Sometimes you look at a poster or a trailer and you just know: Man, [fill in the blank] is going to be an unmitigated piece of shit. Broken Bridges, a release about which more than a few people probably felt that way, is just as pointless and hollow as one might expect; serving as little more than a glossy star vehicle for the unproven country superstar Toby Keith, the Lifetime-lite narrative—former high school sweethearts, Bo Price (Keith) and Angela Delton (Kelly Preston) drift apart from one another only to return home following Life-Altering Tragedies and deal with the past and their future—is an excuse to give Keith some (stiffly) dramatic moments and showcase the only actor in the film who brought an A-game, newcomer Lindsey Haun, whose on-screen presence and vocal chops far outstrip her castmates’.
Broken Bridges is wrapped tight in the cloak of good intentions, soft-pedaling tired tripe about redemption, reconciliation, and finding solace in the bottle. There is quite literally nothing remarkable or original about any of the plot points here, which makes the cast’s earnestness all the more amusing. I wish there were at least something to recommend—the scenery looks nice?—but Broken Bridges is the hollowest of star vehicles, a gummy, formless commercial for a soundtrack that isn’t all that great either.
As “No Show Bo” Price, Keith is forced to stretch his appeal beyond the red staters who turn out in droves for his Ford-sponsored concert extravaganzas; it’s not the least bit surprising that Broken Bridges is the recipient of a limited release—making the transition from the country’s arenas to its multiplexes isn’t a smooth transition for Mr. How Do You Like Me Now. Also unsurprisingly, Keith is most at home in the sequences involving Bo’s singer-songwriter side, where his meathead charisma glows like the high-powered headlights of a Ford F-350. Willie Nelson and BeBe Winans pitch in cameo roles, but it’s not enough to make anyone other than diehard Keith fans care about this big-screen debut. Like I said earlier, sometimes you just look at that poster and know: maybe, maybe when I’m having trouble sleeping and this repeats on HBO.