This was the opening movie for the 2019 Countdown to Christmas and aired on Saturday, Oct. 25. Starring Hallmark staple Jill Wagner and newcomer Matthew Davis (Werner from Legally Blonde) in his Hallmark debut, the movie told the romance between single-mom Abbey and Christmas-hating billionaire (yes, billionaire) Nick.
Below are the scores I gave to the movie while watching the premier. My scores are based on initial impressions.
Meet cute: 6 (I’m over the ‘Guy plows over girl on street’ meet cute)
Plot: 7 (Nothing special to see here.)
Heroine: 10 (As always, Jill Wagner carried the show. She is truly a Hallmark treasure.)
Hero: 8 (Matthew Davis grew on me during the movie. He made a Christmas-hating billionaire a likeable guy).
Complications: 7 (This one probably should have been lower. A couple of the WTFs below are related to plot twists. Everything was forced.)
Setting: 6 (They never made it clear in the show where this movie was set, but the wet streets and fake snowfall didn’t scream Christmas.)
Feels: 7 (Kind of meh.)
Chemistry: 8 (I revised this score upward by one from my original score. Jill and Michael never sizzled. They were kind of lukewarm throughout, even in the scenes where I was supposed to feel tension, all I felt was awkwardness.)
Directing: 7 (I downgraded this score by one. A few scenes kind of stood out as overdone, including the interview scene and the scene where Abbey and Nick were auditioning bands. Could have been a little more subtle in those scenes. Solid, but not spectacular.)
First kiss: 8 (This was good, but where was the mistletoe? Point deducted.)
WTF Adjustments: -3
No way Abbey gets the job after her interview. She was unprepared, inexperienced and whined like a three-year-old who had her favorite toy taken away when Kate told her she would not get the job.
Why did the stupid British butler character think Kate was going to propose to Nick? That has to be one of the worst red herrings in the history of Hallmark movies. There had been not even the slightest hint that she was romantically interested in Nick, and the knuckleheaded butler says, ‘Oh, she’s going to ask him to marry her.’ Lazy writing.
Abbey asking the doctor out is one of the all-time jerk moves. She had no interest in him and simply used his interest in her to distract her from Nick. Ugh. Make me like the heroine, Hallmark.
Final score: 71. Not a great beginning for the tenth anniversary of Countdown to Christmas. The movie relied too much on Jill Wagner’s talent to carry it through a murky plot and unimaginative complications.