#Xmas

#fakehusband #fakebaby #funnymother

Fake boyfriend is one of my favorite tropes. Ok, it is my favorite. And this one ups the ante by making it a fake husband and baby. A talented but struggling interior design and lifestyle store owner tries to boost her business by winning a social media contest. To increase her chances she needs a husband and a baby. Her best friend, Brant Daugherty, Max, who of course has been in love and longing for her for years is designated as the husband and her sister just happens to have a baby handy. Clare Bowen as the female lead was a bit of a mixed bag. She brought a lot of energy and commitment to the role, but at times she came across as over the top and a tad hammy. As Jen, she is commitment-averse due to her mother’s parenting. Mom is played by Karen Kruper who is a hoot. Her name is Liz Taylor and she lives up to that name. When Jen’s father died, instead of avoiding romance and focusing on her children like all good Hallmark widows and divorcees do, her mother went in the opposite direction and went looking for love in all the wrong places. By the time we meet her, she is on her 4th husband and 4 times is the charm, because he is a great guy and they are happy. But stability came too late for poor Jen. While on the way to the Bahamas with her sensible new husband, Jen’s mother sees her daughter’s video with her “husband” and “son”, and she is shocked and dismayed. “Honey, just give her some space.” “She got married and had a baby without telling me! How much space does she need? Outer space?!” Yes, there was plenty of sharp dialogue and funny lines. And she scraps her tropical Christmas getaway and returns home to bond with her daughter post haste.

Also adding some interest was the successful couple who are mega stars in the business and are holding the contest. Outwardly happy, they are struggling in their marriage. For a generally light-hearted and funny movie there’s a lot of angst in this one. In addition to Jen’s issues with her mother, and her issues with her relationship with Max, we have her guilt over the deception and her fear of exposure. When the inevitable happens, we have that drama as well.

I really enjoyed seeing Anna Van Hooft sporting a gorgeous new look in a “good guy” role for a change. She plays the happily married supportive sister instead of the evil girlfriend she often excels at. It all ends as it should with lessons learned, families reconciled, and a particularly great kiss. If I have a quibble, the ending was a little too abrupt. I’m probably getting a little too used to final wrap-up scenes or “One year later”s.

Rating: 7.5 out of 10.

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