Movie Review: Love on Safari (2018)

Synopsis: Website designer Kira Slater is a woman who doesn't like to take risks and is perfectly happy with her uneventful life and accountant boyfriend, Brad. So, when she inherits a South African nature reserve from an uncle she hasn't seen since she was a teenager, the news flips her world upside down. The reserve is struggling financially, and the logical and safe thing would be to sell it to a developer. However, thanks to help from one of its rangers, Tom, Kira falls in love with the scenery, animals and people, making the safe choice not so easy to make.

Who's in it? The movie stars Lacey Chabert, Jon Cor, Brittany BristowAbigail Kubeka and Jonathan Roxmouth.

Review: Even though my wife and I both love watching Lacey Chabert in Hallmark films, this particular movie has been in our library for months because it sounded a bit too much like some of her other films. We finally got around to watching it last night and, while it did exceed my expectations, my opinion was a bit mixed.

Overall, I have to say I loved the main plot of the movie. The African nature reserve location allowed for some beautiful scenery and unique animals. Plus, the plot was a little more complex than I was expecting. It wasn't as simple as convincing Kira (Chabert) not to sell the reserve to a land developer (Francis Chouler). The reserve was expensive to run, her uncle didn't leave her money or anything of value and she was just a website designer who was far from wealthy. In other words, she didn't have the financial resources to maintain ownership of it.

This, in turn, made her relatively quick transition from someone who always wanted to be safe to someone who was willing to take risks intriguing. It was clear she was going to be reluctant to sell but there was a great deal of mystery about just how she would keep the reserve open without a financial backer.

My biggest problem with the movie, ironically, was the love story between her and Tom (Cor). It kind of seemed forced and, if anything, didn't do much to add to what was already a strong story. I think the thing that bothered me most about it was it required the movie to end things with her boyfriend, Brad (Roxmouth) that just didn't seem right. They had a good relationship prior to her going to Africa (one that, unlike other films, seemed to make sense) and he was willing to step outside his comfort zone to join her in Africa. Her decision to dump him just because he overstepped when he thought she wanted his help didn't really paint her in a good light, in my opinion. Especially since she gave him a speech about being an independent woman but then immediately asked Tom for help.

I think the movie could have better had it focused on Kira's relationship with Brad and given him a chance to fall in love with the reserve too and to grow as a person. With his accounting skills and her marketing skills, they could have been a formidable team. But I guess a guy she just met and had made it his mission to try to manipulate her for his own personal agenda was a good choice too. Seriously, was he really any better than Brad? Not to mention, he and his stepsister (Bristow) seemed awfully close, if you know what I mean.

Final Opinion: It's a good movie. I just think it would have been better had Kira ended up with a different man at the end.

My Grade: B


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