Sweet Autumn

No Cliché Left Untouched

Soooooooooooo Boring. I’ll have to disagree with most of the reviewers here. I usually like Nikki Deloach and Andrew Walker. But Nikki had a weird hairdo and no opportunity to shine because of the dull script and Andrew was just meh in this one for the same reason. It all centers on the over-used-to-death plot of the successful woman’s having to return to her small town to run a business she inherited but has to share with a handsome man who she conflicts with. Lord, I almost fell asleep typing that. Throw in the obligatory festival and a frolic and there you have it. This one, however, is made worse by the dead aunt from whom she inherited the candy store (SWEET Autumn, get it?) reaching back from the grave by leaving cloying and hackneyed words of advice for the couple in order to bring them together. This was a lazy effort and unworthy of the talent.

Rating: 2 out of 5.

October 23, 2020

Love to the Rescue

Started off Great but Kinda Fizzled.

This one started out great. I don’t remember Nikki Deloach being such a good comedienne. She was hilarious in some of the scenes. Michael Rady was a great foil for her, and the chemistry was good. Nikki played a free spirit type animator who has committed to staying away from romantic entanglements for the sake of her very serious daughter. Her daughter wants a dog and Nikki agrees because she feels her daughter needs to loosen up a little and a dog will help. Rady plays a government executive who is very anal retentive and buttoned up and also president of the PTA. Rady’s son is a bit of a dreamer and loves super heroes. To make a long story short, the two pairs decide to share a rescue dog which brings them together. They are real opposites and of course they clash and then attract. It was funny that Nikki’s daughter related to Rady more than her mother, and Rady’s son was closer in personality and interests to Nikki. I like that Nikki’s ex-husband was a good dad and good friend to her, and Rady’s girlfriend was a nice woman who realized first that they weren’t a good match. Unfortunately all of the laughs and romantic tension were on the front end of the movie. After the two became friends, everything kind of fizzled out. Still, it was still good enough to win an *8* from me.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

April 8, 2019

Reunited at Christmas

Hallmark Actually Leaves Some Clichés at the Door

**spoilers**

Reunited at Christmas is not a typical Hallmark Christmas movie. I don’t know what got into those folks at Hallmark, but I hope we see more of these presentations that don’t follow the usual bone-tired formula. Not that it wasn’t predictable or anything or had a sad ending, God forbid. But they did break free a little bit. Briefly the family’s beloved “Nana” dies and her final wish is that her Son, his ex-wife(who she loved like a daughter) and their two daughters spend Christmas in the family homestead, which is now going to be sold. Our focus is on the daughter played by Nikki Deloach. She is a writer and has a serious boyfriend who is an anchorman. He accompanies her to the family gathering where he pops the question. She says yes, and immediately freaks out because she has abandonment issues(dead Nana and her former fiancé practically left her at the altar.) Believe it or not, steady city boyfriend does not get dumped for a local boy. Instead they work out their problems and resolve her doubts and fears. There is hope that the divorced parents just might get back together eventually as well. Nikki and all of the cast members do an excellent job. On the negative side, most of the movie consisted of Nikki moping around being indecisive and her father pining away for his independent ex-wife, who appears to have moved forward quite nicely without him. All in all this was a Hallmark Christmas movie that was a very mature and sort of realistic approach to a family at Christmas. No magic Santa’s, time travel, bad boyfriends, or failing businesses, or hate turns to love conflict. It was quite refreshing.**7 out of 10 stars**

November 26, 2019

A Dream of Christmas

Another Hackneyed Plot Device, but…

Our heroine, Penny, (Nikki DeLoach) frustrated because her loving but frequently absent husband may not be home for Christmas, casually voices a random thought about how she wishes she had never been married. Voila! A busybody and eavesdropper behind her in line uses her Christmas Angel powers to grant her her “wish.” Except it is not a real heartfelt desire, it was just a momentary voicing of some mild frustration. She loves her husband dearly, and her husband is crazy about her. He is absent because he is a wildlife photographer, and it is now or never to catch the reindeer migration for his book, which is a mutual dream for the couple. She can no longer go with him because they decided she had to give up her marketing of his photos to get a paying job to support them until his business becomes profitable. And now she has to give a presentation that may lead to a big promotion.

Horrified and bewildered at her new life, she encounters the Christmas demon…er, angel again, but the cold rhymes with witch refuses to take back her thoughtless whim…er, sincere wish. It was nice to see Cindy Williams again, but the character she plays is really creepy, scary, and mean. I don’t think this was intended. I blame the director. She has the gall to blame Penny’s dilemma and tragic consequences (her happily married sister is now single and her children no longer exist) on Penny and then on God himself, refusing to see it was her grossly inappropriate and unasked for meddling that is at fault and it is her responsibility to fix all of the collateral damage.

Enjoying some of the perks of her rich and successful new life, Penny briefly flirts with just moving forward and forgetting her past. A very handsome new client wants to date her, she likes her VIP status, her important position and the work she does, and her Jaguar. Who wouldn’t be tempted? Luckily she and her husband never had children. So that is an important hurdle she doesn’t have to jump. Only two things are wrong. She misses her husband, and her sister is no longer a happily married mother.

It sounds like I didn’t like this movie, but I really did. It is based on a very weak premise, but Penny’s journey really is done well. Her flirtation with the client, who seems at first like a great guy, is tanked because she knows and feels like she is still married. She seeks out her husband, now a very successful corporate photographer, and sparks still fly. The chemistry between them is some of the best I’ve seen in a Hallmark movie. Andrew W. Walker, a Hallmark perennial, really touched my heart in this, as did Nikki Deloach, as Penny. Of course, all is settled in typical Hallmark fashion but this one had some intriguing qualities and even a few surprises. **9 out of 10 stars**

December 11, 2016