The shocks started right away with this made-for-TV musical, Jane Seymour with completely unrecognizable in the beginning, with short, blonde hair. I thought that Ellen Barkin would play the older version of Chelsea Kane's character but I was wrong.
Jane Seymour can still move as Harper a big time producer on Broadway but while rehearsing she hurts her knee. While the dancers scurry around the studio trying to find her an aspirin (what kinds of dancers are you? one character asks, appropriately), she has to convince her daughter Mirabella (Sara Paxton) not to marry this Italian who was a former playboy. Mirabella doesn't even care about the role in her mother's new show and promises to quit it, which is a breach of contract, so Harper will sue her own daughter. Determined to stop the wedding, Harper nevertheless flies to Italy, but the pain in her knee increases so she has some of the tonic discovered by one of the dancers in the studio. The tonic has some surprising effects, turning Harper into a younger version of herself now played by Chelsea Kane who after being quite shocked bursts into song and dance and decides that she will seduce her daughter's fiance.
The song that is shared between Mirabella and Marco (Alexander DiPersia), who has no Italian accent, as they struggle to right their wedding vows is particularly painful, but luckily Adrienne Bailon breaks it up. Harper introduces herself to Mirabella as a distant cousin Debbie, who immediately pushes her way right away and even ears herself an invitation to the bachelorette party.
Harper immediately gets to work on her seducing, but Marco begins awkwardly with reading Debbie her vows, and she presses him about his former playboy past, after his disastrous vows, but whenever young Harper gets closer, he backs up. Fortunately, she leaves before either of them do something stupid, thank God.
At the awkward bachelorette party, Harper learns how her daughter lost her virginity. Mirabella was sixteen when she went to Paris, given permission by her father, saying that it was a school trip, and after a night on the beach, she did the deed. Her mother didn't even notice that she was gone, Harper tries to defend herself as she rubs herself with sun screen. But it's not the same with Marco, which prompts her to Madonna's Like A Virgin, enough to almost make me the change the channel.
Meanwhile, back at home, Amanda, Harper's assistant is having issues of her own as the investors have discovered that Mirabella has pulled out of the show and want to replace and Harper as well. But enough of that, Harper sings Like A Virgin as she approaches Marco and kisses him, causing him to overreact. He says that he is not good enough for her as he swore that his womanizing past was behind him. He doesn't think he can go through with the wedding now. Hopefully Harper realizes what she did was wrong.
The next morning, Debbie tears up as Mirabella tries on her wedding dance and reveals that she never really wanted to be a dancer; that was Harper's dream, not Mirabella's.
Then things get weirder. Harper ages again, so she tries to suck back more of the tonic. While running, Marco confesses to his friend of his moment of weakness, which Mirabella overhears, causing her to rethink the whole thing. Harper now wants to fix things, but the tonic takes more time to work. Also, her ex-husband, Ryan (Tom Wopat) arrives, and does not look forward to seeing his ex-wife ever. As if that wasn't enough, Mirabella doesn't want to admit that her mother is right and she believes that the woman he kissed was her best friend, Noelle (Adrienne Bailon).
Amanda continues sorting through the suitcase where the tonic was located and finds an old diary and clutches it to her chest and proclaims, "This can't end Back in Italy, Harper finds Mirabella packing and tries to convince her not to leave him. Harper says that she should give him the chance to come clean, and Mirabella decides to give him until midnight, when they have this dance because it's a tradition in his family (yeah, right). However, Ryan gives just the opposite advice to Marco; he can't tell the truth because it will ruin everything.
Then Ryan sees Harper, and is shocked by her young appearance. He recognized her because of her backside. As Harper fixes him a drink, she also pours in some of the tonic, turning Ryan young. He is now played by Drew Seeley, aka Zac Efron's voice from the first High School Musical movie. She tells him the whole truth and he is furious. But they must fix their daughter's relationship. But they still have embedded issues from their own failed relationship.
In order to fix things, Ryan tells Harper to tell Marco the truth, that it was all her fault. Mirabella also confronts Noelle and demands the truth, though Noelle points out that she isn't the only one around here with brown eyes. Then Ryan and Harper put on a show, with chemistry to spare.
In a heart-to-heart conversation with her father, Ryan (still young) tells Mirabella that he regrets cheating on Harper and he did so because he was selfish, but Harper overhears everything. Then the tonic runs out, so old Harper is the one to confess the truth to Marco, while young Ryan overhears the whole thing and Harper convinces him to tell Mirabella the whole truth, that she was wrong about him. Soon, Ryan is old again and apologizes to Harper about everything and says that he still loves her and Harper still loves him as well.
Mirabella is about to leave and Marco arrives but he has difficultly confessing his feelings. He tries and is doing a pretty good job, but just then her parents toss all of handwritten vows out of the window. And cue the crappy song. But they're back together.
Just when you think things will work out perfectly, another sudden twist appears. Amanda arrives and warns Harper that the third dose will be permanent; she will be young again and have another chance to live out her dreams. Even Ryan wants her to do that, though it will mean sacrificing her daughter forever, but she takes the bottle and wanders away despite these warnings. At least I'll stick around for the ending now.
The next morning, the older Harper shows up and says that she was wrong and love lasts and other syrupy sweet goo. All is forgiven. Marco and Mirabella sing a sweet song at their wedding. Even the parents are back together and one of the aunts has the tonic back, though it won't do her much good permanently.
This leaves some plot lines unanswered, I mean, what will really happen to the Broadway show? Who really cares? And what happened when Mirabella asked about Debbie? Now, I sort of care about that one.
The talent in this film is great, with Seymour, Paxton, Kane and Seeley turning in better performances than the film allows. Ironically enough, the only part that was at all real was when Harper called Mirabella pumpkin, something my mother often called me. Other than that, the film was horrible, with cliched dialogue and overused plot lines and even the musical numbers are bad, and if you cast a good singer like Adrienne Bailon, please give her a song or two instead of just a stanza and background noise. I expected bad and I got just that. I almost want the two hours of my life back. Grade: C-moreless