I had no previous knowledge of this film franchise, having somehow managing to avoid the release of Cowgirls ‘N Angels in 2012, but somehow I can’t imagine it makes much difference in reviewing this title. As far as I can tell, there is no direct connection between the storylines, aside from a title and basic premise dealing with young girls and trick horse-riding. Cowgirls ‘N Angels 2: Dakota’s Summer is a mouthful of a title, but the film itself is a fairly inoffensively straightforward story that could easily be a TV movie from any number of the television stations that only my nine-year-old sisters would watch.
The only way for me to review a film like this is to consider what I would like my younger sisters to have as role models, as this isn’t entertainment directed at my age group, or gender, for that matter. Though the trick riding is somewhat impressive to any age or sex, the narrative is clearly simplified in a way that is predictable and contrived. This is quite fine for a younger age group without the same expectations in entertainment. What will matter to them is being able to relate to the characters and the story. And the horse-riding, of course.
As is clear from the overlong title, this time around it is a girl named Dakota (Haley Ramm) who is the protagonist for the small bit of pre-teen soap opera drama. Angered by her inability to perform tricks as well as her teammates, Dakota is only further frustrated when her sister lets it slip that she was adopted. This revelation sends her to live with her grandparents for the summer, and gives her the opportunity to meet her birth mother while also training to trick ride before returning to the rodeo circuit.
Despite the warnings of her grandfather (Keith Carradine), Dakota insists on trusting that her mother has changed as an irresponsible person, but inevitably ends up learning that she was lucky to have the parents that raised her. There is also a predictable love interest, which is thankfully kept minimal, and a relationship that Dakota makes with a troubled young girl visiting her grandparent’s farm. It all remains fairly contrived and sappy to the core, but I would have no problem with my sisters learning the lessons that this well-acted family film has to offer. Just don’t ask me to sit through it again.
The Blu-ray includes a behind-the-scenes featurette, as well as the option to watch the film digitally.
Entertainment Value: 6/10
Quality of Filmmaking: 5/10
Historical Significance: 2/10
Special Features: 3/10