Bridal Wave (2015)

Arielle Kebbel and Andrew Walker make a charming pair. They look like (groan) #couplesgoals, two pretty people who are at their sharpest, most magnetic selves when they are together, which is why it’s disappointing that they can’t get a script to match. After starring in an unimpressive A Bride for Christmas, they partner up a second time in a story that just isn’t interested in being told. To be sure, things happen, but neither the characters nor the story find the spark that Kebbel and Walker try to bring to the film.

There’s a plot, a plan to get the characters from A to B, but that’s really all the filmmakers are concerned about. Nurse Georgie (Kebbel) is engaged to her longtime colleague, a popular plastic surgeon whose signature “Hamilton nose” is all the rage. She and Phillip (David Haydn-Jones) plan to get married at a wedding resort, an all-inclusive beachside retreat that caters to couples on their big day. It’s the dream wedding her mom (Colleen Wheeler) has always wanted but not quite the one that her snobby future mother-in-law (Jaclyn Smith) has in mind. Not that any of that matters because the wedding might not even happen with Phillip constantly ducking out to check on his patients.

Enter beach bum/architect Luke (Walker), a guy we are supposed to like because he doesn’t obsess over work, wears flip flops, and is played by Andrew Walker, but that’s about the extent of his character development. While Luke has his own non-wedding worries – a quarrel with the resort owners – this gets mostly tossed aside for his relationship with lonely Georgie. With the groom often away, the bride is left with a lot of alone time, time which Luke happily fills up.

The couple are just as interesting apart as they are together though, and the film doesn’t care to flesh out these other details. I’m intrigued by Luke’s priorities, what finally made him leave his cozy post at an architecture firm to fully embrace island life and how he’s beating back resort creep. The latter point could be an actual B plot, rendering Luke a real person instead of vague nice guy, but is left as an afterthought. Likewise, Georgie and Phillip’s relationship is not a quite the romance we expect, something that comes as a surprise to everyone, especially the audience, at the end of the film.

Bridal Wave is a fine, lazy watch if you’ve seen everything else on the weekend’s Hallmark schedule. It coasts too much on the likability of its stars, though lucky for them, the stars are Walker and Kebbel. They make up for the fact that the conflict is pretty bare bones, limited to “my fiancé’s missing” and “I don’t like his mom,” but the two create enough tension to keep the story going.

Released: 2015
Dir: Michael Scott
Writer: Neal Dobrovsky, Tippi Dobrovsky
Cast: Arielle Kebbel, Andrew Walker, David Haydn-Jones, Colleen Wheeler, Anna Van Hooft, Jaclyn Smith, Darryl Shuttleworth
Time: 83 min
Lang: English
Country: United States
Network: Hallmark Channel
Reviewed: 2019