This is one of those films with some good ideas at play, but in need of stronger execution.
Kathie Lee Gifford, who also wrote the script, stars as Annabelle. A recent widower, Annabelle has decided to travel the world with the ashes of her deceased spouse, and the first destination is in rural Scotland.
There, she stays at a historic building-turned inn, which is operated by a man named Howard (Craig Ferguson). The two come from different backgrounds and at first don’t get along. However, the two grow closer as time goes on.
“Then Came You” is set in a gorgeous location, it has two lead performers who are charming on screen, and a solid premise for a romantic comedy. The issue is the writing and the direction is far off point.
This is the feature writing debut for Gifford and a sophomore directing effort for Adriana Trigiani. The inexperience shows rather often, unfortunately.
An immediate issue noticeable with “Then Came You” is an element that feels entirely unnecessary. A short way into the first act, the audience learns that Howard has a fiance and is soon to be wed.
When looking back at the film as a whole, it’s questionable why this was added to the picture at all. Howard’s fiance Clare, played by Elizabeth Hurley, barely has any screen-time at all. On top of that, Howard rarely acts like he’s in a relationship and behaves more like a person who’s single.
By the film’s end, it appears more like this sub plot was added to pad the run time, which comes in just a bit over an hour and a half. A move like this isn’t surprising, considering the main romance and humor feel somewhat shallow.
What’s shown on screen for most of the picture is Howard and Annabelle debating a specific song (that was made for the film), or their opinions on movies. There are a few sequences where the characters dig into each other’s backgrounds and it pulls at a few heartstrings, but that doesn’t mean the movie has heart.
The script just doesn’t offer enough meaningful romantic moments. It also doesn’t lend much funny material for the lead performers. Scenes tend to drag on too long, often becoming more awkward than funny. One example is a sequence where the two leads go fishing and eventually end up jumping in the water.
With all that said, “Then Came You” is a movie that is carried to an extent by the main actors, especially Ferguson, who has a natural comedic identity in front of the camera. This film probably could have scraped by with a 2 out of 5.
However, there’s a gag in the third act really close to the end that feels unnecessary and doesn’t at all fit in the tone the movie is going for. Ultimately it destroyed a lot of the remaining good will for this picture.
It’s not very funny, it won’t make a person’s heart swell, so it’s skippable in the end. 1.5 out of 5.