The debut of country singer Toby Keith, "Broken Bridges" stars the singer as Bo Price, returning home after a tragic incident during a military training exercise that took his younger brother's life. Waiting for him at home is his old high school girlfriend, Angela (Kelly Preston), who also is coming home since her brother was also involved in the incident. Angela also has a surprise for Bo: Dixie Leigh (Lindsey Haun), the teenage daughter he'd never met.
What follows is a deeply predictable TV movie-style drama with plenty of Big Emotional Speeches. The film follows Bo as he gets to meet the daughter whose life he's missed all these years and make-up with Angela, who he'd left in the dust. There's also something of a reunion between Angela and her father (Burt Reynolds) who she's been feuding with. The film doesn't really have much of a plot aside from a lot of people forgiving each other. Not surprisingly, the soundtrack loads on the country tunes (the better to sell soundtracks) and there's at least a few musical performances that are filmed as if they could be lifted out of the film and be used as a music video.
The best thing about the picture is Haun, who gives an enjoyable, engaging and natural performance as the rebellious daughter. It's not a performance that's going to win awards, but her performance is certainly less flat than the efforts from Preston (forgettable) or Keith (who really doesn't show much range in his debut, although, to his credit, the material doesn't really ask a great deal of the singer/actor.)
Overall, while Keith fans may be interested in "Broken Bridges" in order to see the singer make his debut, this is otherwise a plain and predictable melodrama.
VIDEO: "Broken Bridges" is presented by Paramount in 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen. Going with a fairly gritty, desaturated palette, the film looked just okay on this presentation. Sharpness and detail were average, as the picture remained a bit on the soft side, lacking depth. As for flaws, while no artifacting was spotted, some light edge enhancement was seen on a few occasions.
SOUND: The film's Dolby Digital 5.1 presentation ramps up during the musical numbers, with the surrounds providing some light reinforcement of the performances and the songs on the soundtrack. However, the audio is otherwise dialogue-driven. Audio quality was fine, with dialogue and music that seemed crisp and clear.
EXTRAS: "Meet the Actors & Their Characters" featurette, "Toby Keith Concert Video", "Military Base: Salute to Our Fighting Men & Women" featurette, "The Making of Dixie" featurette and previews for other titles from the studio.
Final Thoughts: Overall, while Keith fans may be interested in "Broken Bridges" in order to see the singer make his debut, this is otherwise a plain and predictable melodrama.
The Film C-