The Birthday Wish (2017)

Gwen (Jessy Schram) hates surprises. She has a plan for her professional and personal life and wants to stick to it, which is why she’s more than a little frustrated when her self-absorbed boyfriend, Alex (Marcus Rosner), doesn’t propose to her by her thirtieth birthday. Instead, he gives her a smartphone ring and leaves her at home to attend his own work do. Left to wonder if the life she had imagined for herself will ever come to be, she wishes that she could see ten years into the future. The next morning, she gets a glimpse of that life, and it’s nothing like she expected.

Instead of being happily married to Alex, Gwen has a vision of herself with her coworker, Dave (Luke Macfarlane), and their three kids and minivan. She’s horrified at the thought of partnering with the karaoke-loving creative director of the commercials she directs and even more so when those kids and minivan start to appear in her actual life. But as reality moves closer to fantasy, she begins to rethink her plans and warm to the idea that perhaps some flexibility in life might be a good thing.

I usually have no patience for people like Gwen. I don’t know how you can get to thirty and not experience some disappointment in life or expect that none will be coming your way. In spite her stubborn nature though, she’s easy to like and her faults are part of her charm. Schram allows her character to be vulnerable, and we see Gwen wrestle with the life she’s so carefully planned for herself and one she’s only begun to imagine. You have to admire her for going after what she wants and then, like all of us, struggle to accept it when she doesn’t. Plus, she’s funny, and she and Dave are perfectly adorable together.

The playful story is down to both the actors and the script. There’s a lot of oddball humor, and this is a fun film to watch because it doesn’t take itself too seriously. Things tumble from one episode to another; one minute it’s a giant, head-sized cookie and another it’s Alex’s obnoxious weatherman poses. Rosner in particular turns his casting on its head. Instead of playing his usual jerk boyfriend part, he puts a twist on the role and plays a guy who is still a jerk but only because he loves himself more than his girlfriend. Macfarlane isn’t as comical, but Dave is also not as oblivious. I still love Macfarlane though because, well, who doesn’t?

Released: 2017
Dir: Peter DeLuise
Writer: Julie Sherman Wolfe
Cast: Jessy Schram, Luke Macfarlane, Marcus Rosner, Yvonne Chapman, Barbara Pollard, David Lewis, Cardi Wong, Drew Tanner, Manoj Sood
Time: 84 min
Lang: English
Country: United States
Network: Hallmark Channel
Reviewed: 2019