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Published: Saturday, 5/13/2006

Lifetime film an agreeable piece of fluff

BY MIKE KELLY
SPECIAL TO THE BLADE

Judging by its title, some viewers might get the idea that the Lifetime TV movie Honeymoon with Mom could be a horror flick.

But the program, which will air at 5 p.m. tomorrow, is nowhere near as scary as they might imagine - even though it features Shelley Long, an actress who has been known to turn in the occasional horrific performance.

Here's the setup for the Mother's Day movie. Shannon (Virginia Williams) is a pretty young bride-to-be who says she's always had "Barbie-inspired dreams" of the perfect wedding. And when she falls for a good-looking preppie named Jack (Edward Finlay), it looks as if her dreams will be coming true.

But on the day of the wedding, actually in the middle of the ceremony, Jack bails out, leaving his betrothed with nothing but a stunning gown, smudged mascara, and tickets for a two-week honeymoon at an island resort in the Caribbean.

Just so the whole thing won't be a total loss, Shannon's overbearing magazine-editor mom Marla (Long) comes up with a helpful suggestion for her daughter, with whom she hasn't been particularly close over the years:

Why don't the two of them take the planned honeymoon?

They could do a little mother-daughter bonding, down a few mai tais on the beach, and oh, yeah: Marla could also nab an interview with the reclusive former astronaut who owns the resort so she can do a big cover story on the guy for her struggling magazine.

Against her better judgment, Shannon agrees, and mother and daughter soon find themselves in a tropical paradise. As they're piling their luggage into a rented vehicle, Mom is less than thrilled with the transportation. "There are no windows!" she exclaims.

Guess they don't have Jeeps in Beverly Hills.

When Shannon discovers that Mom is actually using their big bonding trip just to land an interview with Mr. Astronaut, she blows her top, whereupon Mom helpfully tries to clue her in on the ways of the world.

"Everybody uses everybody, Shannon," she says, "and the sooner you realize that, the less painful your life is going to be."

Shannon is less than convinced. "No wonder Dad walked out on you," she shoots back.

Between arguments and tears, both women manage to find romance at the resort, Shannon with a young stud who's working there for the summer and Mom with the handsome astronaut who owns the place (Jack Scalia).

Things get a little complicated when Shannon's ex-fiance shows up to win her back, and she decides to look up her absentee dad, who's become a beach bum in the Florida Keys.

Like many of Lifetime's movies, Honeymoon is a lightweight piece of fluff, but it's an agreeable tale for Mother's Day viewing. Though Long and Scalia are the cast's so-called marquee actors, it's Virginia Williams who really shines as the broken-hearted but resilient daughter.

By the end of the movie, she's learned two useful life lessons. First, people are not always what they seem. And second, if she ever finds herself faced with another honeymoon without a spouse, she'd be well advised to consider just going solo.



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