Journey Back to Christmas

Strong Ending Redeems a Lackluster Tale

***Huge spoilers****Unlike many, I am not a huge Candace Cameron Bure fan. I find her competent. The first ¾ of this movie left me rather cold, despite the wonder and mystery provided by the great concept of a miraculous Christmas comet. The main character, Hanna, was just a too sweet cardboard cutout. However, the time travel gimmick usually delivers stories that keeps me engaged, or at least semi-engaged, and this one was no exception. I did roll my eyes at the irrational behavior and attitudes of some of the townspeople and the police. Why all the hate and suspicion of nefarious motives on the part of the police chief, Her primary supporter, Jake’s, partner, and the town busybody? The conflict was too manufactured and not rational. When Hanna, fresh from segregated 1945, is examined by the black doctor, and interrogated by the black chief of police, why no surprise or incredulity? They missed a great opportunity to add a little depth to the story there, and it would have taken all of 20 seconds. Her one champion, Jake, a policeman, was nicely played by Oliver Hudson. Sarah, Jake’s partner, was foreshadowed to be the love interest, but for most of the movie, her cynicism and unfounded suspicions made her very unlikable.

The last ¼ of the show is more than redeemed by the appearance of the Tom Skerrit character. Now an aged and respected figure whose life was changed by Hanna by her kindness to him when he was a little boy, he validates her story. He leads the way to finding a solution to her predicament of which life to lead. Previously unknown ties between Hanna of 1945 and Hanna of 2016 are uncovered. The doubters are proved wrong and they are even a bit redeemed in the process. Both Hanna and the understanding cop,the two leads, find their happy endings, though hers was cheesy to the max. Oh well. Sometimes cheese is the way to go.

Everything was tied together beautifully. The last quarter of the film had me in tears. It was that good. I don’t think I have ever seen a Hallmark movie that went from “blah” to stellar with such whiplash speed!**8 out of 10 stars**

December 4, 2016

A Christmas Detour

On the Road Again

A high-strung writer gets hooked up with an irreverent laid back fellow and a seemingly happily married couple on the way to visit their families on Christmas. They are thrown together when a snow-storm cancels their flight and they decide to share an automobile to get to their destinations. The Candace Cameron character is traveling to the Hamptons to meet her fiancée’s family for the first time. It is a road movie in which romance blossoms, true character is revealed, and secrets are uncovered. The fiancé and his parents are deliciously evil, Cameron-Bure, while always reliable, is quite likable and funny, and the married couple and the hero are well played, interesting, and nice to look at.

What I really want to address, and this movie is a perfect example, is Hallmarks penchant for casting 40 year-olds in the roles of 20 or early thirty year-olds. Aren’t there any promising young actors and actresses out there?. I am tired of seeing the same faces over and over. It is particularly absurd in this one. The older experienced couple who have a 20 year relationship and a daughter old enough to have a beautiful old home, are played by actors who are the same age, if not younger, than the couple they are meant to be mentoring! **8 out of 10 stars**

December 1, 2015

Just the Way You Are

Expensive Dates=Happy Marriage

This started off quite promisingly. Cameron Bure is always pretty reliable, and Ty Olssen was a good fit as her overly involved in work husband. Some good conflict was set up with the Dad missing their 15th wedding anniversary and forgetting his sensitive daughters audition for the school play. This guy had some major groveling to do. Seriously. Didn’t happen. All was forgiven after a couple of very expensive and elaborate dates. That was the movie: sum and summary. A potential problem was averted when the Dad, once again, showed his selfishness and lack of consideration when he agreed to move pack up his family and move from Seattle to New Orleans without even telling the much put upon Candace. Nope. He just called his bosses bluff and he ended up managing the project from Seattle. Problem smoothed over with a spa day for wifey and a wedding vow renewal. **4 stars out of 10**

May 19, 2015