I know I give the Hallmark Channel a hard time for their numbing production line of holiday romances, but next to Ion’s A Christmas Kiss, theirs is a regular slate of Emmy nominees. Both play up sentimentality and improbable relationships, but this one wins the award for most fanfiction worthy. About a wallflower who shares a brief but magical kiss in the elevator with her employer’s boyfriend, I have a hard time believing this wasn’t written by a high school sophomore who just came home from the Winter Ball, not that I discourage such pursuits. But with nothing except clichéd dialogue garlanding the script, the story looks hackneyed and bare.
The cardboard characters don’t give the movie much of a boost. They aren’t compelling but they are great for projecting whomever and whatever you want. Wendy Walton (Laura Breckenridge) is a pretty plain protagonist. A designer whose first love is the theatre, she decides she has a better shot at success if she gives up a career in the arts to work for Priscilla Hall (Elisabeth Röhm), Boston’s fiercest interior designer. She’s little more than a glorified PA though in this The Devil Wears Prada dynamic and lacks the confidence to get through life in the real world. Whenever she feels wronged or frustrated, which is often, she retreats to her inner circle.
These are the friends, including black best friend played by Jerrika Hinton, who glam her up as a sugar plum fairy on the fateful night she runs into Adam (Brendan Fehr) in the elevator. Despite the fact that it’s seriously malfunctioning, they share a passionate kiss just like any couple about to plunge to their death. Over the next few weeks, the poor girl cannot let it go though, even after she discovers that Priscilla and Adam are about to be engaged, and she and her friends drone on about “the spark” like it’s “the sponge.” There’s more drama than Romeo and Juliet.
Speaking of, it also seems like the writer wants to prove her credentials by cramming in notes from her Lit 101 class. Experience, however, tells me that no one flirts by quoting the most famous lines from A Midsummer Night’s Dream or the Gospel of John. Wendy and Adam don’t mind bonding over cheese literary references though, and then there’s a whole bit about The Christmas Carol themed Christmas trees. This English major is not impressed. I did appreciate Rohm’s icy overacting though. That her character was having such a bad time with her scheming made me think she might also sympathize with us unfortunate viewers. My favorite bit of acting, however, belongs to “disinterested black caroler” who appears for a few seconds but who looks like he’s already had enough of these movies.
Dir: John Stimpson
Writer: Joany Kane
Cast: Lauren Breckenridge, Elisabeth Röhm, Brendan Fehr, Jerrika Hinton, Laura Spencer
Time: 96 min
Country: United States