Take a Chill Pill, Jill
Jill Wagner is usually very natural and believable in whatever type of role she takes on. She is always a beacon of maturity and balance. Not so much in this one. She was a bit over-caffeinated and somewhat exhausting. Could it be the influence of being in holly jolly Evergreen?
Lisa, a big city real estate stager decides to briefly go home to Evergreen, the Christmas capital of the world, or at least Hallmarkland. She is disappointed to see Daisy’s Country Store out of business and up for sale and learns that the VIP citizens of the town are scared that a big conglomerate will buy it and put up a McDonald’s or something in the middle of their picturesque little Christmas village. Haven’t they ever heard of Zoning laws? And how to use them? Lisa decides to stage the store to make it a more attractive investment for someone who will keep it the way it was. And presumably, everyone else who won’t as well? She hires handsome Kevin, a famous contractor, who is visiting his morose Dad in Evergreen to help. They transform the dilapidated store, but the prospective buyers fall through. Eventually, she gets her and Oliver, her business partner and BFF’s number one client, Polly, to visit and hopefully buy the store. Polly OOhs and AAhs but doesn’t bite but wants Oliver and Lisa to work for her exclusively. They are thrilled at the opportunity. Kevin hears about it and decides to leave town. Also, Kevin, who doesn’t realize Oliver is gay, thinks Lisa and Oliver are “together.” Of course, Oliver’s sexual orientation is not stated because it is way back in 2018 before Gay people existed in Hallmarkland. But when Lisa falls in a snowbank laughing hysterically (HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!! NONONONONONONONO!!!! HAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!) at the prospect of her and Oliver hooking up, we get the idea.
Anyway, Lisa and Kevin reconcile and Lisa buys the store herself. Christmas miracles abound but not without the help of the magic snow globe (see movie #1) a mysterious key to something or other, and a 25-year-old letter to Santa that went astray and didn’t make it to the North Pole.
December 10, 2021
One Actress Makes this Watchable
This was enjoyable due entirely to Rukiya Bernard. I’m pretty sure that this is the first Hallmark that she has been the principal character, although even in this one, there was an abundance of supporting players. There were also a lot of stories. But like I said. Rukiya Bernard. I have been a fan of hers ever since I first saw her in One Winter Weekend. I love her energy: she has charisma to spare.
The multiple plots were not that interesting. Holly Robinson Peete’s fiancé gets snowed in and can’t make it back to Evergreen in time for his wedding or worse, Christmas. The actor might have been busy and couldn’t make it to the set, but we did see him on Zoom. Peete’s sister arrives for the wedding that is not to be along with her father. Sister is mad at Dad and cold to his nice new girlfriend. Rukiya’s story is that Elliot, her boyfriend, is opening a branch of their store in Boston and they will be separated. He didn’t check with her first. The other story is that she is now the head of the Evergreen museum but the eccentric Cooper Twins’ brother never signed off on using the building which puts the kibosh on the museum. He was horrible and mean. Rukiya did absolutely everything to get his cooperation but to no avail. How anyone could resist her charm let alone be so mean to her, I just did not understand. His inevitable epiphany was very weakly supported. He saw a video of his twin sisters saying the same thing Rukiya (and they) had been telling him in person throughout the movie. His change of mind made no sense.
So the whole thing was weak, but I enjoyed you know who.
November 5, 2021
Ho Hum Hallmark Elevated by the Cast and their Chemistry
The story and the writing is weak, although the interior decorating and shopping bits were mildly diverting. However thanks to the talented cast and the easy chemistry among all the actors, this one earns an 8 from me. Jill Wagner is a very good actress and she and Victor Webster make a great well-matched couple. Victor’s character Grant started out whiny and ungrateful, but he got over it fairly quickly. Lauren McNamara who played Grant’s daughter was also top-notch and has been in several other Hallmark movies. She gets the plot rolling buy winning a free house makeover from Bethany an up and coming Interior Designer. Brendan Zub has impressed me in other productions, but was under-used as Jill’s sensible and supportive brother. I would like to see him as the lead again in further Hallmark movies. Last and certainly not least is the cute and charismatic Rukiya Bernard, Jill’s friend and partner, who brightens every production she is in. Alas, still in the best friend role and not as the lead. Come on Hallmark! Give her a role worthy of her before she gets away. One thing I really liked about this romance is that it didn’t end with the deal-sealing smooch, like they all do, but went on to add a little postscript by having the cast wrap things up back at the redecorated home.
January 26, 2020
No Surprises Here. And that was OK in this Case
This one had every freaking Christmas cliché in the book. Country good/city bad, specious current boyfriend/fiancé versus Christmas-phobic single Dad, Save the festival, magical Santa, frolicking in the snow, Christmas Cookies, and Christmas-centric small town. And… the boyfriend who appeared like a jump-scare in a horror film. I still liked it. I am one of the majority that really likes Ashley Williams. The screen loves her and she is never less than a sweetie-pie. This entry also featured two other shining stars: Jaida Lily Miller and Rukiya Bernard. Young Jaida is a Hallmark regular for good reason. She is a great little actress and a charming presence. I wish Rukiya were more of a regular than she is. I have seen her as a supporting player in 3 other Christmas Hallmarks and she quite simply lights up the screen. She needs to move over to Lifetime, Hallmark mysteries, Up, or Ion and start starring in her own movies. Move over Tatiana Ali. All this goodness was marred by the irritating mother who was a little too dependent on her beloved daughter. She needed a little therapy, as does many of these Hallmark mothers. As did the town, which couldn’t seem to function without the capable heroine.
December 5, 2019
As Cute as a Button!
I don’t remember too much about the first one in this little (eventually, I’m sure) trilogy, but I see I gave it a 5 out of a 10. So this one must be a lot better. I am not usually a Taylor Cole fan, but she was perfectly pleasant in this one. Her relationship with her boyfriend was free of stupid misunderstandings and silly juvenile behavior. I liked their sub-plots of her new mystery book and his fledgling snowboard company.
But, hold the phone, the star of this show was Rukiya Bernard as Megan, her best friend! What a cutie! She was so charming and charismatic I couldn’t take my eyes off her! Not a false note in her acting. And Dewshane Williams as her love interest was a worthy match. I liked the chemistry between the 2 couples with each other and the other two in the foursome. I will certainly tune in to the inevitable One Winter Wedding.
February 5, 2019