There are two takeaways from this film. One is that “inside every city girl is a country girl aching to get out.” I don’t know that it works the other way around, at least not according to my knowledge of life based on Hallmark movies. The second, and perhaps more important, is that Buddy Lembeck is no longer the goofy best friend but a mature, and bankrupt, dad to a beautiful young woman. Check it out, Charles in Charge fans.
If you care for neither of these though, you hardly need to add Harvest Moon to your queue. It follows the plot of most Hallmark movies, which is to say it is predictable and unchallenging. You have your basic hot widowed father and blond city slicker. She crashes into the small town with her big city ways and finds herself at odds with the guy until both realize that opposites attract and they are kind of made for each other.
Harvest Moon spices up the story with the sale of a pumpkin patch owned by rich girl Jen (Jessy Schram) and managed by farmer Brett (Jesse Hutch). When she learns that her family’s broke thanks to her dad’s (Willie Aames) failed investments, she decides to check out her remaining asset. But first she has to figure out how those country folk live, like what constitutes appropriate footwear and when and where one should take selfies. The girl doesn’t even recognize the sound of a rooster though, so she’s got a lot to learn.
Jen figures she can sell the place for a higher price if she gives the pumpkin patch and farm a makeover. Brett, hoping for the chance to buy it himself and fearing what might happen to his family if they are forced to leave, tries to sabotage her project or at least make country life so unbearable that she gives up. It’s not a bad plan since Jen’s idea of an intense workout is limited to her yoga class. Brett, however, doesn’t count on falling for her over potted plants and stolen glances of her line dancing.
The city mouse country mouse dichotomy is unnecessarily strong, but stereotypes are what make Hallmark movies go round. Jen’s shallow, non-white best friend (Patricia Isaac) looks down at her friend’s fallen condition and wants to whisk her back to the city where you know you can’t trust anyone but where you can get a delicious fat-free latte. Jen’s not all designer heels and luggage though. She may be clueless but she’s not a bitch and earns the admiration of Brett’s daughter and the homely farm gals, especially when she gives the latter makeovers and treats them to facials and massages. The movie improves when Jen is shown to be more resourceful than her urban elite upbringing would suggest. If the country is characterized by hard work and community, Jen proves that she fits right in, and in fact, her transformation is the more appealing part of the story. The romance, tinged with dead wife melodrama, is just routine, never fiery.
Dir: Peter DeLuise
Writer: J.P. Martin, Ron Oliver
Cast: Jessy Schram, Jesse Hutch, Willie Aames, Lynda Boyd, Rowen Kahn, Patricia Isaac, Lilah Fitzgerald
Time: 83 min
Country: United States