Oh this was dreadful. I tuned in because I’ve liked the male lead, Bobby Campo, in several other stories. Let me get right to it. A CHRISTMAS Store that is struggling at CHRISTMAS? Maybe their busy months are June and July? Why didn’t they just make it a “holiday” store, so they could sell stuff year round? Are they paying the rent for that very large store IN NEW YORK CITY, that had NO MERCHANDISE IN IT? Seriously, it looked more like a nicely decorated hotel lobby. If anyone has ever been in a genuine Christmas store, you will know that they are chock full of Christmassy ornaments, decorations, Cards, Toys, Christmas Trees, wrappings, Candy, Food, Gingerbread houses, etc. etc. etc. You can hardly walk. The stuff they did have was the same stuff you can see in any department store. And all I saw was little ornaments and doo-dads. How is it that a retail businessman, her father, was totally unaware of the terms of his lease? That he was oblivious to the fact that a billion dollar building could not be sold without offering him first refusal? And how does Bobby’s rich daddy, so totally charmed by the empty floorspace and lack of shelves or merchandise (or customers) in this CHRISTMAS store at CHRISTMAS, comes out of nowhere to invest with these totally clueless store owners to buy and manage a billion dollar building? I Just couldn’t get past all of the dumbness. Sorry for the shouting, downvote me to your heart’s content.
When one sees one of these early Hallmarks (2013 for this one), it is evident how the brand has slid into mediocrity in the last year or two. I guess it’s to be expected, considering the sheer volume that are churned out nowadays. It is evident also in how much kinder I am in my ratings now. My standards have well and truly slipped. My expectations are so low, that when I actually enjoy one, it is kind of an event. I’ve re-watched a few of the older ones that I have given low or average marks to, and finding that, compared to what is aired nowadays, they weren’t all that bad. I originally gave this one a “7”.
Snow Bride had everything I love about the Hallmark movies and is so rare today. Our heroine, a tabloid reporter, gains intimate access to a prominent political family under false pretenses. It was both funny and witty. The image of her tromping and tripping through the snow in her friends wedding dress had me laughing out loud. It had some funny repartee as well. The suspense of waiting for the truth to come out had me in a state of anticipation throughout. The big reveal had me cringing for our heroine and the comeuppance to the bad guys was very cathartic. The evil ones had me hissing and booing. There were some heart tugging moments and a satisfying twist near the end that I didn’t see coming. Considering the vaunted predictability of Hallmarks, this was a real coup. Excellent writing. The actors were all great. Patricia Richardson was wonderful and wise as the mother. I loved the secondary romance and the story behind it. Very affecting. Katrina Law had great comic timing and also brought emotion to her role. She’s no Teri Polo, Meredith Hagler, Autumn Reeser or Melissa Joan Hart, but she was just fine. Unfortunately she was not served well by the make-up artist. Bobby Campo as the brother added depth to his redeemed character. He is a favorite of mine from subsequent Hallmarks. The hero, Ben was a bit blah, but was very handsome. It really had all the ingredients. I wish Hallmark would go for quality over quantity, but at least they still show these oldies but goodies from time to time.
I try to watch all of the Hallmark movies. There are very few I haven’t seen. I watch them all in hopes of stumbling upon another Moonlight Masquerade, Holiday in Handcuffs, Straight from the Heart, My Fake Fiancée, A Family Thanksgiving, or Gift Wrapped Christmas. It’s almost a game with me. These are some of my favorites off the top of my head, and let me tell you, Hallmances that I would re-watch are few and far between. It’s no coincidence that my favorites usually feature talented actresses, usually with a flair for comedy, in the title roles: Teri Polo, Daphne Zuniga, and Melissa Joan Hart. Now, I will also add Meredith Hagner to the list. Her sprightly presence is not the only reason this movie succeeds, but it is an important factor. To that I will add a very appealing male lead, good writing (funny situations, dialogue, a few heart-tugs, and a twist even I did not see coming) and an older fan-favorite as an anchor: in this case, Gregory Harrison. Every once in a while, there is a perfect storm of actors, writing, and directing that makes my mission to at least give all of the Hallmark movies a chance, worthwhile. Why doesn’t it happen more often?
**Updated 11/16/2017**sad to say, it looks like Meredith Hagner has moved on from Hallmark. I hope I am wrong, but I guess she was just too good to become a regular. **8 stars out of 10**