I’m making up for a lost Wonder Years childhood by watching Danica McKellar Hallmark movies, and after last year’s reasonably good outing in Crown for Christmas, I’m happy to see the actress return for another holiday bauble, My Christmas Dream. This is not to be confused with A Dream of Christmas, also a movie in 2016’s lineup. Let’s hope this is the year the algorithm for random movie titles gets retired.
Well, the story is about as exciting as its title. A manager for a large Midwest department store chain hopes to get a promotion to head the new Paris store but first has to impress the owner. McKellar plays Christina, who oversees McDougal’s flagship store somewhere in the upper Midwest. A longtime Francophile, she is desperate to win the approval of Victoria McDougal (Deidre Hall) so that she can fulfill her Parisian dream. It seems Christina doesn’t have much to worry about since she has impressive sales numbers and is well liked and respected by colleagues and customers.
There’s one small problem though, and after she speaks with Victoria, it turns out to be quite a big one. Every year, the store withholds its Christmas display until just before the holiday. In reality, that’s bad business, but in movie-land, the gimmick arouses interest and a surge in last-minute shopping. For whatever reason, it’s late November and not only does the store not have a design for this year’s display, the job also falls to the store manager instead of a marketing or promotion team. So, if Christina doesn’t come up with the Best Display Ever, she can forget about Paris.
There’s one person who can help her, but unfortunately, she fired him just a few days ago. Kurt (David Haydn-Jones), a painter when he has to pay the bills and an artist when he’s at home, has the skills she needs to design and construct the display but is reluctant to return to the job. That’s why it’s so handy to have a precocious six year old because he can make the decision a bit easier. Kurt’s son, Cooper (Christian Convery), takes an immediate liking to Christina and quickly establishes that she is single, lonely, and perfect for his equally single, lonely dad. Over the course of a few short weeks, she has to decide if her heart’s in Paris or in the wintery Midwest.
The main leads are pleasant to watch and keep the film just to this side of sappy. Hall shows flashes of Marlena Black but generally sticks to her role as distinguished older guest star. McKellar and Haydn-Jones are compatible, and together with Convery, the three make a great team. Christina’s best friend and assistant, Asian Holly (Christine Lee, and she’s not called that in the show), was a kind of painful to watch, like sitting through a bad student film. Still, she had a major speaking part, and the doorman and gift wrapper were both played by Asian American actors, so this goes up a couple notches on the 2016 TV movie list.
Dir: James Head
Writer: Ron Oliver, Don Perez
Cast: Danica McKellar, David Haydn-Jones, Deidre Hall, Christian Convery, Bruce Dawson, Christine Lee
Time: 83 min
Country: United States