If you’re looking for a double feature from Mill Creek Entertainment bound to save you some dough and allow for a neat night of blubbering and familial melodrama, you can’t get better than the new double feature from the company. Although both films have been released ad nauseum, Mill Creek Entertainment has the perfect double feature that will likely make a pretty good addition for future Mother’s Days. While bereft of bells and whistles, it’s a good value for folks that enjoy this kind of drama.
1998’s “Stepmom” is a solid family drama with an all star cast. Centered on Luke Harrison a man who divorced his wife Jackie three years before we met him, he starts dating a younger woman, fashion photographer Isabel Kelly. Isabel has a hard time getting ot know Luke’s children Ben and Anna, both of whom are fiercely loyal to her. But as they rebel, Jackie is diagnosed with terminal cancer. With time running out, Isabel has to figure out how to bond with the kids, as Anna and Ben make peace with her inevitable passing and decide if they want to accept Isabel.
Chris Columbus’s drama injects a unique twist in where the conflict becomes about kids accepting a step mother, and also having to come to terms with the death of their birth mother. All things considered it’s an interesting drama about change, bad and good, while also garnering some strong performances by Ed Harris, Julia Roberts, Susan Sarandon and a young Jena Malone, respectively.
1999’s “The Deep End of the Ocean” watches a bit better only for the way it pretty much twists its premise mid-way. Michelle Pfeiffer plays Beth Cappadora who, with her two sons, visits her husband Pat in Chicago. While looming around a hotel, Beth’s son Ben is kidnapped, dropping Beth in to an emotional breakdown and a deep depression that also destroys her marriage. Years later after coming to terms with Ben’s kidnapping, detective Candy Bliss discovers a young boy who resembles Ben. Much to their shock they discover Ben is alive and was taken and raised by another woman with a whole other family.
As Ben comes to terms with the idea that his life was all one big sham, he is forced to decide on staying with his adopted family or going back to his birth family. Meanwhile Beth and Pat try to process the extraordinary circumstances. “The Deep End of the Ocean” is a pretty good drama overall that takes a pretty depressing kidnapping premise and turns it on its head. You don’t really know what to make of what unfolds, but when it does, it manages to become so much more complicated for all parties. Michelle Pfeiffer is as great as ever, while folks like Treat Williams, and Whoopi Goldberg offer some fine supporting turns. All in all, it’s a solid double feature.