Hallmark movies come from many different sources. Some are inspired by books or real life, some come out of the Hallmark writers’ room, and some, I imagine, are drawn from a hat at a drunken office party. This one comes by way of singer Blake Shelton and his mother, whose similarly titled song led to a novel about some of their memories and forms the basis for the story.
Time for Me to Come Home for Christmas is not about the country artist, but it is about a country artist. Heath Sawyer (Josh Henderson), sometimes called Lee, is a big deal, so much so that he tours in Shanghai, and I’ve never seen any country star touring in China. Unfortunately, he hasn’t released new material in awhile and generally feels like he’s hit a wall in life. A lot of that has to do with his father’s recent death, which makes going home for the holidays difficult. A phone call from his mom and sister, however, convinces him to brave a blizzard and fly back to Oklahoma from New York.
Cara Hill (Megan Park) also happens to be heading in the same direction. Having failed to secure a loan for her family’s natural preserves business, at least one that doesn’t require her to lay off half her employees, she’s wary of spoiling the holidays by returning with bad news. In addition, it’s the first Christmas since her mother’s death, and that means she and her father will be alone, albeit in a huge, elegant house.
The blizzard puts a crimp into both Heath and Cara’s plans, and their flight gets cancelled and rerouted until they have no choice but to find their own way back to Tulsa. If this movie was anything close to real life, there would be a lot of screaming, cursing, and crying, but Hallmark delivers fantasy, and the two instead find friendship and possibly love. They get many chances to admire each others’ personality and talents through conversation and a few eventful pit stops. Cara, who doesn’t recognize the musician at first, finds a down-to-earth singer in Heath, and he sees in her a willful and creative head of a company.
It’s too bad that the friendly mood gets interrupted by a lazy climax. Cara’s proposal to boost the company’s profits with a new line of signature candy bars causes a minor chain of overreactions. There seem to be a lot of these one-minute climax/denouement scenarios lately, though it might just be my lowered tolerance for bad storytelling. The ending is somewhat salvaged by Henderson’s performance of the title song, and the movie would not hurt from more singing overall.
That would certainly distinguish the movie from similar ones, but at least this has Parks. She’s becoming one of my favorite actresses on Hallmark, and I will trade five Candace Cameron Bures for one Park, if that’s how things work. Her characters tend to be soft-spoken but steely, and she doesn’t give off a sense of overperforming. Likewise, Henderson has an Oklahoma kid look about him, showing off his character’s small town sensibility more than his music star aura. Park, however, always draws the attention back to her, which is just enough for me to appreciate this movie.
Dir: David Winning
Writer: Shem Bitterman, Marcy Holland
Cast: Megan Park, Josh Henderson, Paul McGillion, Susan Hogan, Eric Keenleyside, Enid-Raye Adams, Bernadette Beck, Ellen Kennedy, Tom McBeath
Time: 83 min
Country: United States
Network: Hallmark Movies and Mysteries