Random Acts of Christmas

Bad Acting on Display Here

A single mother and journalist is investigating random acts of kindness in her home town. Are they random or are they the doings of one “secret Santa?” She figures out it has to be someone rich. The guy and Patrick Duffy and Jaclyn Smith are fine. They are the ones that rescue this one from 1 or 2 stars. I also appreciated the the semi original premise of the plot. The actress and her annoying son doom this movie. I can’t believe the good reviews. They were horrible. The kid was the epitome of the super cheerful sweet cliché fantasy child. And the Mom was like a Miss America wanna be. So phony. I choose to blame the director, as I actually did not mind the actress in one of her efforts and the kid is not to blamed as yet for bad acting. As far as her character. Why is she so mad when she finds out who the secret Santa is? Probably because she hadn’t thought through the idea that the guy was hooked on her and he was super rich. Well she finally got it. Set for life. Get a prenup, dude.

Rating: 2 out of 5.

November 8, 2020

Winter Castle

Sn-o-o-o-o-o-w Boring.

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.

Rating: 2 out of 5.

January 15, 2019

Love at First Bark

Boring and Banal

Love at First Bark is one of Hallmark’s more mediocre offerings. Other than some cute dogs and the odd dog-training tutorial, this one has nothing at all to recommend it. It is a very lazy effort with a cookie cutter script and unremarkable leads. Usually one can find something to like in these things: a little unexpected twist, appealing actors, some cute lines, an old favorite star in a secondary role, some genuine chemistry between the leads, a villain you love to hate, a heart-tugging moment, etc. etc. This one was a complete waste of time.

The heroine is particularly annoying. She stubbornly refuses a handsome and sweet dog-trainer’s help in getting her new pooch under control until she finally changes her mind. She is very immature about her business and her love life. When she sees her new boyfriend who is obviously and unaccountably in love with her being nice to his ex-wife, she goes to pieces. He has outright told her he no longer has any interest in his ex and why. She sees his ex give him a smooch in the middle of a crowded party. Not a hidden alcove, a crowded party. This is so upsetting to her that she offends a valuable and much needed client and petulantly breaks up with the dog trainer on the spot. She shuts him down when he literally begs her to listen. Very mean and unreasonable. He is very confused and doesn’t understand. She passive aggressively tells him that she needs to focus on her new business (after she just dissed a potential client, mind you) and doesn’t have time for a relationship. Unfortunately for him, she apologizes soon after and he stupidly takes her back. That is all. As another reviewer noted, and adding to the irritating nature of this Hallmance, are Julia’s false eyelashes. They are so thick and long that she could literally sweep the floor with them. They deserve a cast credit of their very own. It gets 3 stars from me because the dog trainer/love interest (Kevin McGarry) was a super nice guy and very good looking. The rest of the cast, including Leanne Lapp, was also very competent. **3 stars out of 10**

April 13, 2017