Competent Meets Dull
2022-12-16, 7:20 a.m.
"You are my favorite mini-series." -Jennifer Crusie.
I spent Thursday night making Christmas cards. This did not go super well, but whatever. I don’t have access to taking fancy cardmaking classes like I used to (which is to say I went with Dawn and Loretta and they do not feel safe going to the current card setup indoors), so here I am making lame ones!
I printed this at work, and a “Scrooge you” pic from someecards, and then the printed list of silly parts I’ve played in shows in lieu of a Christmas letter, then rubber cemented those onto the card, and then stuck random stickers on them out of no better ideas of what to do. I included some sticker sets for the people who’d be into sticker sets.
However, the cardmaking stuff I bought at Office Max turned out to be...larger... cards than I expected. I was a little confused as to why I had to cut them in half because I thought I’d bought a small card kit, and then I got to the envelopes and they were quite large and I was all OOPS. (This is why I started including stickers.) I wish I’d bought the super cheap card set I saw last weekend, but was all, “I already bought one.” Grr, argh.
Oh well, I did....something. I’ve also finished through day 6 of the advent project a day...I note it’s day 15, sigh.
I probably won’t have time to write an actual entry before 9 p.m. Holidailies time today--singing lesson after work, followed by another show--so I’m posting this in the morning before going into work, and then posting the remaining Hallmark reviews I’ve got on tap for a slow day.
So Erika works for a very strange bossy boss who despite being anti-Christmas, wants her to go to some inn in Garland, Alaska* nd buy it for her or something...? "You don't have any Christmas plans, do you?" "I was going to go visit my parents...." I note that the town has an observatory where you can watch Santa's path, and Our Heroine is also into stargazing.
* Note: Garland, Alaska, is the location of the INFAMOUS Hallmark movie, "Christmas Under Wraps," (the biggest Hallmark hit ever:) in which Candace Cameron Bure moves to a place that's secretly Santa's village but the show never quite admits it.
For Erika, this is the hometown of her ex, Andy Holliday. They broke up when he moved back home, and since the last movie he's sold his plane (unsure how people can drive to Garland now?) and bought an inn. "That's Garland for you!" he trots out on cue, as per the previous movie. Also, Dad still stuffing his face with cookies and "that doctor he was dating" has moved back to SF, according to Google. Erika is not pleased to find out Andy owns the joint.
(I laugh my head off so much that (a) they made a sequel to one of Candace Cameron Bure's top movies, WITHOUT HER now that she's bailed for more bigoted pastures, and (b) replaced her with her TV sister. Seriously why I wanted to watch this at all.)
Santa Dad is still harping on Andy taking over the family business since his inn doesn't get guests. (Apparently Santa Dad is... elsewhere because somehow all he can do is video calls from the office. Covid protocols?) Erika still wonders whatever the hell Holliday Shipping ships. "Oh, whatever the elves make," her driver says. I don't think Erika has heard enough about Garland to know what's going on there.. It's pointed out to her that she needs more practical clothes and once again, a girl is all "I don't need to worry about this," in her case, because "I won't stay long."
Andy has some kind of Santa Shark sweater (I note this show has some pretty good ridiculous sweaters/knits). She apparently knew him from his previous city career, so...no clue on the village, I guess. "Now I'm staying at his inn while I'm trying to sell it from underneath him." Awkward, this is! "I'm supposed to build my career off of my ex-boyfriend's professional failing?!"
Hattie's is "new and improved." No espresso still, but they finally have nonfat milk!!! As for the menu, "You can skim it! He helped me with the code thingie!" (Note: there is no QR code on the menu.) THAT'S GARLAND FOR YA! "That's Garland--" "Don't say it," Erica says, as the seventh TGFY is about to be dropped at her. I should have watched this as a drinking game for that phrase, except I'm already drinking so who cares. Once again, we bring up the "you gotta go shop at the general store" (last movie they hated Lauren's pashmina, now they hate Erica's boots) and tell her about the sweatpants jeans. "That sounds...horrible." I just want to know how this girl isn't clamoring for warm pants when she has on like ONE layer of coat. Boots are forced upon her, of course.
"Andy, you were a wonderful boyfriend. But it always felt like you were hiding something." GEE, I WONDER WHAT. This movie hasn't been quite as fun/ny about the whole "town has a secret" thing as the last one (which is to say, I guess it s hard to come up with an equivalent to "I'm a doctor, why did you bring me a reindeer named Rudolph to treat?" moment for a real estate girl), but I suppose that would be hard to keep doing/replicate.
Um...how dumb is this movie that in Garland, A CHRISTMAS TOWN SO CHRISTMASSY THAT SANTA LIVES THERE, in an inn RUN BY SANTA'S DAMN SON, does Ms. Real Estate have to be the one who tells Andy that he NEEDS TO DECORATE FOR CHRISTMAS?!?!? Especially since I'm pretty sure there's been decorations in the joint all along....???? I realize they need to use Erica's skills (whatever that is in real estate), but COME ON, in THIS TOWN that just seems redundant.
GARLAND GOT A CAPPUCHINO OMG OMG OMG. (P.S. I don't drink coffee, I have no idea if this word is spelled right, not even sure I care on coffee crap except it was a running joke in the last one.) In other news, we rehash Andy's job issues and Dad agrees to not make Andy take over and have Cousin Joy do it instead. I feel like we did that last movie?
I will note that there's some "Gift of the Magi" angst about this whole business deal thing, Erika decides to go stay at Andy's mom's house (who stays with their ex's mom?!) and off camera, Mom Tells Her Some Things About The Family. "Some of it I knew, some of it, uh....wow." "It's a lot." "But Santa Claus? Your mom has a very active imagination." So wait, Erika got told and...didn't buy it?!?! We're ignoring that?! This movie kinda sucks!
She quits her job and is moving to Garland, apparently. And then Santa rolls by..."That's Garland for ya!"
Honestly, this one was quite meh. Doesn't quite have the wackadoo-ness of the first one, presumably most viewers know the secret already, it doesn't do much with that, real estate kinda gives them less to work with, somehow Santa Dad is quarantined at work the entire movie, Erika literally doesn't believe it when openly told, and...I hate to rag on the actors, but neither of them is particularly sparkly/Hallmark charismatic and both are just kinda...there and okay and not looking super excited about each other necessarily? As a couple, they are mutual eh. About two-ish stars, I'm sorry to say. Disappointed.
This is just CRINGE. David the boring architect is new to England and has a run-in on the bus with Anji (hey, Indian lady in a movie!) the "gift whisperer" on a bus. He disses her profession and says he's going to get his girlfriend a gift card. Literally every woman on the bus glares at him. Then when his coworker is all "I got my husband a gift card our first year together and he didn't talk to me until Valentine's Day," David rethinks this and books Anji's services.
I note that David is dating the boss's daughter, Charlotte, for three months now. Charlotte perpetually wears all white, has a bob, and is as boring as David is. At first we all think it's David's fault for being a clueless idiot who seriously hasn't paid attention to anything his girlfriend lies for the last 3 months (he can't even get her birthday right.. like he's months off) and doesn't want to buy her jewelry because that's too personal. (This leads so a ridiculous accidental shoplifting scene and them having to run away to the tune of "Christmas Wrapping." Hey, if a store suspects you shoplifted, wouldn't that interfere with your personal shopping career?)
Then they run into Charlotte in a s tore and while not revealing her job, Anji asks Charlotte what she'd like for Christmas/what would be her perfect gift, and she's all "I have NO idea, David and I are of the same mind, we don't want to make a fuss." Anji tries to get some favorite Christmas memories out of her (it's awkward, but the woman's gotta try and these people ARE GIVING HER NOTHING) and instead her mother burbles on about going to the market.
I don't like David. I think he's boring and an idiot, and his girlfriend is boring, and this "I'm shopping for your girlfriend" plot idea is rather creepy (I mean, I've seen the "personal shopper" Hallmark movie before, but the last one felt less noxious), and I don't want this boring dude who doesn't give a shit about anything but work to find true love with anyone. Anji's all right, but deserves better than this wanker. David can't even be arsed to figure out how to target a business contact and she has to do it all for him.
Anyway, Charlotte sees David with Anji, stomps off in a rage fit, and then gets over it when he doesn't call her back fast enough and realizes she really doesn't care about him. ("Confounded by mutual meh," as Jess would say.) Charlotte declares, "I don't want to compete with a 50-story building." THEN SHE GIVES HIM A GIFT CARD. Really, she was deserving of a gift card all along!
Anyway...overall I was just not into this, because David is not so great. He slightly improves by the end, but not enough that I care about it. Two stars, which I blame entirely on the writing because Will Kemp himself doesn't suck as an actor (he's fun in dancing, which he does a wee bit of here, and he's English so I don't know why they had to force an American accent), and he deserved better than this movie, which felt like was supposed to be an Uptight Meets Wild but really came out Competent Meets Dull.