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“The Lost Husband” Finds Too Many Cliches

Being “nice” can sometimes be a backhanded compliment. A romantic film, one seeking to warm an audience’s heart, usually doesn’t have too much of an edge. There’s nothing wrong with being “nice,” especially when the material calls for it. However, when you wind up with something that’s only “nice” and doesn’t offer up anything else, it leaves you lacking. The Lost Husband is a prime example of this. Sure, it’s pleasant and has its heart in the right place, but that doesn’t mean that the end result isn’t bland and without narrative thrust. On Demand this weekend, it’s a harmless offering that nonetheless leaves you wanting more.

This flick is a romance, introducing us to Libby (Leslie Bibb) a short time after the sudden death of her husband. Unhappy in her current situation, stuck living with her mother, Libby is offered a life preserver by her estranged Aunt Jean (Nora Dunn). It’s an elusive offer, consisting of a job and a place to live on her Texas farm. Out in the country, away from her problems, Libby opts to take Aunt Jean up on the offer and shepherds her kids to the goat farm. After some initial troubles, life on the farm begins to start charming Libby. The work is tough, but the tough farm manager James O’Connor (Josh Duhamel) is easy on the eyes. Of course, he has tragedy in his life, as well. Along with some other eccentric characters, this unlikely life for Libby begins to really offer up the life she may not have wanted, but could really actually need. Vicky Wight directs and adapts the novel by Katherine Center. Aaron Kovalchik handles the cinematography, while the score is by Sherri Chung. Supporting players include Kevin Alejandro, Herizen F. Guardiola, Callie Hope Haverda, Georgia King, Sharon Lawrence, Carly Pope, Isiah Whitlock Jr., and more.

The actors all do what they can with the material, but it all winds up feeling like a “safe” episode of a CBS television program. Despite an easy-going nature, the predictability of the work winds up being a major hinderance, eliminating forward momentum. The movie leans in and embraces the charm put forward by Leslie Bibb, Josh Duhamel, and Nora Dunn, but there are so many cliches here, they can only do so much. Bibb and Duhamel have some low level chemistry, but the sparks never fly like you’d hope. That’s just another element that keeps this film from ultimately succeeding.

The Lost Husband has pure intentions, as is often the case with an unsuccessful work of this sort. As much as that’s admirable, it doesn’t add up to a recommendation worthy film. Vicky Wright saw something in Katherine Center’s novel, but it never comes across to us. There’s so much meandering to be found here, both in terms of the plot and also just how the characters approach the story, that the running time feels twice as long as it actually is. To be fair, nothing here is bad, it’s just incredibly un-engaging, leaving you without a reason to keep watching. The story doesn’t take you in, in the slightest.

This weekend, The Lost Husband looks to scratch audience members’ itch for cinematic romance when it hits VOD. Unfortunately, the final product is likely to be less than satisfying. Your mileage may vary, but this one did very little for me. Give it a look if it appears enticing to you in some way, but keep your expectations decidedly in check, regardless. The movie just doesn’t stack up, otherwise…

The Lost Husband is available to rent on Friday.

(Photos courtesy of Quiver Distribution)

About Joey Magidson

A graduate of Stony Brook University (where he studied Cinema and Cultural Studies), resides in Brooklyn, New York. He contributes to several other film-related websites and is a member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association.

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