Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Little Bit of Love: The Adventures of Louanna Lee

Little Bit of Love is the fourth episode in the crime fighting  “The Adventures of Louanna Lee” starring none other than  teen singer/actress Louanna Lee.  Think of Louanna as a bubbly, singing Nancy Drew for a new generation.  If any kids today even remember who Nancy Drew was?  Really?  Wow I feel old right now.

The basic premise of the series is that Louanna usually stumbles upon a mystery and solves it with the help of her friends and family, including her grandfather and cousin Victoria.

In Little Bit of Love, a party is planned for Louanna’s grandfather, played by Baltimore film regular George Stover, in the spooky Wittingham Manor.  Something isn’t quite right and after the lights go out people start to disappear. The evidence first points to Louanna’s boyfriend Sam, but is he really the guilty one?  Never fear Louanna Lee is on the case!  With the help of the police and a cool as ice cat burglar, Louanna is able to ferret out the real killer.

This was the first time I have seen one of the Adventures of Louanna Lee.  I have heard of her through my friends in the Baltimore film community, but assumed it was more of a teen series.  I always intended to watch an episode, but just never got around to it.  I have several friends who worked in Little Bit of Love which is only fair for me to say in the interest of transparency.  However I will try to not let this affect how I feel about the film, and judge it on its merits.

The DVD cover of Little Bit of Love refers to it as a “spooky whodunit.”   I was hoping for a little bit more “spooky” than what I got, which is probably my biggest complaint.  Hey, I’m a horror fan, I like it with a little blood and gore.  However I know this is aimed more at a family audience and small kids will find it spooky at times.  I miss those days before I got so jaded.

For a lower budget film the production values were very good.  For the most part I bought it.  The only scene I felt like I was watching effects versus real life was one scene in the rain.  Still that’s a tiny complaint and most viewers would never notice.  I can be a bit of an effects snob, but honestly I have seen bigger budget films with worse effects.

The more vetern actors all play it straight and give believable performances.  No one is phoning it in, they are all giving it their best. Leanna Chamish looks better than ever, and gives a great performance.  My friend Alfred Guy is the coolest cat burglar you will ever see. Props to you Al.   Louanna's acting chops might not be up to par with Stover and Chamish, but her personality is infectious, and bubbly and kids will take a liking to her real fast.  Plus I have to admit her songs do tend to get stuck in your head, and not in a Rebecca Black kind of way.

What I like most about Little Bit of Love, is that it reminds me of the television I loved when I was growing up; a time when television was filled with wholesome family fare like The Wonderful World of Disney, and The Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew Mysteries.  It was a time teens and preteens could get involved in action and adventure, and not have it resolve around sex.  I know kids are more jaded now and grow up faster so the question is, would kids enjoy this?

  I think a lot of them would if they got the chance.  The Adventures of Louanna Lee is, in my opinion a wholesome alternative to Disney now.  It’s not spooky enough to scare anyone except possibly the youngest kids.  The acting can be a bit hammy at times but I think this type of overacting will be found funny by older kids used to goofy Disney and Nick characters.  There’s also a hint of romance, but not enough to give parents cause to worry.

So would I pay to see Little Bit of Love at the theater?  No probably not, while it’s a decent movie it’s the type of film I would pay theater prices for, and I think my nephews would be too distracted by the arcade just outside in the lobby.  Would I buy it on DVD? Not for myself, but definitely for my nephews or kids.  It makes great home viewing for them.  While it might be a little less glitzy than Disney, it has enough humor to keep them entertained, when they are tired of the Xbox

At a time when more and more parents use the TV, and the internet, as a babysitter, the Adventures of Louanna Lee is a babysitter they won’t have to worry about throwing a wild party while they are gone.

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