Way to Go, Hallmark!
I agree with all of the positive reviews regarding this movie. Kimberley Sustad is a very likable and talented actress and does comedy very well. I liked the plot and the slow building realistic growth of her feelings for Paul Campbell and his for her. It’s been a long time since I have looked forward to the inevitable happy ending with such anticipation in a Hallmance. Too often it’s just a big yawn. They did avoid most of the usual Hallmark tent poles in the plot although the “big misunderstanding” was front and center.
Yes, the diversity was laid on with a trowel. Jewish, Black, multi-ethnic, and gay weddings. But sometimes the politically correct thing is also the right and good thing. In fact the only “normal” (Ha Ha) couple was the lead couple, now that I think about it. Hopefully the religious right can take some comfort in that. As for me, I hope Hallmark doesn’t think they’ve done their duty for the time being as far as diversity is concerned and non-WASP non-straight people go back to being relegated to tokens. I choose to give them the benefit of the doubt that they will be guided by the praise and not the invective.
August 17, 2020
I Change My Vote!
When I first saw this movie 4 or 5 years ago, I gave it a 5. I just rewatched it and I am bumping my grade up to an 8. Unfortunately, this is a sad commentary on how mediocre the current crop of Hallmark-type movies are. They now churn them out so frequently, that the quality of the acting, plot, chemistry between the leads, directing and writing has inevitably suffered. Consequently, when I see one that is half-way decent or has one great thing going for it, it earns at least a 7 from me. This one features some actors who have since made it pretty big in Hallmark-Land. namely Benjamin Hollingsworth, Ryan Kennedy, and Peter Benson. And low and behold Cindy Busby in a bit part as a friend of our heroine and barely recognizable with brown hair. I loved Jessica Szohr in the lead role as a girl who achieves the life of her dreams due to a series of coincidences. She was very exotic looking and a far cry from the pageant ready looks favored by most hallmark heroines. Her acting was top notch as well, and I loved the ups and downs she goes through to achieve her happy ending and the right man for her. All in all, it was very entertaining, especially since they didn’t cling to stereo type black or white characterizations. The guy who was the initial “villain” turns out to be a great guy, and our good girl heroine turns into a bit of a bitch before she sees the error of her ways. It looks like Jessica has gone on to other projects besides Hallmark. Hallmark would do well to groom more female leads with her range and interesting looks.
March 1, 2020
And for Something a Little Different…
This is a genuinely amusing little variation on the usual Hallmark template. It starts off with all of the clichés in place: Nice girl gets dumped before the holidays when she is expected to bring the dumper to meet the family for the first time. she can’t bear the humiliation or to disappoint them so she falls in with a plan to substitute an actor to impersonate the architect “”Mr. Christmas” ex-boyfriend. He is a born and bred New York City actor who is anxious to visit a small town to get a feel for a role he is up for. One problem. He is Jewish and can’t even build a gingerbread house. The chemistry between the charming leads was great, there was some ample support from veteran actors Bruce Boxleitner and Teri Rothery. And the talented Anna Van Hooft, who usually plays the villain in Hallmark movies, does a credible job in a throw away part as the supportive sister, for a change. And lets not forget the contribution by a Hallmark stalwart Peter Benson as the brother-in-law.
This was a nice romance with some good laughs fueled by the tension of when will the truth come out, and what will happen then, and the cluenessness of fake fiancee Joel, played with aplomb by new comer Matt Cohen.
One of the best this year. Hallmark Christmas movie fans: Don’t miss it!
December 16, 2019
This One Succeeds due to Maggie Lawson and Paul Greene
I enjoyed this one and was going to review it long ago, after I first saw it, but it was not yet available on IMDb. This movie follows the usual pattern: Competent and no nonsense woman saddled with a guy who takes her for granted attends a wedding and meets the laid back best man. Sparks fly after the usual friction between the two, and then the original boyfriend appears out of nowhere. Add to this a bridezilla (surprise surprise.) What sets this one apart is Maggie Lawson. She adds brightness and nice comic timing. I enjoyed seeing her again after Psych. Paul Greene is one of my more favorite male Hallmark regulars, and the two play off each other very well. I am hoping Hallmark will have Maggie back soon. **8 stars out of 10**
July 15, 2017
Hallmark Takes a Daring Step Forward
It’s not often Hallmark actresses get to portray anguish on camera. Luckily they have a real pro and bona fide actress in Lacey Chabert, who did a very credible job. I can think of very few in the stable of regulars who could have pulled off the scene where she learns her beloved sister and brother-in-law have been killed. I cried. The whole ensemble handled the story very well. You can tell they pulled out the “big guns” to meet the challenge of a script that actually called for a range of emotion: Gregory Harrison and Teryl Rothery as the parents, good ole Peter Benson as the city boyfriend who gets dumped for the small town coach, who was played by the always welcome Tyler Hynes. I appreciated that they got a normal looking kid who could act to play the introverted son.
There were very realistic problems and conflicts that had to be resolved. The father was a good guy, but too controlling. Gregory Harrison managed to keep him likable. I groaned when they were setting up for the customary Hallmark food fight ( or snowball fight if it’s winter) but it was actually funny, thanks to the performances.
It was good to see Hallmark break out of it’s own box a little bit. Fear not, most of the usual templates were still in place, but baby steps! Kudos.
May 17, 2021
P. S. I just noticed that Lacey Chabert was actually one of the writers. You go, girl! **8 stars out of 10**