Love Strikes Twice

22 Going on 37

What did I just see? It was on the Hallmark Channel but was it really a Hallmark movie? It was a time-traveling romantic comedy but that is all it had in common with the usual Hallmark. No pageant-worthy hair, wardrobe, and make-up here. Just great writing, attention to detail, talented acting, and fresh faces.

We enter this rare territory zeroing in on a 37-year-old childless corporate lawyer, whose marriage is about to fail because her main priority is to make partner in her firm so she can “swim with the sharks”. She is troubled about her marriage and confides to a friend that the crossroads in her life seemed to be when she worked with a childhood friend, now her unhappy husband, to try to save the local library building. After an unexpected encounter with her old  boyfriend, now one of the “sharks” she yearns to swim with, she wonders if she should have chosen him rather than the humble high school teacher she is now married to and has so little in common with. If only she could go back in time and with her sophisticated skills and knowing what she knows now about the law, be successful in saving the building. That would certainly change everything for the better and set her life on the path it was meant to be on.

I won’t go into the ins and outs of what happens, because there is so much that happens both personally and professionally. The details and the authenticity make the movie complex, heartfelt, funny, and very entertaining. It is tight and action-packed. There is not a boring minute in it. No usual meaningless filler or tired tent pole scenes. It borrows from many other time travel romantic comedies too numerous to list, but I was most reminded of the delightful 13 Going on 30. Needless to say, when she goes back 15 years to save the library, she also saves her marriage, her husband’s career, her father’s health, and turns her brother’s and her best friend’s lives around. It all culminates at her parents’ 25th anniversary, when she hits her head again and she shoots forward to their 40th, and her real, now transformed, life.

The acting is great all around, but the star of the show is Katie Findlay , whose looks and talent brought even more life and charm to the role that was already well-written. Had she not been cast, the movie still would have been wonderful, but she made it a 10 out of a 10. I fear she will soon be going on to bigger and better things. Sadly for Hallmark-land, I predict we will not be seeing her again on this Channel.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

October 4, 2021

Like Cats and Dogs

Pure Fantasy but Without Elves

Like Cats and Dogs is a pleasant little outing with some good positives, and only a few annoying details. Cassidy Gifford does a good job and appears to be quite a competent actress, with a flair for comedy. I won’t mention how much she resembles her mother. The only quibble I have with her appearance is the goth-ish eyeliner she wears. It steals every scene. I wondered if this was the make-up imposed upon her by the production, but no, apparently she did her own make-up. The character she plays is likable, and her situation is relatable. She is a casual, fun-loving, junk-food eating, let-the-chips-fall-where-they-may type of gal with an artistic temperament. She is unsure what to do with her life, now that she has graduated from college and broken up with her boyfriend. She is working at her parents’ accounting firm but it is not for her. In an effort to find her direction she rents a fabulous oceanside home on the west coast because an old college buddy is nearby. That must be a great job if she can afford such a getaway. Unfortunately, due to an error, it has also been rented by a guy who is her polar opposite in every way: an uptight, regimented, control freak with an evil girlfriend. Oh yes. He also is a health food nut and owns a cat who does not get along with her doggie, Frank (Cassidy’s tribute to Dad?). He presents her with a roommate agreement that puts Sheldon’s in Big Bang Theory to shame. He is working on his doctoral dissertation and has weird hair. He sounds horrible, but he is actually kind of adorable. Especially when he gets writer’s block. The inevitable happens. And also he finishes his dissertation inside of a week. Also, she finds a career as a photographer and working in an art gallery. Where she gets her own show. This poor kid. What a nightmare. There’s nice little twist at the end which, if you were paying attention, was easily foreshadowed. **7 stars out of 10**

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

April 20, 2017