The Sweetest Christmas Review

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It’s time to look at the next Hallmark film. This one is another Christmas rebound adventure but with a food themed plot to spice things up. When competitions are on the line even Christmas can get a little hectic. Still, the main characters are ready for anything and this is another solid film to check out.

This film starts out with Kylie lamenting her loss for the Gingerbread contest. She sent in a submission weeks ago but never received a response. At least things are going well at work and she thinks that Alex may be ready to take the next step as he invites her to a fancy restaurant. Her hopes are dashed when he says that he just brought her over so ask if she would like a promotion so they can be a team at work. Honestly it wasn’t a bad idea but Kylie already had her heart set on something else so she ends their “partnership” as he would put it. She then meets rebound guy #1…her ex Nick. Nick is living the tough life of being a single Dad at the moment since she formerly dumped him as well but now they can get back to the past. Also, Kylie ended up doing well on her submission, the letter was just loss behind the fridge. She is now determined to win the contest and prove that her cooking skills are the real deal!

This is a pretty fun film like the other Hallmark title. While I don’t think it is quite as impressive it still has all of the fundamentals down. First off, it’s an enjoyable movie with no real negative scenes to drag it down. I wouldn’t say that any of the characters are downright terrible and the pacing is on point as well. The cooking scenes are always nice and the supporting characters had nice contributions and managed not to feel tacked on. The writing is pretty good and I continue to be impressed with Hallmark in general.

On the other side of the spectrum, once again the whole film’s plot revolves around a rebound and the film pretty much justifies it here like in the last movie. I certainly find it hard to root for Kylie myself especially since Alex doesn’t even seem like a bad guy. Oblivious to be sure, but at least he’s not cheating on her or anything like that. I think the main character is where the last film really takes the edge. That’s a good segway into talking about our heroine. So, Kylie is an aspiring chef who has had a hard time breaking into the industry but is looking to do so now. This is her golden opportunity but you wouldn’t know it since she is so quick to throw in the towel all the time. As soon as she hears that a professional is joining the contest she is ready to throw in the towel and must be told repeatedly not to do so. Why does she have to be convinced to enter the contest she’s been waiting for her whole life? She throws the pity party way too quickly.

Then we find out the reason why she broke up with Nick and it’s a bad one. Basically his Dad died and Kylie didn’t want Nick to have to be busy driving to her place all the time since it was so far…so she broke up with him. She acts like she was doing him a favor but I think it’s pretty obvious why this would be one of the worst times to break up with him. With his life basically being turned upside down all she is doing is amplifying that even more. Things could have ended up pretty badly for him. Now when Nick is just getting over him she is ready to reconnect.

Meanwhile, Nick is fairly reasonable as he does his best to turn her away and also doesn’t make any kind of move until he is sure that she is no longer together with Alex. For him this is also a rebound since his wife died and the time frame can’t have been too long based on the timeline of when this all went down. Naturally the romance in this film is more of a weakness than anything. The movie is at its best when it’s focusing on the comedy and just having a good time. The film never gets too serious though and even the negatives in the romance are typically glossed over. I don’t think you’ll notice it much unless you are paying a lot of attention to it.

Ralphie is Nick’s best friend and he does a good job of looking out for him. The guy’s a lot of fun and certainly is supportive. Without him Nick and Kylie would have definitely been doomed. Likewise Kylie had a sister who was also with her throughout all of this and always had a good attitude about her. Again, the supporting cast was just quite good. I didn’t care much for Nick’s kid, but they can’t all be good. Alex was still fairly decent. He does his best to try to make things right with Kylie. He seems to have a hard time really expressing himself but you never get the feeling that he doesn’t care for Kylie. He’s just grown up in a business environment and doesn’t really know how to differentiate the two. He probably gets the saddest ending from all of the characters. His plan for the contest was certainly convoluted and didn’t work too well but again it was all for Kylie. If anything I found him to be a lot more impressive than Nick and he was certainly a more likable character. He’s the kind of guy where you knew he was doomed from the start though. He never stood a chance.

Overall, This was a fun Christmas film. There’s a lot of baking and solid characters to root for here. Even though this is primarily a romance/comedy film it only succeeds in half of its genre. That’s enough though especially since there are no true negatives here. There was no scene where I thought to myself “I’m gonna drop a star for that.” That’s definitely important and a big reason as to why I can safely recommend this title to anyone. It’s a nice feel good film to end the year with.

Overall 7/10

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Matchmaker Santa Review

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It’s time to look at the first Christmas film of the season. It’s time to enter the world of the Hallmark films. They’ve typically got a good rep for being fun films with nice plots that get you ready for Christmas to arrive and I can confirm that this was a pretty good film. It can be a little cheesy and stuff but at the end of the day the film doesn’t really have any faults and succeeds at being entertaining.

The film starts with a flashback where Melanie wishes for Christmas that she will meet a Prince Charming. Santa decides to fulfill her wish, but as she is a kid he puts this under the long-term plans section. Around 20 years later he has returned to grant her wish. The problem is that she is currently with a CEO named Justin who doesn’t seem like a great guy so Santa decides to play matchmaker by setting the lead up with Dean. He’ll have to do some property damage and illegal summoning in order to make it work, but Santa will do anything to make his plans a success.

Now I know what you might be thinking. Santa is trying to get the lead to go for the rebound and ditch her current partner right? Well…you’d be right. We’re on morally shaky territory here right from the get go. Naturally the film wants you to pull for the rebound guy since the starter pick is pretty quick to change who he wants to be with and such but you still have to question the rebound guy’s decision to get with Melanie. He should see her as off limits either way and just run off. Whether the rebound person wants to be with you or not doesn’t matter at that point. It’s over before it has even begun.

So, naturally I am against the romance. I also have to admit that the romance in this film isn’t all that good. It’s surprisingly better than some other romances I’ve seen in recent films, but you still can’t get behind the rebound situation. You know from the start how the film is going to end so you’re already looking at Melanie and the others pretty suspiciously. I’ll give Dean credit for most of the film as he tries his best not to get himself into tricky situations. Still, by the end of the film he falls into line as expected. The world was against him and ultimately they broke the guy.

Melanie seemed like a reasonable heroine. She’s a bit of a downer during the start of the film, but fortunately she had a pretty nice co-worker who was ready to mind the store while she was away. Considering that this employee was managing the store during Christmas I hope Melanie payed her time and a half for those hours. As with Dean, Melanie is a good character aside from the whole romance angle. She does her best to help the needy and came through when it counted. She took a little while to realize that Justin wasn’t placing her as a priority, but some small things like hanging up on him early made her a pretty good heroine.

Then we’ve got Justin who is naturally not a good character. Case in point, his friend Dean helped him with just about everything for at least a year. They’ve apparently been pretty good friends throughout and yet when Dean wants to go home for Christmas Justin immediately threatens him with being fired. I don’t know how they stayed friends after this and honestly I think Dean was too much of a pushover. He was nice otherwise but this was the moment where he went a bit overboard. Then Justin fell for his ex during the days leading up to Christmas and overall showed that he could not resist the rebound. If your partner can be swayed away from you in the course of a few days then the person was never really serious. Honestly, there shouldn’t even be a time frame. If you can be swayed at any point you were never that serious about the relationship.

Then we’ve got Santa who is certainly very focused on helping out Melanie. It goes to the point where he is willing to total cars, summon bears, cause an avalanche, gave someone poison ivy, and more. Santa certainly wasn’t messing around in this version and it’s really something seeing him cause all this chaos. He may seem like a harmless old man, but the guy’s definitely got a lot of fire and ambition. I can appreciate the fact that he wants to help Melanie’s wish come true even if he’s sacrificing everyone else in the process. I do think his gimmick of constantly letting slip the fact that he is Santa can get old very quickly though. Cmon, the guy’s a hundred years old. You’d think that he could keep a secret better than that right?

Overall, Matchmaker Santa is a pretty fun film. It’s a romance comedy so of course there is going to be a lot of romance here, but it’s not as cringy as other titles I’ve seen. the romance isn’t even bad if not for the fact that it’s built around rebounds. I do like that the film went all in with Justin though as he is completely unapologetic about dumping Melanie without even letting her know first. Granted, she was about to do the same thing although in her case it would be a lot more justified. The film certainly has a neat and tidy ending. The writing is on point the film is definitely one of those feel good titles where you’ll have fun watching it. There’s a good amount of humor here without it feeling forced. Again, there are really no negatives with the film here. Even the rebounding, while regrettable, doesn’t actually end up hurting anyone here as they were all satisfied with their back up picks. In Justin’s case you could argue that Melanie was the rebound and he went back to the starter. If you want to see a fun Christmas film I’d recommend checking this one out. It furthers my theory that Rom-Coms are the best ways to handle a romance film as they will make the romance a lot more tolerable. This movie even avoided the second half slump that most of these had as it kept up the humor all the way to the end. My only regret is that we never got to see the actual board meeting though. That would have been fun.

Overall 7/10