‘Tru Loved’ is tru-ly well-meaning
Rating: 2 1/2 stars (fair-good)
By Maureen M. Hart
Chicago Tribune reporter
October 17, 2008
If the Lifetime Network didn’t exist, we’d have to invent it, if only to be able to categorize a well-meaning species of conflict film, tragic or comic. Into that latter genre drops “Tru Loved,” the latest from “Coffee Date” writer-director Stewart Wade, whose protagonist, Gertrude (nicknamed Tru, played by Najarra Townsend), has moved from San Francisco, where having two mommies and two daddies isn’t as unusual as it is in her new suburban locale. She’s identified on sight by the cool kids as a freak (inexplicably, since she looks like most of the rest of them) but is rescued from looming social oblivion by the attentions of star quarterback Lodell (Matthew Thompson). Lodell has some secrets of his own, and how he and his classmates cope with them fills out the balance of the film.
“Tru Loved” is worth a look for the supporting cast alone, which includes Jasmine Guy, Marcia Wallace, Alexandra Paul, Cynda Williams, Nichelle Nichols (Lt. Cmdr. Uhura from ” Star Trek”), Bruce Vilanch, Jane Lynch, Vernon Wells and Dave Kopay, the first “out” football player. The casting is more imaginative than the filmmaking, however, and Wade’s attempts at whimsy (odd fantasy sequences taking place in Tru’s mind, including a “West Side Story”-themed dance/fight) don’t jibe with the character he has crafted. But his film’s heart is in the right place. When Lifetime runs its full day of “in the life” movies, “Tru Loved” can proudly join the lineup.
Running time: 1:44. Opens Oct. 17 at Landmark’s Century Centre Cinema, 2828 N. Clark St.
MPAA rating: R (for language).