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Love Finds You in Valentine DVD Review

Love Finds You in Valentine DVD cover art -- click to buy from Amazon.com Love Finds You in Valentine
Movie & DVD Details

Director: Terry Cunningham / Writers: Irene Brand (book) Bryar Freed-Golden (teleplay)

Cast: Michaela McManus (Kennedy Blaine), Diogo Morgado (Derek Sterling), Lindsay Wagner (June Sterling), Edward Asner (Gabriel Morgan), Danny Rios (Ray Lazaro), Maryann Nagel (Robin Donovan), Brian Bartels (Pastor Tom Morgan), Kellen Boyle (Bill Cuddy), John Eby (Smith Blaine), Keith Benford (Danny Tepper), Kaitlyn Sapp (Grace Morgan), Jonathan Yurcoc (Ken Blaine), Hunter Cross (Steve Morin/Moran), Jim Kisicki (Gregory Talbot), Annie Kitral (Housekeeper), Simba (Wilson the Dog)

Original Air Date: February 14, 2016 / Running Time: 91 Minutes / Rating: Not Rated

1.78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen / Dolby Digital 5.1 (English)
Subtitles: English for Hearing Impaired, Spanish / Not Closed Captioned
DVD Release Date: June 7, 2016 / Suggested Retail Price: 22.98
Single-sided, single-layered disc (DVD-5) / Black Eco-Friendly Keepcase

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Since 2008, there have been more than 50 books in the "Love Finds You" series of romance novels.
Love Finds You in Valentine is the third of those to be turned into a TV movie. Apparently, no characters feature in more than one book, which are written by a variety of authors. They all just follow a formula which is to have love find a woman in a part of America (or, in one instance, Canada).

Valentine came to DVD this week, four months after premiering on a cable channel called UP, fittingly enough, on Valentine's Day. It is based on the third or fourth book in Sunnyside Press' line, published back in 2008. The movie drops the last word of the book's title: Nebraska. Though easily missed, that is apparently the location of the generic rural small town Valentine where wealthy California woman Kennedy Blaine (Michaela McManus) journeys after losing her father.

Love finds Kennedy Blaine (Michaela McManus) and Derek Sterling (Diogo Morgado) in Valentine, Nebraska in "Love Finds You in Valentine."

Valentine was the hometown of both of Kennedy's parents, though she has never been there. Upon her father's death, Kennedy has to deal with the Circle Cross Ranch, ownership of which she has inherited. Her father refused to sell the ranch for sentimental reasons, but her realtor second cousin (John Eby) thinks that won't be an issue for Kennedy. He has an anonymous buyer all lined up to purchase the ranch and all Kennedy has to do is sign on the dotted line.

Of course, you know she won't do that. You know where the movie is going in its opening moments. Kennedy becomes acclimated with the land and quite enamored with Derek Sterling (Diogo Morgado), the hunky ranch foreman with a faint, not easily identifiable accent. Kennedy also gets to meet the bitter grandfather (Ed Asner) she never knew she never knew and learn about the feuding families that produced her.

Kennedy is not so into Steve (Hunter Cross), a friend from law school who clearly wants to be more than friends and keeps Skyping and even drops in. She is into Derek and chaperones young campers with him. But Derek has a dark past related to his upbringing in Chicago. A shady, scarred old criminal colleague (Danny Rios) fresh out of jail comes looking for Derek, considering him responsible for his 15-year sentence and demanding the cowboy pay up to hide his past.

Ed Asner plays Gabriel Morgan, Kennedy's cranky, bitter, estranged grandfather.

Valentine is wholesome Christian entertainment which naturally bears the Dove seal of approval for all ages. Typically, that seal also indicates a low-budget movie short on production values that is both bland and predictable.
Valentine fits those descriptions completely. Poorly written, acted, and staged, this forgettable country romance is comparable to the few bad Lifetime Original Movies I've seen that aren't old enough to elicit any nostalgia or over-the-top enough to amuse.

There is little religion in the movie. Kennedy attends church and participates in the seemingly nondenominational Christian parish's annual Dandelion Festival. She also finds a discrepancy between the ranch's financial records and her cousin's claims that the facility is unprofitable.

Naturally, love conquers all, even a love between a cultured lawyer and a simple farmhand now employed by her. Kennedy also falls in love with the ranch, its history and its horses.

VIDEO and AUDIO

Cable movies are generally not a class you expect filmic flair from and Love Finds You in Valentine is no exception. The unimaginatively shot production looks fine in the DVD's 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen presentation. The Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack is equally adequate and largely unremarkable. English SDH and Spanish subtitles are supplied.

Sorry, fans: the "Love Finds You in Valentine" DVD is 100% barebones.

BONUS FEATURES, MENUS, PACKAGING and DESIGN

The disc opens with a trailer for Love Finds You in Charm, a 2015 TV movie that also hails from director Terry Cunningham and small screenwriter Bryar Freed-Golden. That represents the only thing you could classify as a bonus feature on this featherweight DVD.

The silent, static main menu simply adapts the cover art.

No inserts accompany the disc in the black, unslipcovered eco-friendly keepcase.

Kennedy Blaine (Michaela McManus) and Derek Sterling (Diogo Morgado) share a tender moment in the horse stables in "Love Finds You in Valentine."

CLOSING THOUGHTS

As someone who didn't even know that UP TV was a channel, I am not the target audience for Love Finds You in Valentine. I'm pretty certain I'm the wrong gender and wrong age to appreciate the movie as well. Indeed, I had difficulty doing that. There is nothing in the movie to offend, nor to stimulate, challenge or remind you of people you know and experiences in your life. It's a romance novel brought to the small screen with unknown actors and crew members with no real filmmaking ambitions. I can't think of a reason for you to watch it, unless you're a sucker for the genre or this book line.

Anchor Bay's DVD provides just the movie, which seems kind of merciful actually.

Buy Love Finds You in Valentine on DVD at Amazon.com

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Reviewed June 9, 2016.



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