Tom Arndt, Bob Wasson
Have you ever wondered? Wondered about your relationship, your marriage, your partner's true feelings? Was your coupling accomplished by means of true love and not just a collection of right time, right place moments? If married, is it a storybook love or did other factors come into play? Was there parental interference, monetary obligations, or perhaps a child involved? I'm sure many people have wondered and why not? It's not like we can know one hundred percent if we were really and truly meant to be with someone. If our love is one-sided even in part - right? But what if we could know for sure? What if it could be proven beyond a shadow of a doubt, that we were meant to be with our partner? That true love has allowed a couple to beat the odds and find actual bliss? This concept is the backbone of Bob Wasson and Tom Arndt's feature film, "Underneath the Same Moon." Those not into the romance genre need not worry about being roped into watching this flick, because it also happens to be a fun, funny movie - and for me, that made all the difference.
It all goes a little something like this, married couple Tom and Kelly seem to be perfect for each other - but just below that shiny veneer, Kelly lingers on Tom's ex-girl. A girl he was going to marry and luckily for them both, that didn't happen. His relationship with Kelly has been great, and after five long years the other girl, Jessica, should be a distant memory. Yet Kelly has questions. Did her pregnancy factor into his decision to marry her? Tom is that type of guy, a man who always tries to do what's right. Is their happiness a farce and is Tom simply dealing? These are all legitimate questions that because of a dreadful accident, Kelly gets the chance to answer.
Following the said accident, Tom remained in a coma for the better part of a year and miraculously, just wakes up one day with no apparent complications save one biggie. He has lost all memories from the last few years and yes reader, that includes his courtship and marriage to Kelly. Simply put, he has no idea who she is and still thinks he's dating Jessica. Urged on by the wacky recommendation from Tom's doctor, Kelly decides not to bring him up to speed on their relationship and instead, embarks on a road trip with him. A road trip that will hopefully jog his memory, and give the chance for Kelly to find out if their love is real. Let the games begin.
On paper, this is an excellent idea for a film. I can't say that it didn't remind me of the Sandler flick "50 First Dates" from time to time, but is there a film out there that is actually 100 percent original? Not many. The concept opens up the entire road trip scenario that makes up the bulk of this film, and truthfully it's well worth having to purposefully turn off your brain to the weird advice from the doctor, or Kelly's even stranger idea to completely hide their marriage. You would figure that revealing the two were married, and bringing Tom into his married environment, would be the best way to trigger his memories - but that simply wouldn't work here, not for this story. The truth is that "Underneath the Same Moon" is a movie - not some massive scientific experiment dreamt up by scientists and doctors. It's meant to be fun - and if a person can believe that a lightsaber-wielding masked man can fly around in a giant planet killer, like in the "Star Wars" films, they should have no problem believing in this concept. For the sake of enjoying the movie.
As I hinted at above, what really struck me about this film is that it was actually funny - in my books. The standard romantic comedy elements found in these types of movies felt turned up a few notches - at times more like "American Pie" style comedy than the standard romance fare. I loved it! For guys like me who don't generally watch this type of flick, it gave me a reason to enjoy the film - while still holding onto my (cough cough) macho image. Tom's sister Holly, played excellently by Meg Cashel, did an excellent job delivering some of these college styled jokes - no question. Speaking of the acting, both Sara Ball and Anderson Davis are also splendid in their leading roles. I won't go into details because I've already given away plot points I probably shouldn't have, but the chemistry felt perfect - even through the majority of the film when they're not a couple. Very well cast and very well done.
In the end, "Underneath the Same Moon" surprised the hell out of me. I, one hundred percent didn't think I would enjoy this film and was resigned to reviewing it from a purely technical standpoint. I was wrong... I had fun... and yeah, what more can I say? This may be a romance flick but it's one that almost anyone can and should enjoy. Not totally perfect, and perhaps slightly long-winded with a length of around two hours, but completely enjoyable by even someone like me. An easy four stars.