MEDIA NOTEBOOK: “Who Is Simon Miller?”
NEW YORK (CNS) – Viewers willing to set skepticism aside for a few hours will be rewarded with an entertaining adventure courtesy of the made-for-TV movie “Who Is Simon Miller?”
Suitable for most age groups — though unlikely fare for small fry — the film premieres on NBC Aug. 6, 8-10 p.m. EDT as part of the network’s Family Movie Night initiative, sponsored jointly by Walmart and Proctor & Gamble.
Though his close-knit, Boston-based family — made up of wife Meredith (Robyn Lively) and teen children Sarah (Skyler Day) and Kevin (Drew Koles) — believe him to be a geologist whose work entails frequent business trips, Simon Miller (Loren Dean) is, in fact, a globe-trotting spy for a secret government agency.
Simon’s cover story begins to unravel after he disappears during a mission to Geneva. Concerned for his safety, Meredith and the kids search Simon’s home office for clues to his whereabouts, but discover instead evidence of his hidden identity. Realizing Dad is in more trouble than they imagined, the trio set off for Europe to see if they can locate him.
As Simon’s trail — and their pursuit — takes them from Switzerland to Paris and on to Prague, Sarah’s fluency in the role of family interpreter demonstrates that she’s been applying herself diligently in French class. And Kevin’s computer skills come in just as handy, though some parents may be mildly concerned that lock-picking turns out to be another of his talents.
Of course the logic underlying their travels will hardly bear close questioning – how often, after all, do adolescents get caught up in international intrigue? But, however shaky, the premise does make for wide intergenerational appeal, and enables the filmmakers to convey messages about familial harmony and cooperation.
“Who Is Simon Miller?” includes some mild dust-ups and a bit of peril; it’s rated TV-PG/V — parental guidance suggested; moderate violence.
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Mulderig is on the staff of Catholic News Service.