan of The Note series, this installment will suit you just fine. If you enjoy your human drama infused with the warming glow of menopause, then I urge you to watch the whole trilogy.
The DVD: standard definition 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen, Dolby 5.1 Surround, a pair of disposable deleted scenes, and a featurette on McGinley and Francis.
If you want cynical and subversive go elsewhere. The Note III is safe and happy, like a fleece throw with gossamer glued using the dried tears of a baby giraffe.
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