Never Kiss a Man in a Christmas Sweater

It Wasn’t Bad, But Nothing Out of the Ordinary

I’m a fan of both Ashley and Niall. They both bring credibility to any project they are in. However, lately Ashley has apparently heard or read once too often about her own famous megawatt smile. Some of her scenes have a definite “insert smile here” feel. This was well made and Hallmark pulled out their A-Game for two of their most popular stars. They put a little more work into the plot, this time. Not one of their cookie cutter jobs, although they couldn’t resist the usual flirty snowball fight. However, truth be told, the story was a little boring, and Ashley’s character was a little too sweet and good. Sometimes her behavior with grumpy-pants Niall was kind of cringeworthy. She just would not leave him alone. For me it did not rise past the slightly above average rating. Kudos for having her ex-husband and his wife make appearances and her daughter was very appealing. Oh, and I do like Brendon Zub. He needs more starring roles. Oh Oh. The search for the out of print book was true to life and exactly right. Loved that.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

November 9, 2020

Falling For Christmas

Above Average

Nice chemistry from Hallmark fave Niall Matter and his costar put the cherry on top of this one. Good story with some tension and suspense and the bad guy turns out out to have some comic potential as well. Lisa Whelchel is charming as the Mom and her secondary romance with Niall’s brother? Uncle? fills the time nicely. Fits in with the Hallmark ethos without the usual themes of saving the (fill in the blank), town v. country, or royal imbroglio.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

November 5, 2020

Country at Heart

Above Average, But didn’t Quite Make it to Re-watchable

I am a Niall Matter fan and a Jessy Schram fan so this had a little bit more going for it. Add a plot that is a bit off the usual template, and it should have been a big winner. It wasn’t. But it was definitely above average. The Lucas Bryant plot line was interesting and added a bit of suspense. Was he going to be even a bigger jerk than he started off as, or would he turn over a new leaf? An 8 star and above Hallmark, for me, is one I will watch again. This did not earn that 8th star. Perhaps it was the lack of humor. Lack of focus? Lack of a really bad villain or real charm in the characters. The characters were lack-luster. Not talking about the actors.

And one more thing. Jessy is a TERRIBLE singer, bless her heart. But I seem to be in the minority opinion there. When she was doing her audition, I thought they were making her bad on purpose for the plot. But nope. Niall wasn’t great either, but he wasn’t really supposed to be.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

October 4, 2020

Christmas Pen Pals

Great Casting and Acting Count for a Lot

Despite the female lead (Sarah Drew) being extremely unlikable and annoying at the beginning, this turned out to be one of the best of the Christmas entries in the Hallmark sweepstakes this year. Probably because it’s not really a Hallmark, but on Lifetime. They use the same actors and writers and probably directors, but always seem to be just a cut above the Hallmark movies.

The plot had a lot of holes and had some questionable elements. Almost the whole town agrees to be matched up to a pen pal by one woman postmaster? What are her qualifications? How does she go about this? How does she handle last minute entries? How will Hannah and Sam work out the logistics of their coming marriage? How will she incorporate and sell people on the idea of writing letters before meeting face to face per her failing app/ social media company? Will Sam ever follow Hannah’s advice and get WiFi for his coffee shop? These burning questions and probably more go unanswered.

This movie ended up high on my special Hallmark rating scale because of good acting and appealing actors and actresses. Especially the male lead and Hallmark veteran, Niall Matter. My, was he appealing and had great chemistry with Sarah Drew. Michael Gross of Tremors and Family Ties added his veteran acting chops. The cast of secondary characters was exceptional. A special shout out to Latonya Williams who lit up the screen with her smile.

By the end there were 6 match-ups that had some potential. Great job, Santy Claus… uh…Madam Post Master!

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

December 16,2018