A Sugar & Spice Holiday

A Breath of Fresh Air

This was off the charts good. Everything came together. The two leads had great chemistry and were very cute in their own right. The writing had some depth in that although there were some Asian stereotypes, each character was well developed. It had both comedy and wit. For example, the Chinese father from Maine had a southern accent because he learned his English from Johnny Cash records. LOLWUT?! There were some clever and amusing extra touches and some straight-up comedy thrown in for good measure. I loved that when each new character was introduced, Suzy, our heroine would picture a bakery item that matched their personality and a graphic would appear over their heads.

The bones of the plot followed a usual Hallmark template: Successful hometown girl returns to her small town and has to save something while working on a project that will make or break their career. In addition to the humor and romance, there was a lot of tension and suspense, both on the gingerbread making front and on Suzy’s career front. But the writer and director switched it up and went against the usual clichés in a number of places, especially with Suzy’s future career path. It had plenty of heartwarming moments, and some good life lessons. The romance was sweet and even touching. I loved it. It’s in my top 3 this year and top 10 all time. Don’t miss it!

Rating: 5 out of 5.

December 14, 2020

Love Struck Café

Textbook Hallmark

Nothing special at all. Not much to like here other than the reliable Andrew Walker. I am sure he appreciates the paycheck and the work as an actor, but if he is not careful, he is going to be labeled the Crown Prince of Hallmark movies. I mean, how many of these things has he been in? I didn’t understand the motivations of the heroine. Completely nonsensical. She is given the assignment to convince an old friend and neighbor to sell her property so her boss can encase a beautiful country lake setting in a concrete monstrosity of a residential development. She knows this is a horrendous idea, yet blithely does her best trying to get the nice lady to sign on the dotted line. Why? because of a vague promise of maybe she can be promoted to an architect? To keep a job with a firm that obviously is the lowest of the low? Why would anyone of any character put up with this? She compromises her integrity and endangers a bucolic picturesque ideal location for a resort. Of course, she ends up designing a more suitable project, which her stupid boss (surprise, surprise) just loves. This one was kind of insulting, actually. **3 stars out of 10**

October 19, 2017

Like Cats and Dogs

Pure Fantasy but Without Elves

Like Cats and Dogs is a pleasant little outing with some good positives, and only a few annoying details. Cassidy Gifford does a good job and appears to be quite a competent actress, with a flair for comedy. I won’t mention how much she resembles her mother. The only quibble I have with her appearance is the goth-ish eyeliner she wears. It steals every scene. I wondered if this was the make-up imposed upon her by the production, but no, apparently she did her own make-up. The character she plays is likable, and her situation is relatable. She is a casual, fun-loving, junk-food eating, let-the-chips-fall-where-they-may type of gal with an artistic temperament. She is unsure what to do with her life, now that she has graduated from college and broken up with her boyfriend. She is working at her parents’ accounting firm but it is not for her. In an effort to find her direction she rents a fabulous oceanside home on the west coast because an old college buddy is nearby. That must be a great job if she can afford such a getaway. Unfortunately, due to an error, it has also been rented by a guy who is her polar opposite in every way: an uptight, regimented, control freak with an evil girlfriend. Oh yes. He also is a health food nut and owns a cat who does not get along with her doggie, Frank (Cassidy’s tribute to Dad?). He presents her with a roommate agreement that puts Sheldon’s in Big Bang Theory to shame. He is working on his doctoral dissertation and has weird hair. He sounds horrible, but he is actually kind of adorable. Especially when he gets writer’s block. The inevitable happens. And also he finishes his dissertation inside of a week. Also, she finds a career as a photographer and working in an art gallery. Where she gets her own show. This poor kid. What a nightmare. There’s nice little twist at the end which, if you were paying attention, was easily foreshadowed. **7 stars out of 10**

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

April 20, 2017