A true story which tells how a talented young man becomes ensnared by his friends get-rich-quick schemes and an amoral older woman - and the price he pays...
Not very good, but fair enough.
Okay, this film is not very good. But, I happen to be a great fan of Kate Jackson. I always hope her next film will be an independent art house film directed by someone like Todd Solondz, or a European project. Somehow few people seem to realize what a great actress Kate Jackson is, who would do great in a film like Happiness, or Billy Elliot. At the same time I am surprised that block buster directors do not notice her. Show a little courage, casting directors!
On the other hand, it could be that Jackson always shows up in television films voluntarily. She is doing a good job and has been very productive over the years, so it is not really a loss. And these television films are sometimes not even that bad. Coming from the Netherlands I have seen a lot worse. I am genuinely impressed by her performances in The Stranger Within, Armed and Innocent and Empty Cradle.
As I said earlier, What Happened to Bobby Earl ( a typical t.v. movie title) is not a very good film. The characters are quite flat and the best example of this is the bad woman who tempts Bobby to walk the criminal path. She is the stereotypical femme fatale, dressed in black and red designer clothes and living a meaningless, expensive life.
Teaming up Rose, Jacksons character, with the insurance agent who is after the bad ones is very unrealistic. His character, I dont care whether based on reality, should have been left out altogether and is just one of the numerous weaknesses in this film. Lack of events, bad plot structure, length, needless melodrama, uninteresting filming locations and bad actors in supporting roles are others.
However, I very much am in favor of the social point that is being made in this film. When Bobby is given a revolver for his graduation by his friend, his mother Rose (Jackson) is astonished and shocked and cries out "What the hell kind of a gift is that to give to a college graduate!" and "Criminals have guns. Criminals and the police..."