Christmas Cookies (2016)


Christmas Cookies is a movie about a nationally famous cookie company based in a town called Cookie Jar that tries to fend off a buyout deal before Christmas. Well, it looks like we’ve reached the creative nadir over at the Hallmark Channel. Actually on second thought, I don’t think we have. I’m sure some crafty screenwriters are tapping out next year’s holiday lineup at this very moment. I expect A Glittery Christmas, about a glitter factory that is saved when it gets an order to produce ornaments all year round. Or Merry Eggnog, about two warring baristas who attempt to make the best eggnog ever and discover that the secret ingredient is love. Or A Holly, Jolly Christmas, about a woman named Holly who meets a guy named Jolly and – okay, I’ll stop even if Hallmark won’t.

I’ll admit this movie is not terrible, but I’ve been watching a few of these every night for the past week, as the network intended, and they are starting to infect my brain in a bad way. This is just the latest example of mediocre product meant for fast and mass consumption, to be discarded after a few uses. Think an article of Forever 21 clothing but with movies. Yes, there is a basic plot that makes sense and yes, the characters transform in meaningful ways, but it’s all so soulless. This story has been repeated so many times before in so many more interesting ways that I wonder why we even bother. This is the time for movies that soften the heart, at least that’s what we’re repeatedly told here, and yet so few of these television offerings have any.

I tried to find something enjoyable about Christmas Cookies. There is a scene where Hannah, a representative from National Foods, tours the factory of Aunt Sally’s Cookie Company. The brief shots of the production line excited the little kid in me, as did some glimpses of the giant cookies. There are a few sledding scenes that look pretty fun too and made me long for some snow and hills. Multiple people of color with more than one line appear, and in all honesty, Hallmark is improving on this front, albeit very slowly.

That’s about where my praises end though. Neither the plot nor the characters were enough to keep me interested. Every scene might as well have been lifted from another movie about a big, bad corporation gobbling up the little guy or the “authentic” small town warmth of family and friends compared to the cold, vapid cities populated by automatons. Hannah, who isn’t thrilled about the holidays, is forced to spend more time in Cookie Jar than expected when the owner of Sally’s, Jake (Wes Brown, actor and possibly Ted Cruz’s little brother), rejects and then tries to renegotiate the buyout deal. Cue a large family dinner, fun in the snow, a gingerbread house competition, a sledding competition, and human size candy canes. Cue also multiple people who are willing to give up city life and big dreams to stay home with the family. I’m not buying this paean to small town America, though I am a product of one and do value my time there. Likewise, I’m not buying Hannah and Jake’s relationship. The two are compatible but dull, frightfully so. I’d rather watch her bicker with Gavin, her boyfriend who holds an annual Christmas party that he gets very worked up over. I’d also rather be baking actual Christmas cookies.

Watch a preview here, from the Hallmark Channel website.

Released: 2016
Dir: James Head
Writer: Robert Tate Miller
Cast: Jill Wagner, Wes Brown, Amélie Eve, Tiera Skovbye, Jim Thorburn, Marci T. House
Time: 83 min
Lang: English
Country: United States
Network: Hallmark
Reviewed: 2016

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