An Extra Star for Bethany Joy Lenz and the Lack of a “Frolic” Scene
This one follows the Hallmark template almost perfectly. All of the plot points and characters are straight off the mix and match stock list and hardly one is left out. The only thing it didn’t have was a cutesy snowball fight, snow angel or snowman session, baking flour fight, food fight, splashing or dunking in the water, etc., etc., etc. Of course, I did doze off for a minute or two so I may have missed the frolic scene. Bethany Joy did manage to snag herself with a fishing hook, but that was actually kind of amusing. So why a 6? That’s my grade for Ho-hum but not blatantly insulting or cringe-worthy. Lenz’s comic timing and likable portrayal bumped it up at least one star. Her love interest was a non-entity, and the romance was unbelievable and practically non-existent. I hope she goes back to Portland.
April 1, 2020
This should Cement Ali Liebert’s Place in the Hallmark Pantheon of Female Leads
After several turns as “the best friend” of the heroine, where she has all but out shown the leads, Ali Liebert has finally been getting much deserved leading roles in these Hallmark seasonal romances. This one is the best yet. Kudos to Hallmark for recognizing her appeal and giving her prominent roles. I hope she becomes as ubiquitous as Chabert, Reiser, Boston, Polo, and several others.
This one is also helped by a tightly woven plot, good character development, and an attractive leading man who has a real arc into becoming (or being revealed as) a good guy after all. I must quibble at this point over one plot hole. Our hero, a diva chef, has his career almost ruined by a viral video of him throwing food on a restaurant critic in a fit of temper. He reveals later that the video edited out the fact that prior to the food on the lap incident, the victim had made his waitress cry by being so mean to her. Why didn’t he just explain that on Facebook or Twitter? Instead of needing an image rehabilitation, he becomes a hero. It is also absent some of the overdone stupid gimmicks that most of these Hallmarks seem to hinge on. No angels, City bad, country good, factory shuttings, time travel, nor I Hate (just fill in the holiday). What keeps it from getting a higher rating from me is the lack of depth, suspense, pathos, or super hot chemistry between the leads. But it’s good. Really good.
Ali has the super nice girl who is maybe a little too nice role down pat. Plus she has the most energetic eyebrows I’ve ever seen. Very cute, if a bit distracting. Couldn’t take my eyes off of them.**8 out of 10 stars**
February 26, 2018