Are Nicholas Sparks adaptations a bit too hard-hitting for you? Did you quite fancy Josh Lucas in Sweet Home Alabama but find him too charismatic? Do you enjoy mansplaining, rictus grins and infomercials?
Boy oh boy, fans of the bland, do we have a movie for you!
Miranda Wells (Katie Holmes) is having a hard time. She has a leaky roof, a dead husband, a boring boyfriend and mild to moderate debt. Sometimes she cannot afford to order pizza and she definitely cannot buy her daughter a pony. Woe is her. Outside her southeastern Louisiana home, a storm is brewing and swirling in the gale are the winds of change.
Bray (Josh Lucas) is a man with many missions (and an ill-advised side parting); he needs to deliver a mysterious wax-sealed manilla envelope to Miranda and distill Rhonda Byrne’s bafflingly popular self-help tome The Secret into hints, glances and asides to the supporting cast without derailing the exceedingly dull romance he is the apparent star of.
Oblivious to the irony of sending a miracle magnet to a region still experiencing the aftershocks of Hurricane Katrina to help a not particularly helpless family with party planning, takeaway manifesting and ponies, The Secret: Dare to Dream audaciously drops Bray into the centre of the Wells family’s very bad week. And, as if by magic, he makes their lives better.
Deftly dodging any notion of the good he could do in the Lower Ninth Ward, Bray instead puts his powers of positivity into action by attracting a hotel room upgrade, a serendipitous fender bender and an invitation to dinner. That pesky storm whisks away Miranda’s mailbox and the secret he’s been keeping but it’ll keep. Unlike Miranda’s man…
Daydreams are wonderful things, they cast you adrift in an ocean of what if and allow you to reimagine your life, landscape and loves. The Secret: Dare to Dream is the daydream a very basic computer would construct if you input Betterware catalogues, the entire oeuvre of the aforementioned Mr Sparks and every single episode of Virgin River.
A remarkably snide mother-in-law (Celia Weston) and a pointless proposal (Jerry O’Connell) provide zero stakes tension to inflate the run time but really this is a vehicle for upselling The Law of Attraction tut. We rather hoped the floaty planets in the intro and outro contained subliminal messaging but have yet to feel compelled to buy Rhonda Byrne’s wares.
Andy Tennant, who serves as co-writer and director, appears to have tamped down every ounce of creativity and charm he has to churn out this culty, materialistic, half-hearted fart of a feature. Even a fantastically silly plane crash couldn’t brighten our mood. Poor Katie Holmes beams maniacally through the nonsense and manages a few endearing moments with the eldest Wells girl, Missy (Sarah Hoffmeister), but her blank stare tells the true story.
The Secret: Dare to Dream is available to rent now for £13.99 through On Demand platforms such as Sky, Amazon, Apple, Google, Virgin, Talk Talk, Chili TV, XBOX, Sony PS, Rakuten and Showcase At Home.