I’m more conflicted about this movie than I expected to be. To be clear, Then Came You is not a particularly good movie. I was shocked to learn that the runtime was only 90 minutes because I could have sworn it went on for four lifetimes. The acting wavers between passable, wooden, and just odd. The dialogue and storyline will likely make you feel like you are suffering from periodic blackouts. You could make more chemistry by mixing baking soda and vinegar than the romantic leads are able to whip up between themselves. And the whole thing seems to have been edited together with pinking shears and off-brand scotch-tape. So no, it’s not that the movie is good, it’s that it had more good elements than I expected, and that left me feeling like I wanted to like it, which was wholly unexpected.

Anabelle Wilson (Kathie Lee Gifford, who also wrote and produced the movie) is grieving the loss of her husband Fred. They spent many happy years watching movies together and running a hardware store on Nantucket before he died unexpectedly. Per his wishes, she has sealed up his ashes in an empty Whitman’s Sampler box (his favorite movie was Forrest Gump), and now she and the box are headed out on an adventure to visit the places in their top twenty favorite movies. Despite the dreams she had as a younger woman, this is her first time traveling overseas and she’s excited to leave her responsibilities behind for solo adventures.

Kathie Lee Gifford dressed in a white v-neck sweater and white pants sits on a white window seat with a white pillow on her lap and a laptop on top of that. There are pink and red potted geraniums near her feet and next to her hip is the chocolate box that contains the ashes of her dead husband.
Annabelle before she leaves on her her trip. You’ll notice she is very put together and her house is very neat.

Her first stop is a large estate turned inn in Scotland, which is owned and operated by Howard (Craig Ferguson). While Howard tries to make it appear that the inn is well staffed, in truth he’s so broke that it’s just him and his best friend Gavin (Ford Kiernan) running the place. Howard and Gavin have a quite charming kind of chemistry, and I would happily watch a movie about the two of them wearing coveralls and fumbling their way through learning the ropes of inn-keeping.

Howard's sitting in his office, which has three large windows looking out onto greenery. He is sitting in his desk chair, wearing coveralls, his feet are up on the windowsill and there is hole in one of his socks. Behind him is a massive desk that is covered in a mess of papers.
Can you believe then that Howard’s office is a huge mess?!? What are the chances that he would be the opposite of Annabelle?!? There is even a hole in the big toe of one of his socks. This is what we call subtlety.
Gavin and Howard, both wearing blue coveralls, standing at the reception area of the inn. Gavin is dancing with a flower clenched between his teeth and Howard is watching him.
These two have some good chemistry and could probably carry a movie.

I feel like I’m doing you a disservice by making the plot sound so coherent. In reality, things are flung at the viewer in a random order with dead spouses, current fiancés, children, dodgy plumbing, sing-a-longs, and long lost relatives appearing and disappearing as if they had been beamed into place via teleportation. (I feel like there’s probably a pun to be made there about Scotty from Star Trek and Scotland.) If you watched the trailer for this movie, then you might believe that Howard’s fiancé Clare (Elizabeth Hurley) plays a pivotal role in the movie, but in reality she’s not even mentioned until probably an hour in, and then she only shows up for about two scenes (where she exudes the personality of a wet paper towel). People are in the act of setting up a tent on the estate’s rolling lawns the first time Howard mentions to Annabelle that he’s getting married. And even then he can’t really muster a reason why he’s doing it. Should we really trust a man who was willing to marry a woman he couldn’t care less about? It was like no one could think up a good way to fit Clare into the plot or to extricate her at the appropriate time, which is strange because there are only about 70 bajillion movies that one could use for reference. 

So anyway, Howard and Annabelle banter and argue their way through most of the movie where not that much actually happens. There are a couple of requisite scenes where they manage to get soaking wet. A scene where they get drunk. And many, many scenes where I could not tell if they were arguing or not until Annabelle stormed away. While the movie does have moments of something approaching humor, it’s so disjointed and confusing that most of it feels like the script was written via a non sequitur generator. I’d say that you can pretty much guess the way the movie goes, and you can in broad strokes, but, like I said, there are a lot of plot points that crop up out of nowhere. I’d tell you about them, but I don’t want to rob you of the out-of-body experience that these sudden plot jolts create. Just know there is a DNA test involved with one of them.

Howard driving a small convertible car with the top down as Annabelle rides in the passenger seat. She is looking at him with a maybe upset expression.
There are a LOT of scenes with the two of them riding in this car. It’s a chance to see the countryside, so it’s not a total loss or anything.
Green hills of Scotland in the background and large old castle in the center of the shot.
The scenery is far and away my favorite character in the movie.

There are also just a lot of impromptu songs. Maybe this is your thing, maybe you will be thrilled to hear the third or fourth rendition of “Whiskey and Wine.” Maybe you know who Brett James is and it will make sense that he’s playing in a tiny bar in a tiny town in Scotland and you will enjoy it when Annabelle gets up to sing a duet with him. Maybe you will also enjoy it when the song is then reprised by Annabelle and Howard at least twice more. I was less enthusiastic. (And by less enthusiastic I mean I groaned like a cow in labor and skipped ahead.) And really, I think if you’re a huge Kathie Lee Gifford fan you will likely feel differently about the whole shebang than I do. I have very few feelings or thoughts about Kathie Lee Gifford.

But here’s the thing, Annabelle is also a very capable, independent, and sexual older woman. She makes it clear that she gave up her dreams for someone else once and she doesn’t want to do it again. She’s emotionally secure and open. She shows up with one suitcase and then merrily goes off to buy herself an almost entirely tartan wardrobe, which is something to behold. (This also results in a shopping montage that most certainly should have been cut. But we’re talking about positives here!)

Howard and Annabelle walking across a mowed lawn. He is wearing a button down shirt, pants, a jacket, and brown shoes. She is wearing a plaid jacket with puffed sleeves and peplum, a plaid ruffled skirt that is knee-length in the front and ankle-length in the back, and a pair of plaid high-top sneakers.
This outfit is just off-the-wall enough to work. Especially since Annabelle also wears very Nantucket looking clothing.

She’s ready to pitch in and help when needed. She ably fixes Howard’s plumbing—that is not a euphemism and also very much a euphemism. She wows the socks of Howard in bed and then is fully prepared to walk away from the romance because she has other stuff she wants to do. If anyone is being saved or rescued or whatever in this movie, it’s Howard being rescued by Annabelle. And yes, she’s a version of an older woman with an eerily smooth face and thin body, but she’s still a woman well past her Hollywood sex appeal sell-by date, and I appreciate Kathie Lee Gifford not giving a shit and writing and producing a movie where she gets to play exactly the kind of role she wants to. Plus, Scotland, where the movie was filmed, is a damn fine background.

In a brightly lit bedroom Howard lays on the bed covered in a dark green velvet blanket. His hair is messed and he appears to be naked. Annabelle sits on a straight-backed wooden chair. She is wearing a white bathrobe, her hair is wet, and she is applying lotion to her feet.
Look at this. She laid that man out. He can’t even get out of the bed. Meanwhile she’s just calmly going about her life.
Annabelle in a sea green bathtub that is filled with bubbles. Her head is resting against the back of the tub and her hands and legs are raised in the air. She is singing.
This is one of the (many) scenes when Annabelle sings—which I most certainly could have done without and editing them out would have (blessedly) shaved a solid chunk of time off the movie—BUT I have a lot of respect for Kathie Lee Gifford giving herself multiple sexy bathtub scenes. The chances of someone else writing them for a “woman of her age” are slim to none (unless she scores a guest appearance on “Grace and Frankie”).

I guess, in the end, I had a lot of respect for the idea of Annabelle and her adventures, even if I did routinely pray for Scotland’s 6.8 million sheep to rise up as one and put an end to the entire disjointed jumble of half-baked plots. 

Overall Rating on the Chronically Streaming Pain Scale:

Distressing: I’m so uncomfortable. I wonder if this will ever stop. I might want to be sedated.

3 thoughts on “Review: “Then Came You” Left Me Feeling Some Unexpected Feelings

  1. Hello there! My husband and I decided to watch Then Came You this evening, and read your review beforehand. May I say that we found your blog post much more amusing than the movie! So yes, we were forewarned and decided nevertheless to watch it (what can I say, I’m from Scotland, so I always love seeing tv show and movies about my home country). It goes without saying that we are still cringing – the clothes! the baths! what happened to Gavin’s wife (she’d in the credits, but did we actually see her in the movie)??? But, kudos to Kathie Lee for writing a vehicle for herself and her tunes. And yes, would much rather watch a movie about Howard and Gavin. Thanks for the review!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. So glad you enjoyed the review! And you got to see some views of Scotland. Now I just hope you can manage to shake the “Whiskey and Wine” song out of your brain sometime soon.


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