When Aidan and Clare first lock eyes, there is absolutely no question that they were meant for each other. They both feel the sweet sting of Cupid’s arrow hitting their heart-shaped bull’s eye.
I mean, this pair is equally cute and bright. They toss winking quips at each other with the aplomb of a team of romantic script writers. And they block out others at the party—where they literally stumbled into each other—as if being followed by a two-person spotlight.
But there’s one big problem: Clare has already determined that she’s not going to be her mother.
Clare’s mom, you see, fell in love while she was in high school. She pushed aside her career plans. She married Clare’s dad. Then that “perfect” love fell apart under the pressure of real life, ending in divorce.
Sure, sweet and cute Clare was the byproduct of that fast and fleeting union. But Clare has watched her single mom struggle with money and bounce from relationship to relationship ever since. And she’s determined not to repeat those kinds of mistakes.
So, as that first meeting with Aidan rolls on with perfect, smiling bliss, she pulls back the romantic reins and makes everything as crystal clear as possible: She plans to be heading off to college next year completely single. Period!
Aidan, who’s been feeling the same heartstring-plucks that Clare has, understands her declaration. (That’s the kind of sweet, good guy he is.) But couldn’t they, you know, just enjoy each other’s company for the remaining year of high school anyway, he wonders? I mean, they are kinda rocking this relational guitar like a 12-string-struming superstar right now.
Clare can’t disagree. They are as perfectly cute together as a pair of puppies in a basket. So, she offers Aidan a compromise. They can enter into a “break-up pact.” They’ll stay together for now. After 10 months, they’ll break up. No matter what. Ten months, and it’s over—finito!
Aidan quickly agrees.
But months of dating happiness can take a toll, too.
Especially when you get to that last date.
By the time Clare and Aidan get to the end of their 10-month dating stretch, it’s clear that both of their families have become friends too. Aidan’s parents tell Clare that they’ve loved having her in their family for nearly a year.
It’s also clear that both Clare and Aidan are pretty level-headed about their lives moving forward. Their “final” date is strained and difficult. They’re both unsettled because of their impassioned feelings for each other, but we see them ultimately encourage each other in positive ways.
While sitting around a campfire, a teen jokingly states that her friend has put a “hex” on her.
Clare talks about how her mom jumps from man to man in her dating life; we meet one guy who’s currently living with them.
Some teens sport a bit of cleavage. We see Aidan and Clare making out, and it’s implied that their relationship has gotten a little physical. In one montage scene, for instance, they are kissing passionately on top of Clare’s bed (both dressed). The pair also strip down to their underwear to swim at night in a lake.
Clare’s best friend, Stella, is gay, and they talk about her desire for a relationship. Eventually Stella meets someone she’s been lightly flirting with on social media. During a party game, the two young women kiss and embrace with enthusiasm. Another friend, Scotty, gets caught making out with Aidan’s kid sister.
Some teens talk about Scotty running naked in the past and showing his “ding dong.” There’s also a mention of a school friend hooking up with some new guy as soon as she gets to her college campus.
While climbing over a chain link fence, Aidan cuts his arm badly and needs to get stiches at the local hospital.
There are one or two uses each of “a–,” “h—” and “d–n.” God’s name is misused a few times.
Adults drink wine at dinner. And it appears that some teens are drinking beer at a high school party. We hear a song in the film’s soundtrack with lyrics that declare, “I feel like a cokehead.”
After leaving the Halloween party where they met, Aidan and Clare steal a few pieces of candy. They also join a pair of friends and break into their high school. Characters lie occasionally, too.
Some romantic comedies are fresh, fun and inviting. Really. I’ve seen a few and can attest to it. But Hello, Goodbye, and Everything In Between? Not so much.
It has a catchy title, but this lightly romantic paper heart is all predictable formula. It features formulaic cute leads, a formulaic gay best friend, a dash of formulaic conflict and all the cute formulaic he-loves-me storyline you can cram into an hour and a half of run time.
Now, that’s not all bad. Other than some sensual (but clothed) make-out scenes, a little drinking and teen misbehavior, this pic paddles its love canoe clear of a lot of the unsavory content you might expect from today’s romcom world. And its storyline explores the idea of young people keeping their pulse-racing attractions in balance.
But from start to finish (and everything in between) it’s just kinda … ho-hum.
After spending more than two decades touring, directing, writing and producing for Christian theater and radio (most recently for Adventures in Odyssey, which he still contributes to), Bob joined the Plugged In staff to help us focus more heavily on video games. He is also one of our primary movie reviewers.