And Then Came Love



Fox Meadow Films

NEW YORK -- Oft-familiar themes are treated in less than imaginative fashion in this romantic comedy starring Vanessa Williams as a mature woman finding love with the younger man who happens to have been her sperm donor. Although its star, currently riding high with the success of her series "Ugly Betty," is very appealing in the central role, "And Then Came Love" has an undeniable cable television feel. The film recently played at New York's Chelsea Cinema before a national rollout.

Single mother Julie Davidson (Williams) is a highly successful magazine columnist who seemingly has it all, including an adorable 6-year-old son (Jeremy Gumbs); a relationship with a handsome, Pulitzer Prize-winning photographer (Michael Boatman) who suddenly proposes marriage; and a strong friendship with her theater critic colleague (Stephen Spinella). She even enjoys her testy relationship with her mother (the ever-colorful Eartha Kitt), though she's constantly being chided for the selfishness of her single-mom status.

But when Jake starts acting up at school, Julie attempts to find the root of the problem by tracking down the anonymous sperm donor. He turns out to be Paul (Kevin Daniels), a handsome, charming and younger actor. Despite some initial tensions, sparks soon begin to fly, prompted in no small part by Paul's instant bonding with Julie's son. The resulting flirtation results in the predictable complications.

While Caytha Jentis' screenplay avoids most of the usual cliches and treats its characters with a refreshing lack of condescension, it also lacks the wit or sparkle necessary to bring its familiar story line any freshness. Director Richard Schenkman's pedestrian approach to the material is similarly less than invigorating, with the result that the film lacks the distinction necessary to justify its big-screen exposure.

Williams thankfully underplays her character's brittleness, Daniels is highly appealing as her love interest, and the supporting players, especially Spinella, have their winning moments. But "And Then Came Love" ultimately feels as generic as its title.