It’s free preview time at Hallmark, which means the mother and I plan on being homebound for the next month as we soak in all the Hallmark goodness. Love Under the Rainbow is not a great way to kick things off though, and there’s more drama and better acting coming out of the Lori Loughlin scandal than from any scene in this movie. Weak in concept and execution, the film never leaves you wanting more. You’d be better off watching cat videos for an hour since those at least have some sense of direction and purpose.
The movie is satisfied with the bare minimum, doing just enough to make it a recognizable Hallmark production but not enough to make it worth watching. The filmmakers are given a formula, the standard “single dad meets daughter’s single teacher,” but then don’t add anything to give the story life. Lucy (Jodie Sweetin) and Jack (David Haydn-Jones) are about as spirited as a pan of water, total blanks, not in a Robert Rauschenberg kind of way but in a they-could-disappear-from-the-movie-and-no-one-would-care kind of way. Haydn-Jones phones in his part as newly relocated and still grieving architect dad. He doesn’t give Jack any personality worth pursuing, and I for one would much rather invite cutie barista Ben (Brendon Zub) over for spaghetti.
Sweetin doesn’t improve things. Her best acting is from her Full House days, but unlike Haydn-Jones, she at least makes the better mistake of trying too hard. Still, lessons learned from 90s sitcoms don’t die easily, and she turns every emotion an overly optimistic one. Despite having soured on love, Lucy has a Stephanie Tanner-like outlook on life. She may be a little lonely while her parents and sister celebrate their own happy relationships, but at the end of the day, she has the community theater cheeriness of someone who knows everything’s going to be just fine.
You get those types on Hallmark movies but they are usually accompanied by some narrative vision. It’s not clear there’s any end goal here besides getting the couple together. There’s potential for more comedy, especially with Ben as the third wheel, but he figures in just a handful of scenes. Jack’s sweet, wide-eyed daughter, Sophie (Dakota Guppy), also serves as an underused prop. She brings her dad and Lucy together – at school, in the park, at Hobby Lobby – but her obsession with rainbows is treated as a cute quirk until someone finally decides to maybe explore it a bit.
I honestly thought this was going to be some St. Patrick’s Day film, perhaps a story about a woman falling in love with a leprechaun or something. I mean, I’d watch that. This movie’s just sad, a waste of a title and my awesome pitch. Hallmark already has a catalogue of films about two boring people milling around, waiting for love to happen. You don’t have to watch this one, ever.
Dir: Tony Dean Smith
Writer: Kirsten Hansen
Cast: Jodie Sweetin, David Hadyn-Jones, Dakota Guppy, Donna Christie, Garry Chalk, Rebecca Davis, Brendon Zub, Peter Benson
Time: 83 min
Country: United States
Network: Hallmark Channel