'New Life': Film Review

New Life Still - Publicity - H 2016
Courtesy of Nouvelle Vie
Scenes from a bland marriage.

Actor Drew Waters makes his directing debut with a family-friendly drama of a new marriage's challenges.

"Mountaintop experiences in our journey through this world" make for little cinematic drama in New Life, actor Drew Waters's earnest but stiff entry into the family-friendly movie marketplace. As childhood sweethearts who marry and must get past obstacles both universal and less so, Jonathan Patrick Moore and Erin Bethea radiate wholesome goodwill but can't animate a by-the-numbers screenplay. Box-office potential, like the film itself, is modest to a fault.

Moore plays Ben, who in a plummy British accent narrates this story of a couple born to be together. Sweethearts since elementary school days, when his family moved to America, he and Ava (Bethea, one of the pic's screenwriters) are briefly tested during college, when she gets frustrated with their long-distance romance and almost lets herself be wooed by a hunk in her study group. But before the fella can even try to kiss her, Ava's out at her car to rush off to see Ben — who has already had the same idea.

This tidy pattern of problem/resolution continues, with Ben, for instance, committing the sin of taking work too seriously only to soon admit, "I lost track of what was important." The two are headed for some less easily resolved problems in the health department, but the film's inch-deep approach persists, keeping viewers from caring much about the vanilla ciphers onscreen.

A side story involving Ava's less morally upright best friend (Kelsey Formost, required to affect a frightful French accent) reeks of contrivance, and provides for a maudlin end to this forgettable tale.

Distributor: Argentum Entertainment
Production companies: Argentum Entertainment, Drew Waters Films
Cast: Jonathan Patrick Moore, Erin Bethea, James Marsters, Bill Cobbs, Irma P. Hall, Terry O'Quinn
Director: Drew Waters
: Erin Bethea, Candice Irion, Josh Spake, Drew Waters
Producers: Erin Bethea, Jay Michaelson, Drew Waters, Jon Wroblewski
Executive producers: Arthur L. Bernstein, Adam Falkoff
Director of photography: Kristopher Kimlin
Production designer: Katherine Tucker
: Blake Benton
Composer: Mark Willard
Casting director: Beverly Holloway

Rated PG, 89 minutes