I recorded this on a whim when I looked at the cast and vaguely remembered that it was pretty good. Sometimes I just don’t have what it takes to invest in a recent premiere movie that I haven’t seen yet. I just read what I wrote there. That is a sad commentary right there. Usually, I look at these re-dos in bed when I wake up in the middle of the night or the last thing before I try to fall asleep.
The plot was entirely predictable of course. The appeal lay in the cast of Arielle Kebble, Andrew Walker, and Kimberley Sustad in particular. Arielle Kebble is one of the better early Hallmark actresses. Her movies for Hallmark are as memorable as they are few and far between. She is particularly good in those that emphasize lighter comedy rather than earnest heart-tuggery. Although don’t count her out when the story calls for heartbreak, however temporary (as this one does). Our heroine is a runaway bride who we meet Just as she is about to go down the aisle to wed door #3. We know trouble is on the horizon in the dressing room when she asks her mother how she knew her Dad was “the one.” But she walks down the aisle with a big smile. Arielle is very funny as her smile turns from happy and excited then stiff and then a bit panicked as she keeps walking past the wedding party and out the side door without a pause. Andrew Walker does his usual thing (which is a very good thing) as the commitment-phobe who bets his buddies he can get get a woman to accept his marriage proposal by Christmas. It was a little unclear what this was meant to prove. He settles on Arielle.
This is classic romantic comedy material as the “player” courts the gun-shy reluctant jilt and they fall in love for real. Kimberly Sustad, who was only 22 when this movie was made, practically a baby by current Hallmark standards, plays Arielle’s sister and turns a nothing part into one in which she almost steals every scene. I also want to single out Sage Brocklebank as Mike, the jilted bridegroom who is a creepy looming presence as he hopes to win Arielle back and sees her and Andrew falling for each other. He manages to elicit pity for his heartbreak and uneasiness as to what menace he is capable of.
I gave this a ‘7″ initially, but by today’s standards it is a solid “8.” Terrible promotional poster by the way.
Tom returns to his hometown in order to help his Grandma run her B&B. Grandma dies, the B&B is in trouble. Thanks to the scheming of his Ex-girlfriend, he is in danger of losing it because of a big highway coming through which makes it vulnerable to being torn down for a mall. The only thing I have to add to the previous reviews is to ask how is the 4 lane highway that is going through Grandma’s bed and breakfast (or at least along the border) going to affect the beauty and ambiance and romance of Grandma’s “legacy?” More than the usual suspension of disbelief is required to swallow this one. Still, it’s not too bad thanks to the actors. Arielle Kebbel is very appealing as the police officer/love interest. (No, he doesn’t get back with his ex, played by Haylie Duff.)
At first I thought Nick Bateman was TOO Handsome, if that is possible, but he grew on me. Kebbel was gorgeous yet down to earth and I thought she had good chemistry with the hero, and zero chemistry with the red herring. The movie was beautifully shot with gorgeous and colorful flowers and paint. It had a real romantic and professional crisis that really actually worried me for about a second. The downside was that Kebbel’s character did a real stupid thing near the end which I couldn’t even believe, and her paintings were kind of sickeningly sweet
Spoiler alert to follow the letter of the law only. Come on, this is Hallmark: We all know how this is going to go down.
Arielle Kebbel and Andrew Walker team up again for another Hallmark Romance after 2012’s highly rated (for a Hallmark!) “A Bride for Christmas.” I didn’t think I’d like this at first because the heroine was too gorgeous and the story was crazy predictable. The characters were even more so. Stodgy but successful workaholic fiancé? Check. Snobby disapproving future mother-in-law? check. Cute rebel outside the lines rival for her hand? Check. Nice middle-class family of the bride worried that their oldest daughter is going to become an “Old Maid”? Check. Arielle, however, proved to be down-to-earth, irreverent, and funny. The script served her well. She was surprisingly relatable despite her beauty. The hero was very attractive with a lot of charm. Jaclyn Smyth added nothing. Still beautiful, she obviously has had some work done, but still looks fairly natural. She should have been more evil to get that tension and suspense ratcheted up a bit . Nice “One Year Later” epilogue: Very Sweet with some amusing little touches.**8 out of 10 stars**