A few years ago, Brooke Shields starred in one of Hallmark’s better mystery series, The Flower Shop Mysteries. There wasn’t much in terms of flowers but the mysteries were popping. Now Lifetime is dipping into the flower shop scene with A Christmas Arrangement, and you couldn’t come up with a greater misuse of the setting. This is a movie that’s bored with itself, always opting for the dullest possibility when it comes to story, acting, and design.
Plot-wise, the film hews close to the Lifetime/Hallmark blueprint. Poppy (Nicky Whelan) owns her grandmother’s flower shop, but competition and changing times threaten to close the place down. Her one hope is to win the annual Christmas floral arrangement contest, which comes with a $5000 prize and industry accolades. However, powerhouse flower artists Covington Designs has won the top honors for the last twelve years, and this one looks to be no different.
Covington is undergoing growing pains too though. Garrett (Miles Fisher) has been playing second fiddle to owner Blair Covington (Daphne Zuniga) for a long time. Though she’s the asshole boss who promises a promotion without ever delivering, he’s remained loyal to her, until now. After more than a decade, he’s determined to make partner or leave, and the flower contest is his chance to prove himself.
For a movie that is in part about flowers, there’s precious little of them to show off. We get occasional glimpses of Poppy’s shop, but most of the time it’s a wide shot with some vague greenery and a poinsettia or two in the background. Covington’s offices are pathetic too, resembling a financial advisor’s hangout far more than the workshop of people fluent in flower.
The characters are most devoid of personality though. I like Blair only because Zuniga’s comic overacting gives you something to chew on. Neither Poppy nor Garrett match her intensity whether they are apart or together. Poppy is way too bland, her insecurity pulling her away from the story. It it weren’t for Whelan’s tanner doing overtime, she would literally fade into the background. Fisher also does the film few favors. I haven’t seen him before, but this Garrett guy looks like he can’t wait to change into a comfy polo and some boat shoes and get on his damn yacht already. Is he really a someone who would wait a decade for his promotion? I’m not buying it, but then again, I’m not buying most of this movie. Let this be a lesson that not every dumb idea that comes out of the Lifetime pipeline has to make it to our teevees.
Dir: Jake Helgren
Writer: Alison Spuck McNeeley, Casie Tabanou
Cast: Nicky Whelan, Miles Fisher, Daphne Zuniga, Julie McNiven
Time: 90 min
Country: United States