For some reason, I didn’t hate this, although I probably should have. The plot did not deviate from the standard Hallmark playbook except for the geography and had some silly eye-rolling elements in it to boot. But the setting in the Maldives instead of Small Town, U.S.A counted a lot in its favor. It was nice.
Rae is a writer for a magazine whose regular feature is her solo action-packed physically challenging adventures in dangerous places. Emphasis on the solo. She climbs mountains, rafts down raging rivers, goes on polar expeditions, slashes through jungles with snakes, and stuff like that. Her magazine is changing focus, however, and her boss sends her to a luxury resort in the Maldives. To Her Horror. (!) She wants her to write something personal and introspective instead of her usual which is the opposite of that. Can she even do that? Her job depends on it but it doesn’t seem likely. When she gets to the beautiful partially underwater resort, she keeps looking around for exciting adventures in defiance of her intimidating boss’s direct orders but all she finds is a yoga class. Not her thing.
But right off the bat, she develops a sweet relationship with an older widow, they talk and help each other and go to couple-oriented activities together. I really liked this part and the actress, Lucy Newman-Williams, was just great. Rae gives Debra the courage to strike out and do things on her own without her beloved husband, and Debra gets Rae to give her own solitary existence a critical second look. She also gets to know the yoga guy who is the “Experience Director” of the resort. Jared’s yoga class is part of a program he wants to “take international” called “Clarity and Connection.” You get the picture. They start to fall in love while snorkeling, dancing, shopping in nearby Mali, meeting his friends, and rescuing sea turtles. He also knows where the location of a famous shipwreck that sunk with a plundered treasure on board is. That is right up Rae’s street. This is the main eye-rolling part. Rae agrees to keep it a secret and not write about it if he takes her to it and he does. What a chump. But by this time, she is starting to buy into this turning inward instead of outward deal. He takes her out to the wreck which is sticking right up in the air in shallow water in full view of any passing plane or drone or Josh Gates. She is agog. Why haven’t all of the greedy treasure hunters discovered it? “Because it’s not near anything.” Plus it’s called the “Wandering Shipwreck” because every time there is a typhoon or monsoon, it is carried off again to a new place. Wait a minute. Could the ship be a metaphor for Rae’s life up to now? I’ll put a pin in that one.
Rae screws up and takes a selfie with the famous lost ship in the background which her boss sees because they have a shared hard drive. She forgot about that. Of course, her boss gets all excited and books a whole block of bungalows for a camera crew to film the exploration of the ship which Rae discovered and do a whole big thing. Secrets out. Tourists, treasure hunters, and reality show hosts will not be far behind disturbing the peace of paradise (and the exclusive $15,000-a-night resort.) Yoga guy Jared thinks she betrayed him on purpose, and yadda yadda yadda until all is resolved very patly with the shipwreck remaining a secret, the treasure staying in the Maldives, and him taking his Clarity and Connection program international with Rae’s collaboration. Her “Reservation for One” feature has turned into “Table for Two.” Awh.
The two leads in this are married in real life and seemed very comfortable working with each other. I liked Jocelyn Hudon in this though she has been in a couple of stinkers and one good one in the past. Her husband though. Nothing against the actor, but he came across as a slightly vacant teenage surfer dude while Jocelyn was believable as a successful worldly professional. It was as if Christopher Atkins had been marooned on The Blue Lagoon with his Highschool English teacher instead of Brooke Shields. He even had Christopher’s same tousled frosted tips. Just FYI and in fairness, in real life, they look to be a nice young couple and Jake Manley (yes) is actually 5 years older than his wife. I was surprised. I would not be averse to seeing them work together for Hallmark again as long as he lets his hair grow out and buys a comb.