The dating adventures of three generations of Delaney women make for great entertainment. It’s a treat when Hallmark’s romantic comedies are actually romantic and actually funny. And this one has a nice message as well. “There’s nothing wrong with wanting a relationship, but it’s better when you discover you don’t need one.” The main focus is on Rachel Boston with her daughter as a side story. Widowed Grandma is already happily dating a nice pickleball enthusiast when the story begins. Rachel, as bakery owner Maggie, also has a son whose function is to demonstrate what a terrible father her ex-husband is. Brendan Zub added some edge to the thankless role. Maggie is friendly with a widower, played by the talented and funny Paul Campbell, whom she sits next to at her boy’s high school basketball games. They discuss how hard it is to get used to dating after many many years of marriage. One thing leads to another and they decide to “pretend” to date for “practice”.
There was so much to like about this one. First of all Rachel Boston was really good in this, and her rapport with Paul Campbell was easy and sweet and, in my view, much more successful than an earlier pairing. She makes a great mother. She should play one more often. In fact, the whole family dynamic was a big plus, adding humor and warmth as well as a bit of drama.
The disastrous blind dates were genuinely funny. When Maggie’s rude pig of a dinner date gets up for the restroom the waiter zooms in to tell her to just leave while she has the chance. ”Blind Date, right? How did you know? The whole restaurant knows!” She looks around and everyone is nodding at her. I actually laughed out loud. Besides the funny situations, the banter was fun as well. Her likable and savvy assistant can’t believe Maggie is not using a dating app. “You went on a blind date? What in the 1986 is that?” I loved the family’s love of corny puns. It was cute and quirky but also served to show how important a shared sense of humor is in a relationship. Both of the Delaney women are as clueless as their hopeful suitors are smitten. The daughter’s slow realization that the dorky Josh Groban lookalike is the one for her rather than the popular loser she has a crush on is just as sweet and engaging as the grown-up romance. Other than the terrible puns that just won’t quit, this one shone in every way. But I love terrible puns, so it’s a 10.
Rachel Boston is a hit or miss for me. In some movies her boundless cheer and energy is welcome and refreshing. In some it is just tiring and overdone. In this one it was the latter. Full disclosure. I dozed off in the middle, So probably just saw about half of this one all told.
Rachel, who plays an angel, kept raising her (very long) arms in the air as if spreading her wings when ever she had a triumph or ecstatic moment. It got to be laughable. Yeah, we saw what you did there, Rachel. Very clever. The first couple of times.
There were too many unanswered questions. When it was decided (spoiler alert!) that she was going to stay on earth as a human and give up her angel status after she found true love, How exactly was she going to navigate that? Is she going to tell her fireman-boyfriend? What about her former life before she died? What if she meets someone who used to know her? What will she remember? The fact of the matter is, In literature and movies, Angels can’t become human again. This just does not happen!
The leading man was fine and Beau Bridges added a lot and looked great. And that actress who played Alice Lake, Bayley Corman, is a dead ringer for Keira Knightly.
I am a fan of Paul Campbell so I thought I’d give this a re-watch, even though I didn’t remember being overly impressed the first time around. Paul was fine. Rachel, Rachel, Rachel. I used to like her all right. She used to be one of the go-to Hallmark actresses. The more I have seen her in recent years, the less I like her. She has a real stagey acting style. She says her lines like she knows there is an audience watching her. No matter what role she plays, beneath the smiles and niceness, she kind of comes across like she knows she is kind of superior to everyone else. This is just the way she comes across to me. I know she has her fans, and that is fine.
I found that her interaction with Paul Campbell came across as borderline hostile especially at the beginning. And it wasn’t due to the story. Her eyes were so cold when she looked at him in a few scenes, I actually got a little freaked out. I wish I knew what was going on there, if anything.
The story wasn’t all that bad, hence a semi-respectable 6 1/2 stars from me. The script seemed well-written and had some cute and clever lines. I liked that she was playing her age not an almost 40-year-old actress playing a young inexperienced girl just starting out in her career. The jewelry-making subplot was interesting and added a lot to the usual love story. The message was a good one: Follow your dreams, do what you love, but stay sensible and grounded. The romance as scripted did not come out of nowhere, the relationship developed naturally and realistically.**6 1/2 stars out of 10**
This is a slightly above-average Hallmance which at least did keep my interest. I liked the ice sculpture theme and the setting in an acclaimed kitchen of a master chef both of which I found educational and interesting. The touch of villainy and rivalry with the sous-chef was balanced by the lack thereof with the boyfriend and the wisdom, fairness, and niceness of the head chef. Her romance with our heroine’s widowed father added a further touch of piquancy. Rachel Boston is always reliable, though I find her giggle distracting. Her romance with the boy she met briefly in childhood but never forgot was rather dull. Her misunderstanding of his relationship with his work partner was not understandable, so thank goodness, it was brief. I guess the reason I did not like the romance much was that I did not like the hero. First of all, his lack of height and too handsome face bothered me. I thought his behavior showed a lack of character. He let his partner shoulder all of the responsibility of meeting the very important proposal deadline while he was romancing Rachel. The romance should have waited. She wasn’t going anywhere. His stupid arrogant move in entering Rachel in the ice sculpture contest in the first place was just incredibly clueless (and she told him flat out not to and why!). After writing this, Maybe I didn’t like it as much as I thought I did! **6 out of 10 stars**