A Bride for Christmas is a Hallmark movie that’s run its course. I know it stars channel favorite Andrew Walker, but my eyes are rolling all over the place with the way it treats main character Jessie (Arielle Kebbel). The last thing our packed Christmas lineup needs is a movie about men betting over women, especially ones who are portrayed as desperate or crazy, or both.
This one relies on a familiar plot about a confirmed bachelor who’s goaded into a challenge with his poker-playing buddies after he flaunts his carefree lifestyle. Aiden’s (Walker) friends and coworkers, convinced that he can’t get a girl to commit since he’s the type of guy women date before getting married, offer to let him have the corner office if he can persuade a woman to accept his marriage proposal. Aiden confidently takes on this bet, not expecting that he might – surprise – fall for his mark.
The object of his fake affection is Jessie, and you couldn’t pick a more vulnerable target for him. She’s left three men at the altar, and the latest, Mike (Sage Brocklebank), is confident they’ll get back together. Jessie feels directionless about her personal life, guilty about her actions but also not convinced that she won’t do the same thing again. She gives her heart away too easily, and that’s why her sister, Vivian (Kimberley Sustad), with whom she runs an interior design business, has to literally tell her when to say yes and no. This leads to a mix-up on one occasion and ends with Jessie redoing Aiden’s flat.
All of Aiden’s deception masquerading as parts of the game of love makes him a jerk at best. He doesn’t need to redecorate his place but no amount of money is too much when his ego’s at stake. He also goes low by bringing dogs into the picture, manipulating Jessie’s love for them by showing up at the shelter where she volunteers. The bogus courtship is meant to be charming, a cute, unconventional path to true love, but it’s not very romantic when a relationship springs from misogyny and lies.
Dir: Gary Yates
Writer: Barbara Kymlicka
Cast: Arielle Kebbel, Andrew Walker, Kimberley Sustad, Sage Brocklebank, Karen Kruper, Eric Kennleyside, Peter Benson, Chris Cochrane
Time: 83 min
Country: United States
Network: Hallmark Channel