When George and her colleagues get a new boss whose focus is on moving souls quickly and enjoying life without consequences, the team begins to break the strict reaper rules. While her friends fall victim to their desires for money, success, and fame, George breaks another rule by revealing her true identity to her living family.
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This movie was incredibly disappointing. While avid viewers would expect changes to occur in the five years between the series finale and the movie, these changes are so much so that you feel as if you're watching a completely separate dimension.
It's easy to see from the beginning of the movie that it's going to be awful when the camera zeroes in on the familiar faces of George, Mason, Roxy and a not so familiar Daisy (as Laura Harris from the series had been replaced by a different actress... more on that in a minute), standing in front of Der Wafflehaus, which had recently exploded. So, this is the first strike against the series. As George had described Der Wafflehaus in the series as feeling like home to her, it also felt like home to those of us who watched the series... a sense of consistency and security.
Then, we quickly discover that Rube (played by Mandy Patinkin) had "gotten his lights" and moved on, but know nothing else. Strike 2. Rube was always the father figure, another stability to the show, hastily taken away with relatively no revelry. His dynamic with the characters, especially George, was so essential that it was almost like pulling that fated block out in a game of Jenga.
The replacement of Laura Harris was an absolute mistake as well. Sarah Wynter lacked the charisma, charm and manic "sunniness" that Laura Harris always exuded. Plus, she doesn't look or sound a thing like Laura Harris. Her interpretation of Daisy Adair was completely off from what viewers were used to and she was far from believable.
The writing left A LOT to be desired. Rube was replaced by Cameron Kane (Henry Ian Cusick) who eliminates the beloved Post-It notes and replaces them with cell phones (another bit of the show's charm taken away). Cameron is a bit of a jerk who is obviously a "bad seed" from the beginning, wooing most of the reapers by his lavish lifestyle and snobbish personality.
Roxy and Mason's characters are less than believable, unlike the series. Both characters seem very two dimensional. Roxy has seemed to have lost her strong sense of self, independence and not caring what others think attitude. Mason, while still as bumbling as ever, has lost his helpless romanticism, endless pursuit in his love for Daisy, charm and lovability. Jasmine Guy and Callum Blue should definitely be credited for trying to keep some consistency to the characters, but the writers failed them and their characters.
George is pretty much the same, which is actually slightly disappointing. You would think that she would have grown up a bit more, considering mentally she would be 23 by the time the movie takes place. However, this was only a minor consolation in the mess.
Dolores Herbig is more neurotic than ever and her cat, Murray (now 20 years old), is dying (still). Dolores loses so much of her quirky, lovable charm and just seems to be a bizarre comic relief. Crystal seems to be the only consistency in this mess. Even the Happy Time office had changed so incredibly much, you can't help but guess that it's probably a completely different building.
As for George's family, Clancy is notably absent (we learn later that he's moved across the country). Joy seems calmer, almost as if she's on some major uppers. She has become a best selling author and therapist for those who lost children, a definite difference from the mentally unstable woman who endured more hurt than almost anyone could bare that turned her into a very angry, very protective woman. Reggie is also very different. While this is expected, as Reggie would then be a teenager, her character also lacks the depth and lovability that viewers grew to love.
And though the idea of Reggie finally discovering George was still "alive" (well, undead) was one that us viewers were drooling over, the reunion and interaction lacks what would be expected. Reggie has a minor cry over it all and their conversations aren't awkward or reminiscent as you'd expect. Plus, George doesn't seem very affected by it at all.
This movie didn't answer any questions from the series like: Where did Betty go in season 1? Who brought the schedule to Rube? What was on the other side of the "lights"? Why was George able to "kill" a graveling at the end of the series? Who chose who was going to be a reaper?
This movie just should be stored in the back of a file cabinet, never to be watched. Ellen Muth, Callum Blue, Jasmine Guy and all the rest of the original cast that returned should be credited for giving it their best and trying to keep some sense of consistency for us, but the writers, producers, directer and, well, Showtime, failed them and the viewers.