June in January (2014)

Everything I learned about how not to be a bride I learned from Hallmark movies, and June in January is a perfect example of what to avoid. June (Brooke D’Orsay) has been planning her dream wedding since she was seven. SE-VEN. Armed with a scrapbook of clippings and samples, she can’t wait for the big day, but when it finally comes, she finds that getting her dream wedding may not be so easy, especially when her future mother-in-law is rich designer Marilu Henner.

The movie is a delight if you only consider D’Orsay. She is radiant and sweet and makes June, a nurse practitioner, lovely in a hundred different ways. D’Orsay’s character has good taste in friends and boyfriends, and I absolutely approve of her BFF, Tessa (Christie Laing). Then again, I approve of any character played by Laing because I think she’s a cool, down-to-earth chick who has more to offer than the supportive friend role. June’s fiancé, Alex (Wes Brown), is also on the level. Sure, he may look like Ted Cruz’s hot younger brother, but he’ll stand up for his woman and balks at his pushy mother’s mere suggestion of a prenup.

It’s this small detail of June’s perfectionism, however, that I find infuriating, and since this part of her personality dictates much of the movie, it kind of ruins things for me. First of all, who keeps a wedding scrapbook for twenty years? It may have been a project she shared with her late mother, but what kid invests that much energy in a wedding that is decades down the line? How many people have the same design aesthetic at thirty that they had as a teen? I hope that someone at least encouraged her to dream big about college and career and maybe scrapbook those goals.

More aggravating though is June’s insistence that her wedding be perfect, down to the ribbons on her tiny clay flowerpots. It makes me wonder if she’s ever had to make compromises or experienced setbacks in life. Surely she understands that she can’t always get what she wants, like a June wedding. That’s where the real trouble starts, and credit to her for conceding her summer date for January nuptials. At the start of the year, Alex gets a sudden offer to do environmental law at a top firm, a job he has to take because it’s his dream position, but it’s also in Cleveland and starts in February. The couple the have three weeks to pull off their wedding, and in the rush, other well-meaning voices, and some not so well-meaning, take over. Alex’s mom, Diana (Henner), has a lot more than two cents to offer about the venue and the food and the minister, and before long, June’s perfect wedding is becoming more like Diana’s.

I caught myself screaming for June to both relax and stand up for herself. She may not get the roses and ranunculuses she wants, but dammit, peonies are fine. Also, it’s hard to blame Diana for design creep when June doesn’t step up and retake control of her own planning. But let’s not forget Alex’s part in all this. I’ll never truly be on board with any character who makes bad decisions and is not self-aware enough to apologize for them. He has the original sin in all of this. Who accepts a job in another state and doesn’t think, maybe I should check in with my future wife about throwing a wrench in the wedding plans and uprooting our new married life? So that’s two lessons one can learn from Hallmark movies. When fools don’t communicate, you’re going to have problems.

Released: 2014
Dir: Mark Griffiths
Writer: Jeanne Abounader, J.B. White
Cast: Brooke D’Orsay, Wes Brown, Marilu Henner, Christie Laing, Barclay Hope, Gerard Plunkett, Chelsea Hobbs, Anne Marie DeLuise
Time: 83 min
Lang: English
Country: United States
Network: Hallmark Channel
Reviewed: 2019