Merry and Bright

Candy Canes Incorporated

I came upon this older Hallmark Christmas movie by chance a couple of minutes in and up popped Andrew Walker and in walked Jodie Sweetin. I looked it up and not only had I not reviewed this, I had not even seen it. Since I am not reviewing GAC or GAF or whatever they are calling themselves these days anymore, I had caught up with all the movies I had on my DVR.  As I have mentioned, while Jodie has not always been a favorite, she has grown on me in the last 2 years. Her acting and looks always give a down-to-earth relatable aspect to the characters she plays. And she has a killer smile. Andrew is always good, and with the right partner, he can be great. I came in at the “meet cute”. Jodie’s mother (the talented and award-winning Sharon Lawrence) is always trying to fix her up, and Jodie thinks Andrew is a prospective date sent by her mother rather than an important business associate. The misunderstanding results in some pretty amusing back and forth.

Jodie has taken over her grandmother’s candy cane business after her death. It is the family legacy and it is struggling. How successful can a business be with a product you can only sell for 4 or 5 months a year? She knows what she is doing as she has an MBA and gave up a good career in California to take over. The investors or the board of Merry and Bright, the name of the company, have called in a consultant (Andrew Walker) to figure out how to generate more profit for the business. He is Christmas and small-town averse and doesn’t want to be there as much as Jodie doesn’t want him there. They butt heads as Jodie wants to do things her way. This could have been a lot more frustrating than it was, but luckily Jodie is a smart businesswoman and already knows they have to expand their product line.

As Andrew and Jodie work together they soon begin to like and respect each other. Can romance be far behind? That was a rhetorical question. Meanwhile, Sharon has a nice, funny, but heartwarming storyline. I can see why she took this part. She is not a dog person, but a dog at a shelter has caught Jodie’s eye, and Mom reluctantly adopts it for Jodie a week before Christmas as a surprise. Her antics in trying to hide it but not having the heart to leave it alone in the house is cute and sweet. Adorable dogs always elevate a Hallmark movie or any movie, for that matter. Unless the dog is in danger. The final solution to the business problem is clever and sensible. And Jodie lets her Mom keep the dog when she sees how attached they have grown to each other.

This perfectly enjoyable story is capped off by a nice epilogue where we see the renewed success of the business and Andrew getting down on one knee to propose marriage. That is an increasingly rare conclusion to the romance end of these shows these days, and it was refreshing.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Merry Swissmas or A Christmas in Switzerland

Swiss Miss? I Don’t Buy It.

This one has a dumb title (Merry Swissmas was the title it had when I decided to watch it). The plot did not look all that interesting either. The only reason I decided to watch it was because I have really come to appreciate Jodie Sweetin. She has a natural down-to-earth style in both her acting and her looks that I like.

Jody plays a successful architect and head of her own firm that travels the world for her job. She decides to visit her mother, who has just bought and is renovating an inn in Switzerland for a family Christmas with her brother and his wife and family. She is not told that Mom and her best friend have conspired to invite her estranged former best friend to the inn as well, in an effort to force a reconciliation. Jodie’s first love painfully dumped her and it took her a while to recover from her pain. To add insult to injury, her former best friend started dating him soon after.

Although I didn’t entirely understand Jodie’s anger that her best friend took up with her old boyfriend, I thought potentially ruining Jodie’s Christmas was a very dirty trick. Now, having said that, apparently her friend dated him behind her back without having a conversation and hopefully getting her blessing first. That was the terrible part, to my mind. The family’s constant manipulations to get them back together were annoying in the extreme. But she handles it with good grace, and, in fact, the two women are eventually reconciled. Then the old boyfriend shows up unexpectedly and it turns out her best friend didn’t tell her she was now engaged to him.

The actor who played the love interest for Jodie didn’t bowl me over. Especially at first. He played a single father/widower who is torn between his attraction for Jodie and his desire to protect his young son from further heartbreak after his mother died. He improved as the movie went on. It ends with a “happy for now ending”, but I don’t buy Jodie’s plan to stay in Switzerland with her new love and his son at the same time she has a thriving business in Chicago that requires worldwide travel.

Rating: 3 out of 5.

A Cozy Christmas Inn

He Should Have Sold the Inn and Moved Back to Seattle

This was a bit of a disappointment as I have grown to really like Jodie Sweetin and her presence in a movie will sway me not to give it a pass. I just ignored the fact that it was a sequel to a Candace C-B romance. It’s not a really good idea to give Hallmark fans the idea that Happy Endings may not survive the test of time. It’s kind of a buzz-kill.

This one did not survive the initial sniff test. Why in the world would an international property developer want to buy a second-rate B & B 300 miles north of Anchorage. Huh? And I say second-rate because check out Jodie’s room. I think white-collar crime federal penitentiaries have fancier rooms minus the king-sized bed which took up over half the room. The Christmas decorations were ugly and fake.

I didn’t like that Andy gave up his lucrative plane taxi service to fail at being an innkeeper. Not very romantic hero-like. The townspeople, especially the café owner were very annoying. Marinating some kind of meat in eggnog? I couldn’t get that out of my mind. I like the subtle fun hints that Santa was his Dad, the family “shipping business” was…well, you know, and the whole town was in on it. As with the previous movie, that was well done, if kind of incredible. I also liked that Jody had integrity and didn’t push him to sell the place even though her vice presidency was on the line. Although not encouraging him to take the money and run was kind of against his best interests. Vivica Fox, her boss, was scary and beautiful, as always.

Rating: 2.5 out of 5.

October 30, 2022

Entertaining Christmas

The Message is to “Be Yourself.”


How refreshing to have a normal-looking woman with a normal-looking figure be the lead character. Let’s be honest here. I can’t be the only person that noticed that Jodie is not some beauty pageant-ready glamor-puss. And in this storyline of a daughter trying to live up to her mother’s impossibly high standards, it really works.

Jodie is the presumptive heir to a Martha Stewart-like empire but let’s just say her talents lie in her financial and business skills rather than cooking and crafting. And she has people skills and a generous heart as opposed to the brittle competency of her mother. I won’t regurgitate the plot, but it really showcases Jodie Sweetin’s comedic skills. I have never been a fan, but she really shines in this one. And I liked that her mother was not stereotyped. Her reveal at the end, that she actually felt insecure compared to her daughter’s qualities and talents and really admired her, was a very nice development.

I found Brenden Fehr very attractive as a leading man. I wish he hadn’t been so bullied by his boss though without him getting some of his own back. And I think it would have suited the storyline better if there had been more of a gradual realization of his feelings for Jody and his appreciation of her value and unconventional beauty. But other than that, I really enjoyed this movie and appreciated the areas that they made some unconventional choices.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

December 18, 2020