Set at a real-life horse rescue in California.
The movie begins with Emma raising hell with her Mean Girls crew. Honestly, though, Emma seemed like a pretty good person from the onset. I’ve seen much worse in these “bad girl meets horse” family dramas. Anyway, the squad breaks into a horse ranch and takes a horse for a joyride, but only Emma gets caught.
Sentenced to hard labor in the form of mucking stalls at the Red Bucket Equine Rescue, Emma meets another reformed delinquent/equestrian named Lexi and the head trainer, played by Joey Lawrence. Yep, Joey Lawrence. The one from Blossom. Yep, just aged myself there.
And, of course, Emma befriends a down on his luck horse named Chance.
We discover that the Red Bucket Equine Rescue is struggling financially, because this is a horse movie and of course they are. Meanwhile, Emma is struggling to maintain a horse/life balance. Her former squad resorts to calling her “Horse Girl” — like having a passionate hobby that requires both mental and physical stamina and could result with you competing in the Olympics is a bad thing — and shuns her in school. Her boyfriend, though, doesn’t seem to mind the change in Emma’s priorities. He comes to her window one night and asks, “You know what they say about horse girls?”
Emma replies, “They love horses more than boys?”
After her community service term is complete, the big decision for Emma is whether or not she’s going to return to her old lifestyle or continue training with Chance? You’ll just have to watch and see!
Overall, I thought this was a cute family film. Greer Grimmer, known for playing Lissa on MTV’s Awkward, plays the role of Emma with a perfect combination of sweet meets naive. Much of the film was shot on Red Bucket Equine Rescue itself, with real rescue horses making appearances in the film, as well as members of Red Bucket’s staff. The director/writers did a fair job of keeping the story realistic, though I could have done without the added melodrama of “saving the farm with the check from the big local competition” that has become a nauseating staple of the genre. Honestly, Hollywood, this doesn’t exist. Local competitions, if you’re lucky, hand out hoof picks and matching brushes as prizes, not $10,000 checks.
Still, the film was sweetly charming and I love, love, loved the in real life updates about the animals featured throughout the film before the credits rolled.
I give Emma’s Chance 2 1/2 Golden Horseshoes.
Watch the full trailer here:
We’ve featured Red Bucket Equine Rescue of Chino, California in a past Standing Ovation column, but we’re happy to see that this rescue is gaining even more attention through the movie. Learn more about Red Bucket Equine Rescue by visiting the website, and order Emma’s Chance by clicking here!
Even better, enter to win Emma’s Chance on DVD right here! We’ll be drawing two winners who will each receive one free DVD. All you have to do is enter your email address or log in through Facebook and leave a comment on this post; entries close Sunday night at midnight!