With “Yours Mines and Ours” and “The Brady Bunch” pretty much eclipsing all other versions of the blended family story, it’s hard to offer a fresh approach to the subject matter. Suffice to say writer Stu Krieger (“Going to the Mat”) doesn’t reinvent the wheel with the ABC Family original movie “I Do, They Don’t,” but he does give the overworked plot some relevance, touching upon common problems of modern-day families. With an appealing cast and some deft direction by Steve Robman, “I Do, They Don’t” is a decent alternative to an otherwise uneventful TV Sunday.
Veteran TV director Robman reaches into his extensive bag of tricks to recount the story of two rather large families brought together under less-than-perfect circumstances.
Cookie mogul and national food personality Carrie Lewellyn (Josie Bissett) runs a tight business and household with pre-incarcerated Martha Stewart-like fervor. She’s been dating the amiable but somewhat disorderly furniture designer Jim Barber (Rob Estes) for nearly a year. Neither set of kids has warmed up to the romance, and on their first getaway weekend together, a drunken night of karaoke in Vegas turns into a spontaneous wedding for the usually cautious couple.
All of their trepidations for naught, Carrie and Jim decide to forge ahead, secure in their love, although tentative about bringing the two large broods under the same roof. Alas, there are bumps in the road to marital bliss, the least of which are two completely different parenting styles, not to mention a subplot about a burgeoning romance between two of the stepsiblings.
Krieger’s script, far from original, does manage to convey the complications of later-in-life romance as well as the stresses and responsibilities busy parents can inadvertently place on children. Even today’s seemingly mature kids still need just as much parenting and guidance.
To that end, Lyndsy Fonseca as Jim’s eldest daughter Sandy, gives the movie its real heart. Bissett and Estes, real-life husband and wife, are appealing, offering more sex appeal than usually afforded in this genre. However, it’s their sex appeal and perfect looks that defy their credibility as grizzled veteran parents.
Director Robman displays a knack for capturing the separate but equal mentality of the house, working the split screen as effortlessly as typical episode of “24.” Other tech credits were rough.