Matchmaker Santa

Meh.

Reliable Lacey just didn’t do it for me in this one. This movie was made 8 years ago and Lacey Chabert hasn’t changed a bit. And I’m not sure that’s a good thing. Same hairdo, same lipstick, same signature eyeliner. Honestly, couldn’t she even wash her face before going to bed? On the other hand, If she ever wiped that eyeliner off, I don’t think I’d recognize her. Same affected giggle: It would make a good drinking game. I didn’t think she had much chemistry with her co-star, and the plot was tired and dull. Cupcake maker Lacey is invited to her bosses home for Christmas and she is hoping for a marriage proposal. On the way to meet him she meets a magic santa claus and is picked up by her bosses really nice friend/assistant. They are stranded on the way to her bosses vacation home. While Lacey and the assistant are falling for each other with the help of magic santa, her boss meets an old flame. And that ties it all up and puts a bow on it.

Maybe I just need a break from Lacey, because she can be a good actress, and is great with comedy when comedy is in the script. Unfortunately that’s a little difficult, since watching Hallmarks is kind of a silly hobby of mine. On a promising note, I have seen her in more recent efforts and she has been fine.

Florence Henderson, John Ratzenburger, Robert Pine, and Lin Shay, of Insidious fame, add some credibility. And I did like her love interest. On his own though. I’d like to see him pared up with someone else.

Rating: 2.5 out of 5.

November 23, 2020

The Christmas Club

Christmas Magic

This production was blessed by the good acting on the part of Cameron Mathison and Elizabeth Mitchell. They made a good match, and the story was very romantic. A slow development of their relationship with more than a hint of magic provided by the wonderful Gabrielle Rose. Two strangers, both missing true romantic love in their lives, team up to help a little old lady who lost her Christmas Club money. They give her $40.00, and from then on, magic follows them, and brings them together. It was something a little different from the typical cookie cutter offerings from Hallmark. It had some very imaginative and heartwarming plot points. Elizabeth was a little over-sensitive in parts; a little too fragile, but I guess that was her character. They did not drag the misunderstandings out too long. Probably not a re-watch, but I enjoyed it.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

November 22, 2020

Forever Christmas

See it for Christopher Russell

If Christopher Russell is paired with the right female lead, and he has a script that takes advantage of his GQ worthy handsomeness and the kindness that you can see behind his eyes, he can be great. Unfortunately that doesn’t always happen. It does in this one. The script explores the phoniness behind reality series and how untrustworthy and false they can be. I didn’t much care for the heroine, but Christopher made up for that and had charm enough for both. I did like that they had a fairly sizzling love scene as opposed to the usual chaste kiss at the end of the movie.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

November 20, 2020

Merry In-Laws

Enjoyably Screwball

A young mother from a scientific background who abjures anything fantastical gets herself engaged to Santa Claus’s son. And she doesn’t even like Video Games. This was cute, funny, and a nice romance. It was interesting to see Lucas Bryant in a more light-hearted role. Lately he has been playing the sullen, strong, silent types. Shelley Long was way over the top in my opinion, but I couldn’t help laughing. Also there were a few truly badly behaved, even hateful characters (her father) in this one which added some tension to the comedy.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

November 20, 2020

A Christmas Kiss

A Bravura performance by Evil Elizabeth

Very good romance with two appealing leads who had a nice chemistry. The supporting cast of friends and mentors contributed greatly. I also like the plot which goes somewhat off the beaten path of the last 2 years. The star of the show, though, was Elizabeth Rohm, as Wendy’s boss, Priscilla Hall. She is so ruthless, so manipulative, and so harsh behind her phony loving face she shows to Adam, who she is trying to trap while he and sweet Wendy are falling in love. She made such an impression with her portrayal, that they made a Christmas Kiss II, featuring her character. When was the last time Hallmark (or whatever) made a sequel to a movie featuring the bad guy rather than the two lovers? Never! It’s been a long time since I saw CKII, but I think she somewhat redeems herself in that one. Just FYI. Sit back and enjoy!

Rating: 4 out of 5.

November 20, 2020

A Wedding Wonderland

A Very Merry Mix-Up…Not!

I’m not sure what the message of this movie was supposed to be. Don’t be such a wimp? Put your too good to be true future husband before your mother from hell? Hallmark Christmas movies are not supposed to make you angry, frustrated, and disgusted.

Lucas proposes to Hallie at his parents snowy mountaintop vacation home. Hallie and her mother are prevented by circumstances from having the tropical destination wedding they both have dreamed of. Mommy is not happy. All hell breaks loose, while the poor bride and groom are put in the middle trying to keep the peace. The bride’s mother’s inexcusably rude and loathsome behavior, as detailed by some of the other reviews was never confronted the way it should have been by either the bride, her groom, or her husband. Or her gracious hosts, the groom’s parents, for that matter. She basically got away with an apology and a half-hearted promise to do better. And that twist at the end only made her horrible behavior even worse. And then, her disapproving but whipped husband just told her he was even more in love with her! What? There was no justice or balance. I feel most sorry for the wedding guests that traipsed all the way up the mountain to be cheated out of a nice wedding and told to go home with a gift bag, and then they ended up having the wedding with just family the next day. What?

I am disturbed by one review that said that the groom was too handsome for the bride. That they “didn’t match” and that he should have found someone more gorgeous. That is the one thing I really liked about this movie. He really was handsome and appealing. She was just a normal looking girl. But he was so in love with her. So tender and considerate. He loved HER, her kindness and generosity. They were friends that were also in love. It wasn’t just the sexual attraction for a beautiful sexy girl that might fade with time. It was true love. If their physical attributes didn’t “match”, their hearts did. Their relationship really lifted this movie to tolerable status.

Rating: 2.5 out of 5.

November 16, 2020

The Christmas Temp

Cute Story and Cute Leads

Two charming leads with great chemistry put this one in “rewatchable” status. I had just been thinking that Robin Dunne had a real Tom Hanks vibe going on when lo and behold he started to play Christmas songs on the giant piano keys. Coincidence? I don’t think so. The plot was interesting and amusing as the struggling female love interest worked to decorate our hero’s boutique hotel lobby for Christmas. His job and a possible promotion was on the line, and her art career would get a much needed jump start. I was a little underwhelmed by her final product, but everyone in the movie seemed to like it, so it must have been me.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

November15, 2020

Christmas on the Vine

Too Template-y

Yeh… This was just too by the book for me. Too many cliché set pieces: flirty sledding, flirty snowball fight, save the small family business from the big meanies, cookie baking, wreath making, and the Christmas festival (which also had to be saved). I think even Winter Storm Meghan has an impact! The only good things were Juliana Guill and the quality of the production values. Julianna plays a marketing expert who is sent to save a small local winery from bankruptcy and the evil conglomerate which is buying up all of the land and has it’s eyes on the little vineyard that could. Meredith Baxter Birney makes you hate her as the head of the evil winery. I didn’t like the male lead and didn’t think he had good chemistry with Julianna. Plus his character was stupid: resentful and fighting good advice and counsel almost every step of the way. The end came out of no where and was too abrupt.

Rating: 2.5 out of 5.

November 15, 2020

Grounded for Christmas

Winter Storm Meghan is Back and Better Than Ever!

One of my favorite romantic plot devices is the bringing a fake boyfriend home for whatever reason. This one did a great job thanks mostly to the great chemistry between the two likable leads. Cheryl Ladd as the warm and loving mom was a welcome addition. I have seen her also play a cold ruthless boss this Christmas movie season. She was equally believable in both roles. So that must mean she is a very good actress. And she still looks beautiful. The ex-boyfriend was really creepy, by the way. It was hard to swallow how Nina could ever had had her heart broken by him. Very cute and romantic ending.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

November 15, 2020

The Christmas Bow

Not Just a Cut Above, But Leaps and Bounds Above

Wow! This one was great! How did that happen? Two attractive and appealing characters played by two attractive and appealing actors who did a wonderful job. The acting, particularly on the part of musician, not actress, Lucia Micarelli, was so so good. I hope she continues to add “actress” to her impressive musical resume. The chemistry between the two leads was strong. I loved that she did not have the cookie cutter “Beauty Queen” looks, but was appealing in her own unique way. She well matched with Michael Rady, who is handsome, but in a “normal guy” kind of way. He’s one of my favorites.

The story was excellent and avoided the Hallmark tedious and corny set pieces that their Christmas movies are known for. The introduction of a woman bravely struggling with a largely unknown disease which rendered her dependent on a wheelchair and a grandmother with Alzheimer’s was laudable and affecting. The fact that they did not milk this for cheap tears is a wonder. Along with Kate’s brave fight to regain 100% of her violin skills after her accident it really made this movie both interesting and moving.

And just for the star on top of the Tree, we had the wonderful music. You made a wonderful movie, Hallmark. Was that really so hard?

Rating: 5 out of 5.

November 12, 2020