This gem has been sitting in my DVR for over a month, so you can imagine how much I have been looking forward to it. It stars that girl who was in that police procedural with Simon Baker, The Mentalist, but I never bought for one second that she was a hardened California Bureau of Investigation agent. Is there even a California Bureau of Investigation? Whatever, I digress. She stars with some guy in Love at the Shore.
Jenna Turner is a divorced mother of 2 kids who are roughly the same age but are not identified as twins. She’s also a writer facing a deadline in 5 weeks for her 2nd book, and she packs a manual typewriter and a laptop into her sensible car for her trip to the beach. Luckily, she’s got a Sassy Friend (who’s name is…uh, Sassy Friend) who’s going to come to the shore with her. Everyone wins! Their shore destination is Tybee Island in Georgia, which looks lovely. I’ve been there, too. I climbed to the top of this lighthouse:
Anyway, they arrive at a fabulous beachfront duplex, half of which is inhabited by Lucas, a guy who lives there all year round, surfs a lot, doesn’t seem to like wearing shirts, and has a lot of very white teeth. Plus he seems to talk really slow. It’s irritating.
Jenna is very controlling, very buttoned down, but at the first time she encounters Lucas (sans shirt and wet from outdoor shower) she babbles about how she’s divorced and how her ex is somewhere else and never around and she basically screams I’M LONELY. Lucas has a dog, and plays loud music at night, and Jenna hates.it.
Kids are there and go to summer camp while she pretends to write teen fiction, which he gives her the side-eye on, and she bristles as if it’s not hard to write. Screw you, Lucas. Have you seen the teen market in Barnes & Noble these days? It’s a gold mine, and the books are way better than when you pretended to read when you were a kid. When she asks him to keep his dog away from her half of the house, he says no, and condescendingly tells her she needs to relax. I could slap you six times right now, Lucas. You NEVER tell a mother of two to relax.
Anyway, Jenna enlists Sassy Friend’s husband to build a very nice fence on the small patio to keep the dog away. He is impressed she got it done so quickly, and then tells her to keep her kids away, which she has no control of doing, because judging by the conversation they have the next morning with Lucas, these two kids (1 boy, 1 girl) are SCREAMING for a male parent in their life. F you to all those deadbeat dads that pepper this type of fiction. I hate you.
I guess because Lucas is a local, he has a lot of friends, and for some reason shows up at the summer camp and is friends with Nick (the boy’s) counselor. She has unfortunate blond hair with a horizontal line that clearly shows she needs to spend some time in a salon to fix this unfortunate mistake. It’s also not creepy at all that he’s hanging around a summer camp. Jenna sees Lucas and Camp Counselor together, and gets a judgy look on her face.
Next scene is her trying to work on her gorgeous beach-facing front porch, but of course is distracted by the volleyball game being played on the beach, and the loud music that comes with playing volleyball on the beach. She makes them turn it down, making her the biggest killjoy ever.
On Saturday, the kids and mom head to the beach – and Lucas, who’s always surfing, finally breaks down and offers Nick some swimming pointers, because Nick just wants to swim fast and make the team back home. Or whatever, it’s dumb. Her kids both like Lucas, but know that she doesn’t, but do make her feel bad about it. They end up at the bonfire that night that Lucas is having (they bring marshmallows, but no chocolate, so what good are you?) and she’s even more judgmental based on the amount of blonde women who show up at this bonfire. The ratio of female to male is heavily weighted, and it confirms, to Jenna at least, that this man is a full-out himbo.
Lucas has promised the daughter that she can walk his dog in the mornings because she desparately wants one, and her deadbeat dad said she could have one, but uptight mom says no. It doesn’t go well.
Jenna and her kids walk on the beach and encounter Lucas’s volleyball, and they get into a bet as to who is better – if she wins no music late, if he wins, she won’t complain. She has to aggressively braid her hair in a side pony in order to play, and she wins. Lucas and his white teeth are impressed. He also is impressed by her book, which he takes upon himself to read and give redline notes on. Ugh. Jenna is so upset, and Sassy Friend says it’s because she likes him, and she totally is in denial about that. She calls her rental agent to get a new rental, and leaves a message about how she can’t be near a messy, lazy surfer all the time when her book is so important – and whoops! Lucas is the rental agent. That’s gonna be awkward after the commercial break.
Jenna’s kids are super in love with Lucas. It’s really sad. But he’s enjoying it, even if Jenna is still like it’s creepy you want to hang out with my kids.
The daughter’s name is Allie and we’re an hour in and I just realized that.
Lucas just listened to her message and he’s very defensive, but suddenly Jenna’s at his house with a peace offering because she flipped out that Lucas has helped Nick at his swimming. There is some ham-fisted dialogue and some very pointed glances at each other, and Lucas takes this overture as an idea that they are staying.
We then next see them in a Jeep with the top down, headed to a concert in the park. Sassy Friend and SF Husband are super happy to see Lucas, and they delve into Lucas’ character, where we find out that he owns the Summer Camp, which explains why he’s there all the time. So he’s loaded, and Sassy Friend is SUPER IMPRESSED. Jenna is super embarrassed that she thought he was just a lazy, unemployed, layabout. So, here is an example of Lizzie at Pemberley – she thinks better of him just because she knows he’s got money.
Jenna has an awkward conversation with the camp girl with the bad hair, who tells her A) that she’s not his girlfriend, and B) to be careful, because Lucas is not a family man. And Jenna’s all like, that’s okay, I’m not looking for something, and camp girl is like, “sure ’bout that?”
Lucas apparently got his MBA from UC Berkeley, and she’s impressed by this – she finds this out because she freaks out that he’s playing music on the louder side at 10pm. She is such a pain in the ass. Seriously, put some earbuds in and shut up! But she also lets it slip that she thinks he’s charming. Cut to her one night off from having kids, and she wants to grill one hamburger. Her grill’s broken, can she borrow his? (You could just cook that inside, you know). But that wouldn’t be helpful for the story, because Lucas just told her to grab her cardigan, and heads out to a Crab Shack on the pier. She is not impressed by eating the crab with a mallet. I feel you, Jenna, eating that if you’re not from Maine or Maryland is hard.
Lucas has a big meeting with some corporate people who want to franchise his summer camp. He’s super chill about it, and he’s like, as long as I do the best I can, the rest will work itself out. He doesn’t worry. But seriously, it’s a lot easier to say that when you’re sitting on major real estate investments and a summer camp. Life is easier with money. So shut the hell up, Lucas. But this scene allows us to see that they are liking each other more and more – and he gives her his jacket. Awkward goodbye, where they don’t know to shake hands or kiss – they opt for weird hug, which makes him (and her) both sigh when they are by themselves.
Sassy Friend is ALL ABOUT Jenna and the fact that Lucas is coming over for dinner. She’s gonna make Jenna buy a new dress. Sassy Friend is living vicariously through Jenna because her husband is a contractor who will not fix her own porch. But Jenna buys the new dress anyway, and Lucas is gobsmacked (you can tell by the music) as he brings wine and flowers to her house for dinner. Kids have questions for Lucas, and they are forced to eat salad with figs and chocolate chips. Ew.
His big corporate meeting is the next day, and Nick’s swim trial is also the next day. Will Lucas make it to the pool in time? He’s late, and he’s feeling boxed in by responsibilities, and he doesn’t want to have a wife and kids, so he does not make it. He actively chooses not to go, and Nick doesn’t do well in his swim trial. He also is disappointed and upset and gets attitude with his mom. Camp girl is actually surprised that Lucas missed the event this time, and Jenna is all I knew it – the moment I let my guard down, men will disappoint me.
Lucas does show up at their house that night. She makes the valid point that you can’t promise kids stuff if you don’t show up. He argues with her about the fact that she needs to let people in, while she counters that he doesn’t like to get close to people. It’s a dumb argument and Lucas slinks away. Now, a few scenes ago, Lucas took Nick to see a tiny lighthouse off in the ocean, and told him that he once swam all the way to it and back to prove that he was not afraid, and that he was a good swimmer. So cut to the next morning and Nick is not in his bed – so OF COURSE he’s going to swim to the lighthouse. Off they go in Lucas’ Jeep to find Nick – and OF COURSE he’s in no real danger. He’s fine. But it ends with Jenna telling Lucas that furry kids are the only ones he should handle, and oh, he’s upset by that. Whatever.
Cut to Jenna and Allie making cupcakes for the last day of camp. There are only 5 cupcakes on the plate, and they have 2 huge melamine bowls of frosting and sprinkles. Problems. Who only makes 5 cupcakes? Plus, I don’t believe that Jenna knows how to make frosting, so I don’t believe that she would have that much, she’d just have a container of Duncan Hines. Plus, WHO NEED a 2 Quart Bowl of Sprinkles???? That she just leaves with Allie so that she can talk to Nick? Has she met her daughter? This is a Sprinkle Catastrophe. And they’re Rainbow Sprinkles. Blech.
I’m just realizing that this summer rental has appliances and cookware that all match (they’re all turquoise blue). It’s weird. She also makes them pancakes like every morning. WHO DOES THAT? It’s not good for them. Have some fruit.
Lucas is ready to leave, he’s scouting locations for his camp franchises. They’re leaving the next day, but after a pep talk with her son, Jenna has to chase after his car, but Lucas didn’t go on the trip – he’s right there and she’s awkwardly apologizing to him for “lashing out.” He says he was wrong to think he could stay unattached to her and her kids. They kiss, and they tear down the fence she built and they burn it on the beach. I’m no beach person, but aren’t there laws about fires?
They don’t know how to make things work. He’s like it’ll all work out, but we’ll make a plan and they kiss and it’s over. But before I finish this up, I have to ask HOW is it going to work? She doesn’t live on Tybee Island, and she has 2 kids who have to go to school somewhere. She can’t just uproot them and move, but I don’t see surfer Lucas moving to the suburbs somewhere. So even though this ended on a sweet note, I do not hold out hope for these two.
Anyway. What did I learn from this movie? I am not a beach person, but if I could live in a duplex like the one in this movie, I’d be more of a beach person. I also learned that this actress has like 2 moods – calmly speaking, and speaking calmly. She had no inflection whatsoever in almost every scene and it was torture to watch her. Please, I don’t want to stand in anyone’s way to earn a living, but please oh please, cast her in some other kind of movie. She’s not good in these. But I sat through it, just so you don’t have to.