'Puzzle' is Well Made, but a Few Pieces are Missing

Based on the film Rompecabezas, Puzzle is one of those little-known independent films that sneaks into theaters with little to no fanfare, although the fact that it is being promoted “from the producer of Little Miss Sunshine” should help it get noticed somewhat. Puzzle is a quiet, little film about a woman who discovers that jigsaw puzzles are the key to changing her life. While the subject matter doesn’t sound all that exciting, the film really isn’t about puzzles but instead about one finding their voice, or so it appears. It’s also a message film that has its own agenda expecting the audience to agree with the choices of the main character and applaud her “brave” behavior. Frankly, it just feels manipulative.

Directed by Marc Turtletaub, Puzzle’s most impactful scene comes within the first few minutes. We see Agnes (Kelly MacDonald) cleaning up the house and they decorating it for a birthday party. Then we see her serving appetizers while being ignored by the guests. …

Celebrity Wife Swap is Insightful

It is quite possible that many Christian families have never watched an episode of ABC’s Wife Swap due to the name alone. However, the questionable title of the show shouldn’t steer you away. In each episode, two mothers switch lifestyles, children and homes (but not bedrooms as would be the fear) to see what life is like on the other side of the picket fence. I have watched this show many times with my sons and have had healthy discussions with them afterward talking about what values we appreciated and didn’t appreciate with each family.

Previewing January 2, ABC features a spin off of the series with Celebrity Wife Swap. The show is essentially the same except that these are celebrity mom or wives of celebrities. In the first part of the “swap” each mom moves into the other’s home and assumes the role of the other with the “house rules” written by the other mom. In the second half of the week, the “new” mom gets a chance to write out “new” rules for the adopted household. At the end of the episode, the two celebrity couples meet for the first time and discuss their adventures.

I was given the opportunity to preview the first two episode of the series and I think it’s worth watching. Some celebrities have hired help, others do not. Some are neat and tidy, some are not. Some have very strict rules, others do not - and on it goes. As the viewer, you get the unique opportunity to see what life is really like for celebrity families minus a little editing here and there.

Although the short series begins Tuesday, January 3, a preview episode was shown January 2nd. The press materials describe the episode this way: “A self-described control freak, actress and producer Tracey Gold swaps her very organized home with free-spirited singer/actress/TV host Carnie Wilson, a believer that love is more important than rules.” (The episode will probably be re-aired later in the season as well)

These two households couldn’t be different from each other, making this a fascinating episode. Both families have something to offer the other one. Everyone seems onboard with the project, except for Carnie’s husband, Rob, but he eventually plays along.

The series premiere (and regularly day and time) will be Tuesday, January 3 at 9:00 p.m. with what will be possibly the most controversial episode of the series. It features Gary Busey and his fiancee, Steffanie Sampson trading places with Gayle Haggard, the wife of former disgraced evangelical Pastor Ted Haggard. 

The Academy Award nominated actor, Gary Busey, is known in Hollywood for his strange ideas and gave America further insight into his character on last year’s Celebrity Apprentice. He and Sampson believe in reincarnation and are skeptical of others in organized religion

We also get a chance to see how the Haggard’s family live and communicate. Gayle appears to be a saint, but isn’t a pushover either. She’s a strong woman and Ted is lucky to have her. Pastor Haggard looks a little too uncomfortable as he can’t stop smiling. The episode touches on redemption and shows a very realistic look at a family trying to overcome huge obstacles. Overall, it is very uplifting episode.

The following episodes include:
  • Niecy Nash (actress/comedienne) and Tina Yothers (former actress of Family Ties and rock star)
  • Flavor Flav (rapper) and Dee Snicker (rock star)
  • Mick Foley (professional wrestler/writer) and Antonio Sabator Jr. (actor/model)


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