Chaos Attraction

Hallmark Movie Review: Northern Exposure Edition

2014-12-20, 11:50 p.m.

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I've had a long, busy day and 10 minutes to get this entry in, so here's the last of my prewritten Hallmark Movie Reviews.

Christmas Under Wraps:

This is Hallmark Channel's Northern Exposure. Candace Cameron Bure (Dr. Lauren Burell) is a doctor in SF who has been told (by her dad, who Has Connections, which she mentions a lot) she's a "shoo-in" for some fellowship in Boston, and she's only applied for one at all. She's also confident that her current boyfriend will not only move to Boston, but he wants to marry her. She utters the dreaded words, "Everything is falling into place." So naturally he bails and dumps her, and the "shoo-in" is no longer a shoo-in when some guy who did Doctors Without Borders nudges her out of the Boston fellowship. Her dad plots to pull more strings to get her in, but in the meantime she might actually have to *gasp* get a real job...no, no, wait, ONE fellowship has just opened up! In Garland, Alaska! And that's pretty out of the box to run your own clinic in Alaska, eh?

Lauren can't sit around doing nothing, so she moves to an oddly warm looking Alaska, which has some giant snowdrifts here and there but otherwise looks pretty much like California. But she didn't bother to buy warm clothes before leaving. Despite people pointing out to her that warm clothes are sold in town, she's all, "Nah, I can just buy them online!" Regardless of shipping cost to Alaska, I guess? Anyway, this bit of Idiot Ball plot is to eventually point out that Lauren's order is flat out canceled because the company "can't find Garland, Alaska." The main industry in town is Holliday Shipping, and Lauren reasonably is all, "If they can ship OUT, how come nobody can ship IN?" More on this later, but she ends up getting local clothes.* And everyone she mentions this to is all cutely shrugging and going, "That's Garland For Ya!"

* I haven't seen the movie Let It Snow in full yet--maybe later--but it appears to have a similar plot and the same actress, or at least I saw a scene in which warm clothes are being picked out for her by a dude. They aired it right after the premiere of CUW, too.

Anyway, Garland is the sort of town where when you walk into the coffee shop and order your half-caf-decaf-skim-milk-hippie latte (or whatever the hell the drink was, I hate the stuff and don't ask me about coffee drinks), they have no idea how to make it, BUT.... the next day, the store owner will have ordered a stash of hippie milk for you so you can have your special drink! The town is pretty nice, actually, albeit smaller than Lauren expected. As in, the hospital is run out of a cute Victorian and she has four nurses as her entire staff and they haven't had a doctor in a year. "They just haven't worked out." But Lauren gets to work and plows through 'em all, even dealing with the weird guy who says he hurt himself with a hammer. It looks like a jewelry hammer to me, but he says he was making a toy. Hmmm. She starts dating Andy, the architect-turned-handyman-and-town-pilot who moved back home after a Seattle stint. Andy says his dad is nagging him to join the family business, which is Holliday Shipping. The owner, Frank, looks suspiciously like Santa Claus (well, who doesn't), and says he's in charge of the Christmas Eve Festival, which is A Big Deal Around Here. And when I say Big Deal Around Here, I mean that at one point Lauren is called in to deal with the sprained ankle of Rudy the Reindeer. "Will he be okay in time for Christmas Eve?" Lauren is all, "I'm not a vet, you guys...oh hell, fine, I'll wrap his ankle up and look this up on the Internet" about it, which makes her, no joke, Town Hero Around Here.

Andy and his mom are nagging Frank to get a checkup, and eventually Lauren does a housecall at Holliday Shipping to force the issue. The first time she attempts it, he foists her off, but the second time she returns (and the place is really boring inside, incidentally), she overhears Andy arguing with his dad that he wants to tell her The Big Town Secret, and dad says no as long as Lauren is supposedly possibly leaving for Boston if she ever gets that internship. Lauren does not comment on the things going on around her much, but she's not an idiot. She doesn't comment on this, but does check Frank and diagnoses "stress" and that he should relax and lay off the cookies. Shocker.

Right after this, somehow the Doctor Without Borders has now mysteriously dropped out of Boston. While Lauren's heart clearly isn't into leaving any more, she feels obligated to stick with the one part of the original life plan that might be working out any more, so she packs up to go. Of course, she has to be flown back out by Andy, but before they leave, they get a phone call: something's happened to Frank and they need to go back. Lauren diagnoses more stress (basically), but Frank's going to be fine. But he needs to be out on December 24! For the uh, Christmas festival! Lauren is all, "I can only think of one other guy who works on Christmas Eve.... yeah, okay, you can go." Suffice it to say she bails on the fellowship and goes out to watch Santa launch the sleigh.

See, this is my favorite part of the movie. There is NO "whaaaat? But Santa's not real!" moment like you'd expect. Lauren is all literally, "That's Garland For Ya." Sure, I live in Santa's village and am dating Santa's son, no big whoop, I'm kewl with that. That's weird and adorable.


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