This was very nice, pleasant, and boring. We meet our heroine, Emilie Ullerup, listening to daily affirmations with her earbuds as she is getting ready for work, going to work, and arriving at work. Already, I’m disconnected and struggling to stay awake. The lady’s voice is very soothing. Emilie is the head of her own company which specializes in neatening and organizing peoples’ spaces.
Despite her roots showing, we get that our heroine leads a sterile life that is very planned out with no surprises or spontaneity.
On her 30th birthday, she visits her father who has a time capsule from her dead mother. It contains 5 beautifully calligraphed challenges for her daughter to accomplish to enrich her boring dull life. Even though she seems perfectly happy and very cheerful. The first one is “Meet Someone New”. The last one is “Tell Someone You Love Them” (presumably someone not a relative, single, and of the opposite sex). So we know that her mother has reached out from the grave to get her workaholic daughter A Man. But we don’t know that yet because the last edict is not revealed until the end. LOL.
She meets her super cute neighbor, a single dad (widowed) who is a bit of a slob and has just moved into the neighborhood. He is the target and he will not escape. She helps him unpack his boxes and it’s on. They do the rest of the challenges together. The only hiccup is another predatory female who also has her eyes on him. Who is gorgeous and nice, by the way.
We’ve seen this all before but Emilie and Clayton James (formerly Clayton Chitty), who plays The Man, bring nothing to the show, although Emile tries very hard to be super cute and endearing. A little too hard. Clayton is very cute, like I said, but doesn’t move the needle as far as personality. The whole shebang is about as contrived as the photo of the mountain scene that is propped up behind them during one of their last “adventures.” It just goes through the motions but without even a fan to ruffle the hair.
Christopher Russell seems fated to be paired up with pregnant co-stars distractingly striving to hide their condition. But that’s neither here nor there. What we have here is a by-the-numbers Hallmark plot unredeemed by interesting character development, outstanding acting, or sparky writing. In fact, the writing was cringeworthy. Will is touted as some big expert/consultant in conservation, but no university education is even mentioned. Katie is the daughter of a corporate lawyer and university professor yet she acts very ignorantly and the samples of her writing we are treated to are inane and insipid. Her behavior is childish. I think she’s supposed to be perky and funny, but she comes across as just silly. Also still another case of too many cosmetics for the type of role. As for chemistry, it’s not good when you want to look away when the leads are having “a moment.”
Christopher Russell. What can I say? He is so handsome that it’s like he stepped off the cover of a paperback romance. Unfortunately, It seems like he always plays mellow, rather passive romantic heroes. In most if not all of the roles I’ve seen him in, He seems detached and like he’s just going through the motions. Maybe that is because Hallmark just plugs him into roles where hunkiness is more important than personality. I’d love to see him in another type of part. It’s too bad if they are just taking advantage of his good looks because in real life he seems like an authentic, nice, and private happily-married-for-years father of two. In fact, a real life Hallmark hero 10 years down the road.
This was a very poorly written Hallmark. I’m not talking about the plot, which usually goes without saying in Hallmark land. The dialogue was sub-par but my main problem was the character of the love-interest and his little girl. Neither one of them had all of their marbles. What kid of her age would even be vaguely interested in the stupid lost polar bear and orca bedtime story that the heroine started to tell her? Let alone transfixed in wide-eyed wonder. No kid of normal intelligence. I predict a very disappointing career for our heroine, an aspiring children’s author. And what single guy would invite his helpful single neighbor to a destination wedding unless he was committed to their future, and not “confused?” An idiot, that’s who. Once again we are expected to be interested in spending two hours with pleasant and attractive but boring cookie-cutter characters whose stories have nothing to engage the viewer. I can tolerate humdrum characters if the story is involving, or an indifferent story if the characters are appealing. But not the lack of both. Three stars for the reject’s nice song, and the crazy Ice Castle, and real snow.
This was a decent Hallmark script-wise and acting-wise. And it certainly was a tearjerker due to a surprise reveal at the end. But it suffered from a couple of things. First off, the character Emilie Ullerup played, Jenny, a neo-natal intensive care nurse, was naïve and closed-minded. That alone would have made her unsympathetic, but unfortunately her “nemesis” the CFO whose job it was to keep the hospital from failing by cutting expenses and laying off a few senior employees, including her mentor, Alice, was played by Kristopher Polaha. He is possibly one of the most admired and loved of the Hallmark male leads. He is very attractive and sexy as well as conveying strength and gentleness. Those eyes! That voice! Yes, I’m a fan. If the character he played wasn’t quite so likable, reasonable, and so obviously a good guy, It would have made Jenny’s belligerent behavior more relatable and sympathetic.
I also had a problem with the CFO of the hospital romancing a nurse. He is in a position of power over her. She is for all intents and purposes, his employee. He is firing people and deciding whose departments get their expenses cut. It was inappropriate and dangerous for both their careers and reputations. It would have taken one jealous colleague of either of them to cry “favoritism!” to make a whole lot of trouble. What if they got seriously involved and it didn’t go well? Once she jumps into his arms in full view of the whole hospital in the end, she has sealed her fate as far as working with him at the same beloved hospital. So not such a happy ending for one of them. Probably her.
I just don’t know what he saw in her. She was cute looking, but she came across as a spoiled teenager to his mature successful bachelor who could have had his pick of beautiful exceptional women. Why was he even single in the first place?
Trying to end on a positive note, what a treat to see some actors who are now Hallmark regulars in bit parts: Kimberley Sustad as Matt’s sister, and Brendan Zub and Chris McNally as two worried fathers. Of course, Sharon Lawrence as Alice, the focus of all of the angst, was wonderful as always. And speaking of Alice, what was up with Jenny and her cohorts diverting all Alice’s personal Christmas cards to the point she thought she’d been forgotten by all of her old patients? It was for a good cause, I guess, but not very nice in the moment. Nope. Did not care for Nurse Jenny.