Dec 20, 2019

"Holiday in the Wild": Rob Lowe and Son

All Christmas rom-coms have the same plot:

Girl Looking for Love:  Hi, I'm visiting your small town.  But I have a career in the big city, and therefore am not interested in romance.

Hot Guy: No problem.  I'm afraid of commitment, so I'm not interested in romance, either.

Girl Looking for Love:  You're arrogant!  Definitely not boyfriend material!

Hot Guy:  You're annoying!  I'm glad I'm not interested in romance.  But do you want to have a falling-in-love montage?

Girl Looking for Love:  Sure

Hot Guy:  Please drop your career and stay here in the small town with me.

Girl Looking for Love:  What a wonderful Christmas present!

The latest Netflix iteration --does its title really matter? -- stars Kristin Davis as a Big City socialite whose husband (Colin Moss) dumps her just before their second honeymoon, so she goes on the trip herself -- to Zambia (yuch!  one of the most homophobic countries on Earth).

Obviously there would be no gay characters, but I figured there would be some African beefcake  and maybe some nice location shots, so it wouldn't hurt to go through it on fast forward.

First scene:  New York is awful, crowded yet lonely,  Kristin is bored as one of the Ladies Who Lunch.  Especially now that her son, John Owen Lowe, has gone off to college.

The dumping comes, and:

Second scene:  She's in Zambia, in a fancy hotel bar full of white people.  The only black people are the bartenders and waiters.  A racist colonial fantasy.

One would expect Kristin to fall in love with a black guy -- only 40,000 of Zambia's 17 million residents are white -- but no, she meets Rob Lowe, a hot but arrogant pilot who happens to be her safari guide.

Third scene: They fly out into the wild, rescue a baby elephant, and take it to an elephant sanctuary run by Fezile Mpela.  Kristin helps out (she used to be a veterinarian), and likes it so much that she sticks around  -- and does the cooking?

A lot more scenes of saving elephants.  Broken up only by John Owen being miserable at college (too crowded and lonely).  He drops by at Christmastime (ergo the Holiday Connection) to tell Kristin that he's planning to drop out to become a musician.  She suggests that changing his major from Big Business to music woud solve all of his problems (not crowded, not lonely).

Complications:  I couldn't really see any during the fast forward, except for Rob being arrogant and Kristin being annoying.  Everyone at the elephant sanctuary is remarkably friendly, a big happy family (not crowded, not lonely)

Last Scene:  Kristin returns to the Big City and starts a veterinary practice.  But she's just handling the pampered pets of Ladies Who Lunch, and there are elephants to be saved (and elephant conservationists to cook for).  So she goes back to Africa and kisses Rob Lowe.

Gay Characters:  Maybe John Owen.  He never mentions girls.  In the "off to college" scene, a girl with a suitcase hugs Kristin and says "Thanks for letting me drive him."  At first I thought she was a sister, but the family photos show only one child.  If she's a girlfriend, why would she have a suitcase?

By the way, John Owen Lowe is the real-life son of Rob Lowe.  What was it like growing up with the gay poster boy of the 1980s?

Beefcake:  Rob Lowe takes off his shirt in one brief scene.  Been there, done that.  Fezile Mpela has a respectable physique, but we never see it.

Other Interesting Sights:  None. It's all interiors and the wild.  We don't even get an establishing shot of the Freedom Statue in Lusaka.

My Grade:  Not even worth a fast-forward.  F.

There's a Rob Lowe hookup story on Tales of West Hollywood.

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