The romantic drama about a country music star and the girl he left behind is barely above Lifetime original movie status
In the small town of St. Augustine, Louisiana, a bride is stood up on her wedding day when her groom never shows up at the church. It has all the makings of a sad country song.
And “Forever My Girl” is as formulaic as a country song. The beats in writer-director Bethany Ashton Wolf’s romantic drama are as telegraphed as a pending chorus, it’s just a matter of which words and melodies are plugged into the mix.
Jessica Rothe, so dryly spunky in “Happy Death Day,” is Josie, the bride in question who’s stood up at the altar. Liam Page (Alex Roe) is the groom-to-be who put his career ahead of his love life, and goes off to become a big ol’ country star.
When he learns of the sudden death of a childhood pal, Liam returns to St. Augustine and receives a rather unwelcome reception. It’s been eight years and neither Josie nor his father (John Benjamin Hickey) are particularly stoked to see him. But when he learns about his daughter with Josie, Liam decides to stick around town for awhile and try to make things right.
“Forever My Girl” is barely a step above a Lifetime movie. It is pandering in its portrayal of good, hard-working, church-going country folk and dismissive of big city types, what with their fancy salad orders and all. And it lets Liam off the hook too easily, inadvertently painting Josie as a pushover. She’s all too willing to let Liam back into her arms even after eight years of total silence. Stand up for yourself, girl!
That said, it is harmless, inoffensive fare that melts into the background, like a Nicholas Sparks movie. If Sparks wrote a country song, it would play out like “Forever My Girl.” And you’d already know all the words.
‘Forever My Girl’
Rated PG for thematic elements including drinking, and for language
Running time: 104 minutes