A spot of winter cleaning this morning yielded some dollar store cat figurines, an inflatable picture frame, and a tube of skinny straws you use for making origami stars. All useless clutter taking up space for no reason at all…kind of like this Hallmark movie. A Blue Ridge Mountain Christmas may not be a bad film but it is a pointless one, and not even Rachel Leigh Cook breathes life into the lifeless story. The actor has a talent for wrenching moments of wry humor from a script and does that here, but it’s still as mundane and cheerless as ever.
At the center of things is a wedding and a barn. Willow (Cook) is home to help her sister, Juni (Christie Burke), prepare for her marriage to Austin (Jesse Moss). A snowstorm forces them to look for a new venue, and Willow suggests the Eagle Ridge Inn, the hotel her parents built and her childhood home. It’s the ideal location but worst best man in the world, David (Benjamin Ayres), now owns the place and has nixed all weddings just because we must be some dramatic tension. On top of that, he’s thinking of selling the inn; he’s about to make partner at his law firm and finally realizes that two full-time jobs plus being a single father is a bit much. Willow proposes decorating the barn on her family’s substantial dime. He continues to resist, until he doesn’t.
There really isn’t anything more to say about this movie. Everything is pretty low stakes without great feelings of romance or celebration. Juni and Austin were going to get married one way or another, even if they didn’t get the ten Christmas trees they wanted. Willow was always going to come through for her sister; she’s persistent and, more importantly, has an unlimited budget. The only part of the story up in the air was whether or not David would go through with the sale, but again, that was inconsequential. His family, including his parents and daughter, were already resigned to the idea of leaving Eagle Ridge. Leaving would be a bummer, but staying would mean life as usual. Nor were there many sparks between the main couple. Willow politely wearing David down with her Christmas wedding vision doesn’t make for riveting TV. I think the only thing of interest was handyman Garrett (Billy Wickman), who kept popping onto the screen in weird close-ups. Why, Hallmark?
Dir: David Winning
Writer: Rick Garman
Cast: Rachel Leigh Cook, Benjamin Ayres, Christie Burke, Chilton Crane, Jesse Moss, Lina Renna, Linden Banks, Billy Wickman, Jill Teed, Kwesi Ameyaw
Time: 83 min
Country: United States
Network: Hallmark Movies and Mysteries