Movie Review: I Heart Shakey

We’ve been somewhat spared so far this year. Some would argue this point, but I don’t think it’s been a brutally hot summer here in SE PA.  Still, a couple weeks back it got ugly. Real ugly. So ugly that we dragged all the mattresses down the hallway to the family room, the only space with the possibility and promise of conditioned air.  And there we lived for the whole of three days; sleeping barracks-style at night, performing gymnastic routines during the day.  In the middle of that trifecta of chilled family bonding and impromptu Olympic floor exercises, we kicked back for a movie night with I Heart Shakey.

This on-demand first, in select theaters (and in 3D) second film stars a pair of 80’s comedy legends (Police Academy’s Steve Guttenberg and National Lampoon’s Beverly D’Angelo).  That may pique your interest enough to give it a viewing, but the real story is that of a single dad, a feisty daughter, and a loveable rescue dog. At the heart of I Heart Shakey is this dad/daughter relationship, one worth envying.  The recent widower (Steve Lemme) and his bright and loving 10-year-old girl (Rylie Behr) approach their recently transformed 2-person family ‘team’ since the loss of mom (which takes place off screen, before the movie starts, and is only mentioned in spots) with oodles of love, fun, and trust.  It’s odd that I would see this movie right now because much of my book and short story writing has been examining the dynamic possibilities between a dad and his kid(s) after mom passes away.  The on-screen connection between Lemme and Behr works so well, making their cinematic bond appear genuine and believable.

The relatively simple and gentle film has several absurd characters too, including Guttenberg as an off-his-rocker ex-military man & D’Angelo as the snooty owner of a posh animal kennel, but they’re all so patently ridiculous that even at their most menacing never manage to feel threatening.  This is important for younger viewers and especially so for my timid pair. Characters-in-Peril is the official cinematic situation that frightens Mouse & Bear the most.  I Heart Shakey shook my girls a bit near the end when the climax got louder and raucous and most absurd but mostly it was fits of hysterical laughter and a parade of giggles throughout the 1o0 minute movie.

There are tough moments for the pair and their rescue dog to overcome as they discover Shakey isn’t welcome in their new high-rise home.  Hilarity ensues and the result is an enjoyable laugh-fest that just might warm your cynical heart a little bit.

There are better family films, for sure, one with stronger plots, more developed characters and a deeper emotional pull, but this low budget flick does a nice job giving kids a sweet romp through Chicago with a cute pooch, a committed single dad, and a lovely young lady.

The film’s music was pretty darn good too, with tracks from Plain White T’s, Blues Traveler’s John Popper, Matt Costa, and Jon Mclaughin to name a few.

Check out I Heart Shakey on Netflix

*OWTK recieved a copy of I Heart Shakey on DVD for review consideration. The opinions above are honest and unbiased.

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