Stop the Wedding (2016)

Fourth time’s a charm for movie star Sean Castleberry. He took everyone by surprise when he announced that he’s engaged to his girlfriend of one month, a woman who once tried to have him arrested. Castleberry will be marrying Belle Colton, his next door neighbor and a retired art teacher, later this week in a private ceremony. His rep says that the two are still deciding if they want to live in Seattle or settle in L.A.

And that’s how I imagine the entertainment news show would report the happenings in Stop the Wedding, a fun Hallmark offering with a twist on their usual love story. Instead of one straightforward romance, we’re treated to two whirlwind adventures. The first involves Sean (Alan Thicke), an actor on the wane, who falls in love with Belle (Lini Evans) after she calls the police over noise complaints. They announce their engagement to their families one month later, but the news shocks Sean’s son, Clay (Niall Matter), and Belle’s niece, Anna (Rachel Boston). The latter pair aren’t convinced it’s real love and, after the requisite misunderstanding, join forces to stop the wedding.

The movie isn’t as zany as it could be in feature film form. Clay and Belle only manage two attempts at sabotage before the engaged couple smarten up and flee to Vegas, leaving behind the meddlesome kids. The younger Castleberry and Colton try to take advantage of their elders’ opposing interests and personalities, but true love is true love, whether it takes one year or one month. After Clay and Belle realize this, they make a mad dash to stop the elopement in favor of a grander affair. The movie’s running on a television budget though, so we’re only treated to a fraction of the Vegas thrills. If you want scenic chases down the Strip or through the Bellagio lobby, you’ll have to look elsewhere.

Luckily, Boston and Matter make up for the missing spark. Their characters are like a clever doubles team, quick and supportive even if they aren’t skilled at breaking up marriages. Divorce lawyer Anna Colton is a copy of her spirited aunt while orthopedic surgeon Clay is the opposite of his dramatic father. Both characters are committed to their work and have no interest in dating at the moment, so naturally they fall for each other in a matter of days because shame on them for lecturing their parental figures on love. I like that Anna and Clay’s feelings for one another are not at the fore. Sure, we know they’re right for each other the moment he spills coffee all over her favorite shirt, but in focusing on their scheming, we also get to see how compatible they are in every day, and not so every day, situations. They’re simpatico when it comes to problem solving, determined to make their point but also willing to concede to a better idea. That they also have their own romantic storyline is a bonus.

Christina Perry’s “Arms”:

Released: 2016
Dir: Anne Wheeler
Writer: Nina Weinman
Cast: Rachel Boston, Niall Matter, Lini Evans, Alan Thicke, Teryl Rothery, David Lewis, Brenda Crichlow, Mayumi Yoshida
Time: 83 min
Lang: English
Country: United States
Network: Hallmark
Reviewed: 2018