A Paris Proposal

Diamonds are Forever and Paris is Always a Good Idea

Going by the previews this had the feel of a placeholder-type Hallmark artificially bolstered by an exotic location.  They hope their loyal viewers won’t notice a mediocre plot, an unengaging romance, and the usual Hallmark set pieces (sight-seeing, festival attending, gala going, etc.) our attention being diverted by the on-location shooting, the foreign accents, and the scenery. And to be sure, we are not spared from a few of the above-mentioned activities. But it was better than that. Of course, the authentic scenery of Paris was a big plus. But the romance was good too and there was plenty of suspense and drama. And no frolicking in the kitchen! And child-free!

Anna and Sebastian are tasked by their boss to work together in Paris to reel in a huge client for their advertising agency.  The two colleagues are poles apart as far as their personalities and approach to their profession. But their boss feels that together, they will balance each other out. Sebastian will help Anna regain her creativity and think outside the box, and Anna will balance Sebastian’s swing for the fences approach to advertising campaigns that ignore such pedestrian things as budgets and other practical considerations. To wit: he once burned down the coat department of his family’s famous and elite department store by staging an indoor promotion that featured flame throwers. So Yeah. He was fired from the business and his family both. Anna is just a stick in the mud. To be fair, the one time she did something unplanned and impulsive was in Paris and it led to a disastrous 1-year marriage and a divorce.  In their initial meeting with their clients, Anna, in a slip of the tongue, inadvertently kinda sorta tells them that she and Sebastian are married. Their clients, the blissfully married owners of Durand Diamonds are charmed. It is A & S’s job to lose.

What follows is the usual keeping up the pretense of being married alternating with crises of conscience for lying to their very nice clients. The two walk around Paris, and despite their totally opposite personalities, they grow closer and start falling in love for reals. They also struggle to come up with a stellar advertising campaign with the added pressure of a rival agency head, who is a nasty piece of work, breathing down their necks. Adding to their guilt and pressure is Sebastian’s estranged family who welcomes Anna into the fold. Oh boy. Even the mean father,  who just can’t let the flame thrower incident go for some reason,  starts to soften toward his son.

Alexa PenaVega is not a Hallmark actress I go out of my way to watch, but I liked her in this. Nicholas Bishop as Sebastian was a charmer and very cute. They were well cast and worked well together. Other pluses were some amusing banter between the two leads and Anna’s fashions, which were quite bold and fashionable. I liked the diamond angle as well. Really tired of chocolate, wine, and baked goods. It all comes to a head during The Big Gala when the nasty rival publicly outs our couple as unmarried liars. They are not only humiliated and lose the account but get fired by their boss right then and there in front of all of the glittering gala guests and Sebastian’s family! They turn on him and basically kick him out of the family. Again.  Hallmark did not spare our couple one bit. Which I also liked. Poor Sebastian. Even Anna yelled at him and blamed him before having a change of heart.

In the last 10 minutes, they start to scratch their way back to a happy ending by each taking the blame, Anna to his family and Sebastian to the Durands. In the “one year later” epilogue, they have opened their own Ad Agency in Paris, have two big accounts (guess who?), and are engaged. The ending montage was cute and clever.

Rating: 7.5 out of 10.

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