Chaos Attraction

Hallmark Movie Reviews: Royals, Elves, and Trees Edition

2014-12-26, 10:18 p.m.

We were supposed to go to San Francisco today, but we didn't do shit. Mom was exhausted and slept in the middle of the day for hours, and I uploaded pictures and caught up on several episodes of Switched At Birth, and we never actually left the house. So instead you get....MOAR HALLMARK CHANNEL REVIEWING! Really long ones because I took notes, no less.

A Royal Christmas:

Lacey Chabert is Emily Taylor and she lives in Philly and is dating some vaguely European dude (Leo, who just got his MBA and is ah, "job hunting") and they're having pancakes and talking about their first Christmas together. She's a clothing designer. Her last name is Taylor and her dad has a tailoring business that's 47 years old. HAR, THEY ARE LITERAL. Anyway, he's planning to see her family for Christmas, but his family objects. So he's got to break the news to her: not only can he not stay here, um..... um.....well, he should have mentioned this sooner, but she liked him for him, and um.... he's a prince. Prince Leopold of Cordinia. He proves this by showing her a photo of himself in uniform on his phone. No, really. For the record, Cordinia is a small state in the south of France. He invites her home to see that Leo James and Prince Leopold James are the same person, no really. She just wants to make sure he's not married.

Jane Seymour is Queen Isadora. She is a snot and goes through footmen like Kleenex..

I"m having a moment of deja vu of watching Leo and whatshername greeting the servants. The folks on Downton Abbey would have a shit fit at this.

The queen is not amused at well, anything. Awkrwardness ensues because Leo hasn't done a darned thing to school Emily in a royal greeting, apparently. She brought a snow globe involving the Liberty Bell and Benjamin Franklin, which gets the queen all snotted up over who REALLY invented electricity. "Only you could find fault in Benjamin Franklin, Mother."
The royal doggie (not a corgi, for the record) runs into the room, and Emily immediately makes friends with it, which of course snots the queen off. Emily is sent to the Gold Room, farthest room away from Leo's, with the view of the cemetery. Mom bitches that Leo was supposed to come home and marry Natasha, what happened to the plan? Leo wasn't interested in the plan.

On her way out, Emily asks head butler Victor about the queen: "Do you think she will ever warm up to me?" "Miracles do happen."

Emily's served up some haggis at dinner. She asks what it is. "Don't ask," Leo says. She starts working on eating....a straight up tentacle. Mikey, she likes it! When asked about what she does, Emily says she designed a line of clothes, including hoodies. I wouldn't mention that to royalty. Afterwards, she's all, "I shouldn't have said that, I should have said sweaters" and Leo is all, "Wouldn't have made a difference." She's all, "I should have claimed I was a thoracic surgeon" and he's all, "Mom hates doctors." Then they go upstairs to practice their fencing. Yup. She loses her foil into a painting, of course. "Anyone asks, we were never here," Leo says, and they run for it. They tour the tiny Christmas Ballroom.

In the middle of the night, Emily gets up in her pajamas and practices dueling with the .... well, apparently the queen, OOPS. "Please escort our guest to the kitchen before she draws blood."

There are 117 rooms in the castle, just so you know. Emily calls her BFF the next morning and says, "Well, you know how I always said I missed out on having a mother? I might have changed my mind on that."

Someone should have warned Emily to dress for breakfast. The queen grumbles that it wouldn't have helped. Emily and Leo go out (incognito) to tour the streets....with bodyguards. They are there to guard him from people who don't like his mother. OMG, they actually have a school for orphans in Cordinia. Emily talks to one, and the kid figures out who he is and he gets mobbed. Duh. They come home with the royal equivalent of the Charlie Brown Christmas Bush. "What's that? Oh, never mind. Victor, please take this to... someplace special." Emily wonders if she will end up "someplace special." Then she's introduced to Natasha, Duchess of Warren, who goes on about the one Christmas she didn't spend with Leo. Remember how we used to go out? Emily bemoans her homemade wardrobe and the maid tries to help.

"Did you notice how she makes no sound when she approaches? She's like a cat or a ninja." -Emily on the queen.

At dinner, the queen shoves Emily as far away as she can without resorting to the kitchen. Emily manages to shove her foot in it by making some couple feel bad for not being able to have kids. When asked how she met Leo, "He came in for a missing button and I needled him into asking me out." Har, tailoring puns! Will they never get old!

Natasha literally dresses up as Isadora to go riding, which please Isadora until she realizes,"What boy wants to fall in love with his mother?" Uh, yes, that is the issue. Let's just say that Natasha is the queen's clone for a reason. They all skip off to ride, which Emily doesn't know how to do, of course. Left to amuse herself, Emily skips down to the servants' quarters where the Charlie Brown Tree is, and offers to decorate. They bling it up cutely. Again, the cast of Downton is having fits if they ever see this.

Emily apologizes again to the girl she offended, who takes it well. She's married to a baron, but she understands the awkwardness. They go shopping together. Galina, Baroness of Newbury is her name. They meet up with the orphan again, who's looking for things to sell.

The royals go on parade. The crowds are smaller this year, by which I mean like, nonexistent and the budget's already been blown on the palace and Jane Seymour. They roll up and see Emily. The orphan offers the queen a scarf.

"You can get baptized, married and buried without ever leaving the grounds." "Hopefully, in that order." --Leo and Emily while wandering the palace grounds.

The queen offers Emily the dress she wore when she got engaged. There may be plusses and minusses to that....

Emily plays the game of trying to get the guards to make any kind of expression. "Look, a hundred dollar bill!" No dice.

Emily asks Victor the butler to prepare her for the ball and he's all "I'd need a year." They work on it anyway. Nicely. Victor is delighted at his first high five.

The dress needs a lot of work. Remember how she's a designer? Ahem.

Leo tells Victor he plans to propose at the ball.

Where's Emily? She must be having dress problems.... Nah, she's fine. Some adjustments were made. Oh look, the orphan's at the ball. (I expected this whole orphan thing to pan out with some kind of adoption or something, but it never goes any farther than this.) Natasha tries to pressure Leo into dancing with her, he foists her off on an 80-year-old count or something. Eventually Emily skips off to hang out in the kitchen and teach everyone how to make a real Philly sandwich. The queen walks in and again, the entire cast of Downton Abbey would be having a fit right now at the laxness of it all. Emily is bitched out for not taking care of the guests, and then her servant buds are fired. Emily is told she doesn't belong. WELL, OF COURSE SHE DOESN'T KNOW WHAT IT'S LIKE TO BE ROYAL. MOST PEOPLE DON'T. Emily wants to fix this. The queen gloats that Emily should be going home soon.

Leo proposes. Emily feels bad and says no, she doesn't belong here. Leo offers to renounce his title. Damn. Emily leaves anyway, and the fired staff bid her goodbye. Why they are still allowed on the premises after being fired, I don't know know. Mom wins! Merry Christmas! And yet somehow, Emily's leaving graciously makes the queen feel differently, like that makes any sense. (One can only chalk this up to "the plot said so," rather than any actual writing reason to make us think the queen would actually drop the bitchery.) OMG, SHE MADE A MISTAKE! And you'll never ever hear her say that again!

Leo tells Natasha they should be wanted for more than their titles. She tries again anyway. He's still not interested. But even Natasha was impressed by Emily. "If I ever see her again, I'll be sure to mention." Mom summons Leo to see her, and she's fondling the snow globe and praising Benjamin Franklin. The queen ponders the commoner that she was in love with before and didn't marry. Meanwhile, I guess the servants weren't fired after all.

"I want you to make an announcement. Prince Leopold is in love. Not with a duchess, but a clothing designer. And I give them my blessing." Yeah, right. But the plot requires it, so. Leo's stuff has already been packed for him.

OH DAMN, VICTOR WAS THE COMMONER. That was the lone surprise in this show for me. She asks him to call her Izzy, like the good old days. They clasp hands instead.

Leo shows up in front of dad's store and proposes again. Her dad breaks out his phone to film it. OH SHIT, MOM'S IN THE CAR WATCHING THIS AND TOLD HER TO SAY YES AND APOLOGIZED. "I've been wrong about a few things." Victor: "Just a few?" She even makes a Ben Franklin reference. Emily says yes! Dad walks the queen in. Haste to the wedding! The guards finally crack a smile at that one. And then it snows because it's a Cordinian Christmas Miracle!

Okay, this one was weak. I'm not particularly into Lacey Chabert/any of the Party of Five people anyway so perhaps I'm biased, but the plot is pretty so-so/predictable. I think the best Hallmark romances are the ones where the romance is building between the hero and heroine and they are spending time together having fun, but this one is a fait accompli and Leo is the perfect royal boyfriend who is all, "I'll totally abdicate!" Wait, what? So it's not really a romance between them so much as it's some kind of weird courtship ritual (from hell) between ...who, exactly? I want to say the queen and Emily, but that doesn't really happen. If anyone's courting and flirting and having fun, it's the queen and her chosen duchess Natasha. Those two hit it off more than anyone else, which is especially weird since ah, they're related IRL. (Casting FTW.)

It also reminds me of Princess Diaries a bit. I only read the first couple of books in that series yonks ago, but I remember the reasons why Mia didn't know her dad was a prince of whatever--when she went there, she was generally kept apart from the citizens, they had special shopping hours, and the one photo she looked at in the encyclopedia of Prince Whozums was one from the 70's when he had a full head of hair and a terrible handlebar mustache and in her current life her dad is very bald. That was stretching plausibility a bit, but that was easier to do back in a simpler era and with a teenager. If Prince Leopold managed to go to MBA school incognito for a few years, I'm really impressed, but it seems incredibly unlikely that one could pull that off in 2014 because the Internet and gossip. But again, someone had to Idiot Ball plot that or handwave it or something.

Naughty or Nice:

Here's the plot rundown of the Hallmark Channel schedule: "Holiday humbug Krissy Kringle receives a special delivery intended for Santa Claus, the Naughty or Nice book he left behind while visiting a child, and uses the power of the book to expose the naughty deeds of those around her, but soon finds that her newfound power isn't always so nice. " Sounds like a solid gold turd to me! Let's see how this goes!

So this starts out with a busy career lady (the aforementioned "Krissy Kringle," which is the worst Christmas name I've ever seen in one of these shows) having a little altercation with some cranky mom going on about the Naughty or Nice list and how it's real. She makes the "oooookay" face and moves on to buy her damn coffee. When she hands over her credit card the guy says, "Seriously?" "Seriously." "You want some milk and cookies to go with your latte? Carrot sticks for your reindeer?" "You think you're original?"

She also gets addressed at work as "Jingle Jingle, Krissy Kringle....Get your sleigh bells over there!" No wonder she's cranky. I'd stab somebody. I think it is totally justified to feel annoyed at Christmas if I were her.

Krissy thought she was getting a promotion. Instead she gets, "We're setting you free today." That's what we call firing these days? That's only slightly less euphemistic than "released to Elsewhere," which Krissy calls the lady out on. "Returning me to my natural habitat." She finishes with: "You're going on the Naughty List," and then wonders why the fuck she said that. "I"m going to die in the wild."

Krissy's had a boyfriend (Lance) for six years and he still won't marry her yet. Bad sign, of course. Will they break up within 5 minutes?

There is a GIANT snowflake across the street from Krissy's house. Damn. There's HOLOGRAM REINDEER ABOVE THE GIANT SNOWFLAKE HOUSE. She lives on Candy Cane Lane, literally--the block agreed to change the name after she moved in. She is the only unblinged house and wishes she could move, but she's got an upside-down mortgage like everyone else. She arrives home to waaaaaaaaaaaaay too much mail in her mail slot. Addressed to "Kris Kringle, Candy Cane Lane." She throws most of it in the trash, but then opens the mysterious package, which is....THE NAUGHTY OR NICE BOOK. It has blank pages. The note on it comes from a kid in the hospital who says Kris "forgot this" and she's mailing it back.

"Everyone thinks I work with elves. It's horrible."

Entering the house, there's a photo of baby Krissy with her namesake. Her dad, however, does NOT have full on beard and Santa suit on like I was expecting.
"Every day's a holiday with you." "What do you expect, I'm a Kringle." --Krissy's parents. They rib her about her name some more. "Oh, come on, everyone thinks it's adorable." "Daily." Hey, we could be descendants for all we know! Her mom is totally psychic and already picked up on the loss of job. Then the marital nagging kicks in and awkwardness ensues. Dad writes her a check, Krissy says no, then Dad takes it back. Krissy wants to know why her psychic mom didn't predict the crash. She doesn't predict everything. So much for making it to dessert. Mom comes up with a job opportunity--wrapping gifts at the mall. It's a perfect job for a Kringle! Krissy likens it to torture. "And you get to wear a cute little elf costume. Elves earn an extra $20 a day."

After dinner, Lance the boyfriend and Krissy argue about weddings. He says she hates them, and while Krissy is against the whole idea of a "personal prom," she "just wants a new last name." (Nothing's stopping your ass from changing it on your own, girlfriend. Just saying.) Krissy's neighbor is Debbie, who lives in Giant Snowflake and has got some kind of screen show going on the garage. Debbie rags on her for being a Grinch and a Nighbmare Before Christmas for not decorating on Candy Cane Lane or going along with her name. Krissy argues that they changed the name after she moved, but that doesn't stop the bitchery.

The plumber calls and starts making name jokes, but Krissy is distracted by the book basically poltergeisting and then showing her a page saying she's mean to the plumber and reads other people's mail. When she says her own name, it goes back to her Naughty List page. Krissy is reasonably freaked out by this. The plumber calls back, saying he has to cancel, and then the book shows him saying he's lying and canceling. "Are you in your pajamas drinking coffee?" BUSTED. I think she just shamed him into coming over.

Off to the new mall job! With that name, she's found her calling, mate! Her Aussie boss is cranky about having a decorations-filled office. Yeah, that elf outfit looks all kinds of wrong on her. "Wow, you've got a stage name and everything." "It's my real name." Marco, the other elf, tells her the boss isn't actually Australian. "You name a complex, he's got it." She's also going to have to work the photo section. Marco gives her a very patronizing training session on that. Krissy gets all bitchy about having her break denied because she was 15 minutes late. She and Marco sneak off anyway and Marco grumbles that Justin the "Aussie" isn't Aussie and got the job via nepotism and is generally .... on the naughty list. Also, he steals but Marco can't prove it. Krissy is threatened with firing for using more than one piece of tape when wrapping (seriously?), followed by "Keep up the Christmas cheer!" Then she gets that naughty look in her eye and runs off to consult the book. "Justin Reid: plays video games at work, sleeps at his desk,..."CHECK. MATE." Krissy snarls.

She goes into Justin's office and demands to know where the senior center petty cash is. In his desk, apparently. Justin drops the accent and begs for mercy, and Krissy negotiates terms: buy us snacks, show some respect and stop demeaning people ("I do that?" "A lot,"), and she's going to borrow the decorations.

"It really was fun watching him grovel!" the two gloat. How did you know where the money was, are you psychic? No, but she had some help...

"You actually walk around in public like that?" Krissy is dissed at the mall by Tiffany and Brittany. As they photograph her for Facebook, she spies their names on their credit cards and look them up. Krissy tells them some ugly truths about themselves, followed by"Happy Holidays!" Are you a witch or something? "It's a gift." "This is not a gift. This is like voodoo or something." Krissy shows her coworker her "book of spells" and attempts to explain it to Marco, who is doubtful on the Santa thing. "Can't you just go with me here? What if the list is real?" Those are a lot of what-ifs, says Marco. Let's check his page.... "Told girlfriend he was sick, then went to a sports bar." That proved it. "Who else would have a book like this?" "The CIA?"

The old boss and coworker walk by. Jill spots Krissy but leaves them be. Krissy smells a rat and checks the book on Jill. "Stole promotion from Krissy Kringle." And apparently told the boss Krissy was hitting on her husband. So what do you do now?

WOW, Candy Cane Lane. The entire budget for this movie must have been blown on that set. Now her house is all blinged, per Justin. Krissy wonders if she'll win the contest. The plumber has also come by and given her a 50% discount for "inconveniences," and Lance left her a bouquet. Nice list day for Krissy, I guess.

Krissy leaves Jill a message, asking about getting drinks. Then she checks Debbie her neighbor in the book--she takes people's decorations! It's time to vote on the best house, but....

Marco comes over to check out Candy Cane Lane. "I'm calling out that kleptomaniac tonight." "This is better than Shark Week." Some girl posted Krissy's house on Pinterest and it's gotten 2000 repins! EEEEEE! Or whatever! Debbie calls for the vote. Krissy has a question--can she still vote? Nope. The other neighbors encourage letting her vote, so voting happens. "You can't vote for yourself." "Yes, I"m well aware." Counting the votes....2nd runner up with four votes wins 60 pieces of Tupperware. Her husband is all "We're going to keep a lot of things fresh." First runner up wins the cheese of the month club, with seven votes...It's Krissy! "See what happens when you particpate? You win nice things!" Shockingly, Debbie wins with 8 votes! I never would have guessed! "When Debbie wins, we all win!" Krissy says, before announcing a "small little concern" about her missing decor. Who else is missing some? Hey, Debbie has some extra candy canes.... Let's check Debbie's shed! TO THE BACKYARD! FOLLOW ME! Debbie claims she was going to give it all back, but a revote is called for. Krissy wins! Krissy feels bad seeing Debbie walk into her house though.

I'm thinking Debbie must be pretty stupid to steal from her own neighborhood where people would recognize their stuff. Why doesn't she steal from OTHER neighborhoods?

"Well, that was my first Christmas lynch mob! I kept waiting for someone to yell, "Kill the Beast!" --Marco. Marco also wonders where the hell Lance is, and Krissy says he's always trying to impress his bosses, but not her. Marco suggests using the List and Krissy thinks it's too invasive, like reading his e-mail. Marco is all, "just saying." So of course.... and it's bad. Krissy storms in to Lance's lunch and calls him lying, cheating scum of the earth. He was cheating with Jill, apparently. Krissy makes sure to blab this in front of his boss. And dump spaghetti on him.

At Santa's photo booth, a kid calls out Krissy for being too big to be an elf. She tells him off and threatens him with the naughty list by saying that nothing goes unnoticed. This is so Elf on the Shelf, except it's Elf At The Photo Booth. Parents are breaking out their phones for this. After she starts throwing's all over. Marco drags her out of sight and she tells him all and wishes she'd never checked--but then you'd still be with a cheater, Krissy.

Next thing you know, Debbie has IMMEDIATELY put her house up for sale and deblinged. Damn, that's FAST. Krissy goes home and sees herself screaming on the news. Wait a minute, is the newscaster's name Jane Lane?! Her parents drop by with ice cream and say it's all over YouTube. "Sounds like a country western song," her dad says when he hears about Lance and Jill. Her parents start wondering when this happened--was it 2 summers ago when Lance thought they were broken up and Krissy didn't? They ask how she knows this and Krissy won't say, because putting this in her mom's hands would be a loaded weapon. Then she goes for the book and checks on Lance again anyway. This time he's on the nice list for giving away money.

Krissy is now thinking about the book: there's like, 2 different lists! I never looked at it from the nice list side! Everyone has two sides! Lance really was working late! He slept with Jill once while they were broken up. Jill volunteers at a convalescent home but is totally a corporate spy. Oh, and then Krissy spills on the book. Which makes it...short out or something. It stops working. Marco tells her the book is a crutch and she's always been a strong lady, but Krissy says it was because she had the book as ammo.

Krissy runs into Lance's work to apologize and say he's wonderful and she loves him. He still doesn't want to get back together, though. (Can't blame him.) Krissy then goes to apologize to Debbie and cites her donating money anonymously (it's supposed to be anonymous!). But it was all Debbie's way of giving back after WWII! (No, really, they say that. I still can't figure out what that has to do with stealing.) Krissy agrees to do coffee with Debbie.
Cut to Krissy and Lance at her house, talking about her little news cast. She asks him for legal help in dealing with Jill, i.e. can he find evidence for her, since she "lost" hers. He agrees, but still won't stay over.

Krissy throws a surprise appreciation party for Debbie. Now everyone loves her for donating to charity. They don't want her to leave because then they'd have to organize the Easter Egg hunt. Krissy preaches about giving the benefit of the doubt, and they make Debbie's the honorary holiday house, whatever that means. Debbie's gonna redecorate all night now!

Lance tells Krissy he can't get proof of the corporate spydom, but Debbie does the rival company's payroll, so she could check! Debbie finds proof that's public information, but wants her name kept out of it. Debbie also recommended Krissy for jobs, apparently. Krissy goes off to her old job to bust Jill with Lance in tow. Jill denies it, Helen fires her and asks Krissy back. Krissy has a few requests, parking space, raise. Krissy also volunteers to get a private meeting with Santa for some charity event. "Really? You know Santa Claus?" "I'm a Kringle."

Cut toe the party and Santa Claus coming to town. After all the photos, Krissy and Marco chat a bit. No romance happens there, which actually kind of surprises me except they cast Marco as a nerd, so clearly he's not up to her blond hotness, or whatever. Krissy ends up having a chat with Santa about electricity and making sure little Tommy Edison had everything in his lab. Santa asks for his book back, of course. She doesn't want to let go of it! He's not unfazed by the coffee spill, happens all the time. While he didn't send it to her, he did let her have it for awhile. What did you want for Christmas? A new last name, no offense. He says she wanted to be recognized and she got it, so she's happy. Or getting there, at least. Santa poofs away. At home, Krissy sees that Debbie has reblinged again. Lance comes out to apologize and propose. Finally. She'll hyphenate. Kringle-Lee?

Surprisingly, that movie was better than I expected. Go figure on that one. The premise almost(?) works, but despite its ludicrousness, the actress makes it work. I also am surprised that the boyfriend of six years was NOT disposed of within the first five minutes of the movie, or indeed, ever. I was expecting she'd get involved with some other dude--most likely Marco, except (a) he's clearly cast as Too Nerdy To Get The Hot Blonde, and (b) they mention he already has a girlfriend. But nope, she eventually makes up with Lance (though the show makes it at least somewhat reasonable that he might not want to get back together with her) and gets that darned ring after six years. Surprise, ish. It's a little cliche that everyone ends up on the "nice" list pretty much only because they give money away (seriously, nothing about helping old ladies across the street?), but the point is that we're all naughty and nice, and that's certainly true enough.

Fir Crazy:

Elise MacReynolds grew up on a Christmas tree lot, but she wasn't too fond of living in a cold trailer all December and having the magic of Christmas ruined because she knew how the sausage was made. Now she's living in the Big City and "about to get a promotion" (THEY ARE ALWAYS ABOUT TO GET SOME IMAGINARY PROMOTION!!! Where do they get the idea they are going to get a promotion?!) so she won't go home for Thanksgiving. She goes into her regular coffee joint and complains that it's already blinged up for Christmas before Thanksgiving. Which is legit, I say.

Anyway, instead of that promotion (say it with me, folks), she gets fired!* because they need to "trim the fat." She's all "I'm fat?" and the ex-boss is all, "Bad analogy." But he doesn't think she has a passion for athletic shoes because look at her, she's wearing pumps. (This movie makes a BIG deal about her shoes, seriously. You'll see.) Then her boyfriend that she was going to go to the Bahamas with basically dumps her because he's too busy doing his job and now hers, wtf? He actually brought ice cream to dump her with and she's all, "Let it melt." Of course.

* People only get fired on television. Mom asked me why she got fired instead of laid off and I said, "for the drama."

This is perfect timing according to her parents because Dad just broke his foot and they can't run the Christmas tree lot they put up by a store in NYC every year. And poor Cousin Shane can't do it alone. Elise doesn't want to and gripes to her best friend about it: "Do you know what it's like to not have a real Christmas?" "Of course. I"m Jewish."

OMG JEWISH CHARACTER IN A HALLMARK MOVIE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! *faints*

Elise goes to see a headhunter, who is all "NOBODY is hiring during the holidays" (You didn't do something stupid like buy your apartment, did you? Oh, wait, you did?) and yet still says Elise should be ready to interview "at a moment's notice." This makes absolutely no sense whatsoever, other than to make sure that Elise is inappropriately dressed to run a tree lot. Specifically that her heel breaks while she's hauling a tree and knocks her into Colin "GrinchScrooge" Mochrie, the asshole new store owner who wants to get rid of the tree lot and yet somehow can''t. He haaaaaaaaaates her and she keeps doing things like blowing out the power and dropping pizza on his suit.

There's a homeless guy who is sleeping in the trees. At one point some kids steal a tree and he is all, "Homewrecker!" Eventually Homeless Bob is offered free pizza and a low-paying job at the tree lot. Elise finally caves in and starts wearing sneakers and helping people at the tree lot instead of texting.

Quotes on the customers:

"I'm sure the tree is honored to be your confidante, but I need you off." --Elise to a drunk guy.
"Seven years old and already knows how to score a free tree"-- the kid claims Elise told the truth about Santa.
"P-u-p-p-y. Do your parents know you're asking for this? Well, good luck, kid." --Bob to a kid.

There's also a cute guy (Darren) who ends up buying three trees while trying to get her attention at the tree lot. She eventually notices and they start dating. He is really cute, I gotta say. Not too many blonde dudes in Hallmark and this should be remedied. This is somehow reminding me of "Christmas Wrapping" because she keeps missing the dude. And then after a date or two, tells him she's not equipped to date right now.

"Well, that was mistle-totally uncool." --Cousin Shane after Elise bails on her date.

OH LOOK, THERE ARE HER SHOES AGAIN. SHE'S WEARING NICE LEATHER BOOTS WITH HEELS. Elise refuses to enter The Trailer because it gives her bad memory juju and would rather stand around in Those Heels than go in. Eventually Shane convinces her to go in.

The nice store employee (Isaac) that Colin Mochrie bitches about starts putting ornaments on the tree for sales purposes. Which actually works, but then Colin Mochrie starts bitching again and gives him final warning. Alas, Colin gets the idea that the tree lot will burn down his store, so there's his leverage.

Seriously, Darren is back for his FOURTH TREE-- he gave the rest away and now his class wants a tree (he teaches primary school). Pretty soon the dude should have his own forest in his apartment.

Elise starts embracing the holiday lattes at the coffee shop and being generally perky towards people and helping solve arguments between young pregnant marrieds. Elise offers to deliver the newlyparents' tree because she lives nearby them. How hard can it be? I've seen When Harry Met Sally, so....YEAH, I HAVE THOUGHTS ON THAT. Especially with you crazy city people with no cars. Elise, however, has (a) a little red wagon, and (b) makes friends with a guy with a boombox and his pal who accompany her there. Plus we get to watch some spontaneous breakdancing, so why not. When she arrives, the mom-to-be invites her in for a drink and some amusing chats about the two as a couple. I was summa cum laude, he was in a band....

The headhunter finally comes through with a job at some other shoe company! In an hour! She really wasn't kidding about that "moment's notice" thing. The other company guy is making it very clear that he's looking for dirt on the other company. Elise says she's an only child and doesn't share, and leaves. Elise's boyfriend shows up at her tree farm (he Googled for it) to brag that he got her promotion and does she want to celebrate? Um, no, she doesn't. Then the tree lot is being condemned as a fire hazard. Eliza goes to her parents to atone for her making them lose the lot. People come into the store to complain about the lack of tree lot, and Isaac helpfully points them to the owner to ask him why. "Because I can. I don't own an explanation to anyone." WAY TO SCROOGE IT, COLIN MOCHRIE. Darren goes by looking for the trees and hot girl and can't find them. Elise starts calling people for help. They decide to try to track down the owner, wherever he might be. His driver said he's at a botanical garden. Oh, he's at his wife's memorial bench. She's named Noelle. Hah. Guess when her birthday is. Anyway, they unpack Colin Mochrie's Christmas angst and he's sorry and he'll make some calls on Christmas Eve, etc.

The newlywed works at City Hall and got the tree lot put back. No decorations, no music, no lights allowed! Except the owner of the store got a generator. They Winter Wonderland it up. Colin Mochrie offers her a job! The baby is coming! Everything is wonderful! The owner even decorates the trees with his ornaments! Elise goes off to make amends with that dude she's been off and on dating all month. Or not, because he walks off. Girl, get an attention span. Anyway, she goes off to have Chinese with her visiting parents instead. They sold all the trees! Best year ever! Nancy the Jew gets her first stocking ever and flirts with Shane. She asks him out for New Year's. You have any plans? No. "Now you do. Pick me up at eight." The baby was born and named Noelle.

Bob and Darren are volunteering at the homeless shelter and even Bob is all, "Shouldn't you be somewhere else right now?" Elise's family leaves and Darren arrives. Want some cold kung pao chicken? He got her a skating ornament because they went on a skating date. Kissing ensues.

Again, this wasn't bad. I think it's more of a "girl has romance with tree lot, with a dude on the side" sort of movie, but the dude himself is nice, even if he seems to be kind of a glutton for tree buying/punishment and they are sort of doing the monthlong equivalent of the "Christmas Wrapping" song, i.e. bumping into each other a lot and the dating not quite always working out. But whatever, it's pleasant fun.

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