Friday, May 25, 2012

Cowgirls 'n Angels


I was invited to an online screening of Cowgirls 'n Angels, and when I saw that Bailee Madison (Just Go With It and TV's Once Upon a Time) and Jackson Rathbone (the Twilight series) were in the film, I immediately accepted. Though I missed out on the live Q&A with Madison and Rathbone, I was able to watch the screening online at my convenience, and the movie started off well, with a first-person narration by Madison's character. As the film goes on, however, it starts to become a little cheesy, though it's not a bad choice overall as compared to other "family-friendly" films currently in theaters.

Ida Clayton (Bailee Madison) loves the rodeo, although her mother (Alicia Witt, TV's Friday Night Lights) hates it because it reminds her of Ida's dad, a rodeo man who left them before Ida was born. Ida tries to teach herself how to ride a horse, and rodeo expert Terence Parker (James Cromwell, The Artist) sees her passion for rodeo and offers her a spot as the youngest member of the Sweethearts of the Rodeo, a group of girls who love to ride. Her mother is against her traveling with them, but relents when she learns that Ida will be paid to ride, and so Ida joins the Sweethearts on their tour of the West. While on the tour, she tries to find her father, whose name she knows to be Walker, and she enlists the Sweethearts in helping her find him.

Bailee Madison did a great job as Ida, though parts of the script were a bit unrealistic. In one scene, when she returns home from the tour, she sees her mom talking to a man in their house, and she screams something like "Stop trying to replace my dad!" at her mom and then runs away, which I thought was a bit over-the-top, especially since she's supposed to be 11 or 12 (in real life, she's 12). At the end of the movie, she again narrates, and talks about her hopes for the future, which again are a bit naive. These "over-the-top" lines are the fault of the scriptwriters, of course, and not Madison's. Also, I was disappointed that Jackson Rathbone didn't get more screentime, as he, Madison, and James Cromwell were the three names that had been used the most in promoting the film; Rathbone ended up being a guy that was dating another Sweetheart, Kansas (Dora Madison Burge, TV's Friday Night Lights), and his screentime was very limited.

Maybe see this movie. The film excels when it shows the girls riding and the complexity of the horse tricks they perform in the arena, and Ida is determined to learn one of the more difficult ones. The movie is definitely "family-friendly," especially with its PG rating, and overall it wasn't a bad film; however, there were a few plot holes and the movie wrapped up way too neatly for me to give it my highest recommendation.  Cowgirls 'n Angels will be enjoyed by those who like movies about horse-riding and relationships, but it's best saved for a matinee or on DVD.

Cowgirls 'n Angels is in select theaters today, and is rated PG with a runtime of approximately 93 minutes. 2.5 stars out of 5.

*Disclosure: I was invited to an online screening of this film. The opinions expressed, however, are my own.

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