Cute and Clever, but I Didn’t Buy the Love Story.
Hallmark had a little fun with this parody of Hallmark Christmas movies. And I had fun with it as well. Kimberley Sustad, who is a favorite with many viewers including me, plays Kerry, a formerly aspiring dress designer who now owns a dress shop in a small town. She lives with her mother and her shop is on the verge of failure. She is very self-effacing and lacks confidence. Hallmark, oops, excuse me “Dazzle”, comes to town to film their latest Christmas movie, My Favorite Santa, which is super-cheesy. We get to know the cast and crew including the male star and love interest, Brad “the King of Christmas” Baxter. He embodies all of the cliches attached to a phony vain movie star, including his trademark flirty wink to the camera which caps off all of his movies. When the production’s costume designer quits, Kerry is dragooned into taking her place. She proves her worth time after time. As she gets to know Brad, she realizes that beneath the Hollywood facade, he is a nice guy. They start to fall for each other. There is a secondary romance as well between the producer and the director. They are exes who used to be the most successful movie-making team at Hallm…um, “Dazzle”. They go from only being able to talk to each other through an intermediary, a put-upon P.A., to mutual respect, and then re-igniting their love for each other.
Unfortunately, although very promising, it fell short for me. First of all, it was kind of boring. There was no drama, tension or suspense. The enemies-to-lovers conflict between the divorced showrunners was slow and predictable with a minimum of fireworks. I didn’t buy the Brad character. How could a truly genuine and nice guy act like such a dolt? His character is meant to be funny, but also mildly contemptible as well. He certainly wasn’t worthy of Kerry especially as played by the lovely and talented Kimberley Sustad. At one point, he offers Kerry a job as his costume designer after he gets a game-changing movie role in London. She takes a leap of faith and turns down her dream job in New York to go with him. But when he reads a piece criticizing his going against type to play a villain, he chickens out and backs out of the gig. He didn’t even think of his promise to Kerry. So Kerry lost her dream job and the London opportunity. Thanks, Brad.
I give Hallmark props for parodying itself in an amusing and effective way. And the structure was unusual for Hallmark as well. It is told in flashbacks at the premiere with the principals taking questions from the audience. We learn that Brad changed his mind again and took the role in London (without Kerry) but she is now working in Hollywood as a costume designer for the re-married team with a 6 picture contract. Brad and Kerry get together at the end after Brad apologizes and vows to change, but I didn’t believe in the relationship. And, so far, I’m not a fan of John Brotherton. I have to add that the final scene was very funny. I chuckled.