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The Independent Critic

Corbin Bernsen, George Newbern, Megyn Price, Francesca Capaldi, Aidan Potter, Taylor Spreitler
Corbin Bernsen
NR (Equiv. to PG)
92 Mins.
EchoLight Studios

 "3-Day Test" is 2012 Heartland Family Movie Event 
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There was a time that I'd have considered Corbin Bernsen to be the biggest jerk in the world. That's how convincing he was while playing Arnie Becker on television's L.A. Law.

Of course, Bernsen isn't Arnie Becker. Silly me. He never was. His life since L.A. Law ended in 1994 has been filled with a wide variety of roles including his several years on the soap opera Days of Our Lives. In recent years, Bernsen has spent increased time behind the camera and in producing a growing number of life-affirming, positive and faith-inspired films. 3-Day Test is his latest film and the film will have its world premiere during Indy's own Heartland Film Festival's Family Movie Event.

The Heartland Family Movie Event is always a hit-and-miss option during the festival that features positive and inspiring films that celebrate the best of the human spirit. This is the event, after all, that once featured an Air Buddies sequel. Sometimes, it just ain't pretty.

While 3-Day Test isn't likely to find itself up for any awards this season, it is one of Heartland's better Family Movie Event offerings. The film centers around Martin Taylor (George Newbern, Father of the Bride), a man who realizes he's lost touch with his family and is convinced by his brother Sam (Kevin Crowley) to give his family a not so simple 3-Day Test. Martin gives his family a rather unique "staycation," three days in the family home with no contact with the outside world, no power, no heat and no running water. When his test begins to attract the attention of snooping neighbors, news crews and even burglars, Martin's family has to team up to make the most of this unusual mission.

Of course, it likely goes without saying that this wacky mission ends up uniting the family and giving everyone lots of warm and fuzzy lessons.

While 3-Day Test is formulaic, it's formulaic in all the right ways with lots of laughs and a really good heart. It's probably not a huge surprise that 3-Day Test is a Dove-approved film for ages 12 and up. The film has a strong thread of faith running throughout it, but it does so in a way that weaves it into the life of the family rather than in a preachy or distracting way.

The ensemble cast is uniformly strong, mostly in the sense that they manage to capture both the heart and the humor evident in Bernsen's dialogue. 3-Day Test took Bernsen back to Akron, Ohio where he also filmed his family favorite hit 25 Hill. What's refreshing about Bernsen is that he "gets it." You don't have to dumb down a film for it to be family friendly. While the scenario here is a tad outrageous, Bernsen handles it all beautifully and in so doing puts together a film that will unquestionably be a hit with Heartland audiences.

George Newbern is terrific as the father who is determined to re-connect with his family, while Megyn Price is warm and funny as his wife. Francesca Capaldi, Aidan Potter and Taylor Spreitler round out the family unit with an abundance of heart and hijinks that will stay with you long after the film.

3-Day Test is having its world premiere at Heartland's Family Movie Event at 2pm on Sunday, October 21st at AMC Castleton Theater on Indy's northeastside. For more information on the film, be sure to visit its website and, of course, check out Heartland Film Festival's website for the entire schedule of films.

3-Day Test will also be released on home video by EchoLight Entertainment!

© Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic