"All My Life" elevated by lead actors

Harry Shum, Jr. (left) and Jessica Rothe appear in a scene from "All My Life."

"All My Life" is the kind of sappy, pull at the heartstrings, three hanky weeper that really has no business working because we've pretty much seen it all before.

Yet this formula manages to work thanks to two perfectly matched and totally appealing leads - Jessica Rothe and Harry Shum, Jr. They work so well together it is easy to forgive the film's shortcomings.

Rothe and Shum play Jennifer and Solomon, who meet one day at a sports bar and quickly become a couple.

Everything appears to be headed towards happily ever after with Solomon pursuing his dreams of being a chef. But the happy ending gets sidetracked when Solomon is diagnosed with liver cancer - putting everything, including the wedding plans, on hold.

"All My Life" is based on a true story and if you have seen the trailer, you probably know exactly where this is going to go. Todd Rosenberg's script doesn't stray far from the Hallmark movie formula, while Marc Meyers direction keeps it cheery even as things take a turn for the worse.

But even as the film continues along a path you will likely see coming even before you sit down to watch it, Rothe and Shum, Jr. are so good that they keep you engaged. Their chemistry is natural and believable, bringing an authenticity that is needed to make this work.

"All My Life" throws in some moments which each character's wacky group of friends (including "Saturday Night Live" alum Jay Pharoah), but it's the intimate moments between the two leads where the film finds its true strength. They make you believe you are watching a real relationship (and technically you are) and manage to elevate the material from standard tearjerker to a passable romantic drama.

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