Romantic comedy goes to the dogs
Cinnamon belongs to Madeline (Cynthia Gibb) a divorced English professor who's back on the dating scene. That's created some bad feelings for Cinnamon, who feels that no man is good enough for "her mommy" and fears that if Madeline meets a new man and falls in love that she'll be out of the picture. How do we know that? Well, Cinnamon can talk, at least to us and to other animals, thanks to Disney Channel star (and once fiancee to Miley Cyrus' brother) Brenda Song. She continuously complains and whines, especially when Madeline meets widower Kevin (Greg Evigan) and they quickly fall for each other. However, when Cinnamon meets Kevin's son Jordan and finds she enjoys spending time with him, things start to look a bit better.
Of course, if that's where things ended, it would make for a pretty boring movie (though it's not as if what actually ended up in the movie was much more compelling.) Instead Madeline and Kevin's relationship gets complicated due to some fibs and misunderstandings, including a lost-dog cover-up, while Jordan stands up to the neighborhood bully (with some encouragement from his neighbor Heather (Big Time Rush's Ciara Bravo.)) This sets up an ending you've seen in dozens of other films, frequently done far more impressively. It doesn't help that the film opened with the penultimate scene before flashing back for the rest of the film, since you know where we're going and there are no twists along the way. Combine this with a TV movie look and feel and a great deal of sincerely awkward dialogue (check out the bully's comebacks), and the entire affair is a lot of been there, done better.
Normally, when I see the Dove Foundation's "Family Approved" logo, it's a sign to turn away, as the film is going to be either a saccharine sweet pile of "awww" or a movie with a heavy Christian bent. So it was odd to see this film spotlight the character of Madeline's daughter Chloe (Ashley Leggat), a party girl who, when she's not arguing with her mother and spending money she doesn't seem to have earned in any way, lies about being older to hook up with a guy whose plans for her include her spending all her time naked. Even referencing this is a bit odd for a film with this family-friendly distinction, but it certainly didn't make me want to share the movie with my daughter.
The Dolby Digital 5.1 track is notable mainly for the way it enhances the music during the film's many montages, burying any dialogue that may be present. The music is pretty strong throughout, almost cartoonishly obnoxious. The dialogue is pretty clear though, and there's some light off-screen activity in the surrounds. Just don't expect anything dynamic from the mix.
The Bottom Line