Okay, it was bound to happen. I always hate to admit this, but there are some Hallmark movies that I don’t love. And tonight I watched one that unfortunately made the cut. Or should I say, didn’t make it.
The story is a young widow, Lauren (Alexa Penavega), who returns to her hometown to renovate a hotel for her “I won’t take no for an answer”/hotel buying boss. She brings her daughter and stays with her dad (They’re supposed to have a very strained relationship– she hasn’t been home in YEARS– but I honestly couldn’t see that anything was wrong or tense other than the grandpa’s affinity for trying to make fractions fun for his granddaughter. Apparently that is a big no-no. Stick to the books, Dad! Stop trying to make her actually like math. Bah humbug). This hotel happens to be the very same hotel that she performed in every year as a child/adolescent/young adult doing ballroom dance with her ex-partner and boyfriend, Ricardo (Carlos Penavega) who left town on some prestigious tour years ago, leaving a brokenhearted Lauren behind and is now a big time dancer dude. And now he’s in town too! As a favor to his aunt to perform in the finale of the Enchanted Lodge Christmas show. Partner backs out, Lauren reluctantly steps in because the final show reflects on her job renovating the hotel, sparks fly, Lauren is guarded, she remembers how much she loves dancing, daughter comes out of her shell, complications arise, hard choices are made, and happily ever after is attained after a fiery salsa number somehow made Christmasy.
I wanted to love the movie. It was filmed near where I live. The main characters are played by a real life married couple (cute!). But it just fell a little flat. The acting was a little forced and the complications that did arrive weren’t gripping enough for me.
One huge positive was that they kept using the Pas de deux from The Nutcracker. So gorgeous. And one of my favorites. In fact the music in general was a step above most Hallmark movies.