Plot summary (from the studio): Joe Peterson is a burned-out children’s book writer who’s on the brink of a mid-life crisis. With his career at a standstill and his relationship in shambles, he leaves town with his best friend to do the Polar Bear Plunge in the dead of winter in Northern Wisconsin. On his quest for inspiration, Joe encounters three generations of dysfunctional family that includes an obsessed law enforcement professional, a wise old fisherman and a muse with a pair of hockey skates. With the crew’s help, Joe to find his lost passion, survives an assault by an ex-girlfriend, and stays out of the way of the law. In the end, he gets the girl and publishes again but not before testing the icy waters of Lake Michigan on a snowy winter day.
Warning: Spoilers below!
- I enjoyed seeing Tony Shalhoub again. Let’s face it, he was the only reason I rented the film to begin with. He didn’t disappoint, though I couldn’t help but see Adrian Monk shine through a couple of times. Obviously that’s just my perception, as the Sheriff was a completely different character. Clearly, Shalhoub will always be Monk to me!
- The screen play was pretty good. I wasn’t too enamored of the actor playing Joe, so whenever he was on screen (which was practically every scene), I more or less tuned him out and tried to focus on just the story. When considered that way, I liked the story a great deal.
- I liked that Joe took the polar bear plunge in the end. He wasn’t doing it to impress anyone; it was all for himself. That’s exactly how all life-changing experiences should be motivated, IMO.
- As mentioned above, the actor playing Joe (I don’t remember his name) didn’t do it for me. He was too bland and passive, and his dullness was made even more apparent by the “colorful” characters that rounded out the script. I didn’t connect with him in any way.
- I thought there needed to be more development in Joe and Sif’s relationship. He met her at the diner, they talked while she was skating, and ???? That was pretty much it. That was enough for Joe to realize he was head over heels in love with her? She was nice and all, but come on. There had to be more than that, and viewers need to see it.
- A lot of the small town humor fell flat for me. The badger attack, hunting accident, primitive heating systems, etc. just came off as the writer trying too hard to make the setting “quirky”.
- The blurb on the DVD cover says, “He loves his fish. She hates her dad. They’re perfect for each other.” I didn’t really get a “hate” vibe between Sif and the Sheriff. Sure, there was tension, but hate? That’s pushing it. I know this is such a minor point, but it bugs me for some reason.
Feed the Fish tries to be a different kind of romantic comedy, but it ends up hitting all the traditional story beats you’d expect from this genre. Still, the story had some merit and Tony Shalhoub is worth watching in almost anything. I give this one 3 stars out of 5.