Catering Christmas

Very Pleasant

This was a very nice romance. I liked the dynamic between Molly (the caterer hired for the biggest event held in the small town) and Carson ( the leading citizen’s nephew put in charge of this charity gala). Molly is just starting her business which has been her dream since childhood. The name of her catering business is called “Molly’s Menu Magic” which I mention because that is a very silly name. It sounds like it was named by a 4-year-old and doesn’t exactly convey sophistication and expertise.  What was she thinking? Carson is an internationally famous and successful event photographer who is home for Christmas and is helping his Aunt, who hopes that he will take charge of the family foundation when she retires. Carson is smitten by Molly right away, but she rightly is not interested in getting involved with a guy who travels the world 11 months of the year. She wants to concentrate on building her business.

Influenced by Carson’s recommendation, Aunt Jean hires Molly even though she is not as experienced as the most prominent caterer in town. The rest of the movie is Carson trying to get close to Molly and worm his way into her affections. Molly likes him and nicely doesn’t avoid him (she can’t-he is basically her temporary boss) but she is cautious and professional at all times. Daniel’s pursuit of Molly might have come across as a little inappropriate and stalker-ish given the power dynamic, but thanks to Merritt Patterson and Daniel Lissing’s portrayals, it does not. He comes across as very nice, a little vulnerable, and trying to be helpful, and Merritt is very together and has the situation well in hand.  It creates some welcome romantic tension.

One thing I really liked about this was that we don’t have any of the usual catering disasters that threaten the heroine’s future livelihood.  Everything goes smoothly thanks to Molly’s skills and talent. There is a crisis, but it has nothing to do with her and she solves it for them. Molly and Carson get closer against her better judgment and the plot is kept moving by Molly trying to duplicate a lost fudge recipe beloved by Aunt Jean, a cute turn by an as-yet uncredited actress as Molly’s young assistant, and Carson’s growing appreciation of the mission of his family’s foundation (thanks to Molly.) We also have a sweet secondary romance for Aunt Jean. The romantic crisis comes when Carson’s beautiful agent shows up right before the Gala to whisk him away for a fashion show in Berlin confirming Molly’s worse fears. All is resolved with Daniel trading in his glamorous career for a more fulfilling one, and Molly’s business really taking off. Also, I think Daniel and Molly just might make a go of their relationship!

Rating: 4 out of 5.

**This will be my last review of any movie showing on GAC. It has been brought home to me just how pernicious this network is behind its soft words. I was not aware of how closely affiliated the ownership group is to our former president and the PACs that fund and support him and his agenda. I suspect that they may have even been connected to the dark money that funded the January 6th insurrection.**

Gingerbread Miracle

Gingerbread Had Nothing to Do With It.

Instead of “save the store,” in this one we have “sell the store.” Don’t worry, with Hallmark no store is ever allowed to be sold, they are all saved, so we’ll just get that out of the way right now. The cheery Merritt Patterson is a freelance lawyer who is trying to re-establish her career in the big city after a bad breakup sent her back to her hometown. The glum and sinister-looking (but nice) Mexican baker (I thought all bakers were jolly?) and proprietor wants to retire, so he asks her, a trusted friend, for help in finding a buyer for his bakery. Sounds reasonable, doesn’t it? However, his nephew, a big city lawyer, visits for Christmas and wants to horn in. I found him very out of line, pouty and whiny to boot. He doesn’t like being a lawyer and wants to be a baker instead, but instead of having the guts to do something positive about it, he tries to put the kibosh on the sale of the bakery. Rude.

Merritt and Alex, the nephew, have a history of mutual crushes on each other, bad timing, and communication problems as teens. As adults, the reboot of their romance goes pretty well, and they do have some chemistry. Alex is very attractive and once he got over himself and Merritt realized that she was happy in her hometown rather than re-joining the rat race, all proceeded to the usual conclusion despite the appearance of a handsome French patisserie owner.

There was also some magical gingerbread involved but it was more of a superfluous gimmick than a miraculous gamechanger. It was cute though. I also enjoyed the Mexican Christmas customs. All in all, this was perfectly pleasant, but nothing really special.

Rating: 3 out of 5.

December 18, 2021

Picture a Perfect Christmas

Very Very Boring.

This one was really just a lot of Christmas scenes strung together by a really weak plot. We have city girl coming home to small town. We have the Christmas pageant. We have the single Dad. We have the snowball fight. We have the tree shopping. We have the hot chocolate. We may have missed the mistletoe and the cooking baking: I really don’t remember. There was no tension or suspense. The unsuitable city boyfriend was disposed of around the halfway point. Merritt Patterson is usually pretty good, but even she could not inject any life into this one. Amazed at the high reviews. Also, I found the kid annoying and granny needed to mind her own business.

Rating: 2.5 out of 5.

November 14, 2019

Forever in My Heart

Has There Ever Been a Hallmark Movie without a Festival of Some Sort?

In some ways I liked how this movie avoided all of the oft-used to death stupid conflicts and misunderstandings that the prospective lovebirds have to get past. The heroine’s current boyfriend wasn’t a super smooth too handsome bad guy with evil intentions. The one time he overstepped the line by giving her unwanted and bad advice, he apologized the next morning and complimented her judgement over his. He was actually kind of goofy looking. In a good way. The hero and heroine were not separated in their youth because of a big bitter misunderstanding or lack of communication. They just decided to chase their own career paths. Near the end, she even admits that it probably wouldn’t have worked if he had followed through with his marriage proposal. That they each had to take their own paths first.

Unfortunately, this also made this movie a little uneventful. There was some lazy writing. For example, the older woman that Jenna meets turns out to be the long lost first love of hero’s father. When she first meets her lost love’s son, she comments that he reminds her of an old friend. Yet she doesn’t seem to make the connection, or quiz him, or seek out the love of her life who is still running the same hotel and hasn’t moved a muscle? Not even an ounce of curiosity? Why did they never see each other until the very end? Very anticlimactically, I might add.

Oh well, I give it a seven, because the scenery was great, and my eye rolls were kept to a minimum. Just don’t scrutinize it too closely and take your breaks during the musical numbers. No need to put on pause. Lastly, a big shout out to the hairdresser who styled the current day Merritt Paterson’s sleek sophisticated hair do. It really set the mature Jenna apart from the young Jenna.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

September 19, 2019

Christmas at the Palace

One Royal Romance too Many (I Wish)

Could this movie be anymore Hallmark cookie cutter? No, it could not. All of the characters came out of the Hallmark hero and heroine, best friend, child playbook without a bit of alteration. There was not an original second in the whole movie. What gave it a 4? The Prince was very handsome. The princess was a beautiful child. Merritt Paterson was not annoying and was age appropriate for her character, though she was too heavily made up. The setting was pretty. Also, it did not feature a mean royal fiancé or mother. That’s all. Hallmark needs to find a new gimmick. I’m sick and tired of the commoner and the royal fall in love trope.**4 out of 10 stars**

December 8, 2018