It’s not technically Hallmark, but it has most of the elements of a Hallmark Christmas Movie.
Stacy DeNovo (Vanessa Hudgens) is a recently-single baker in Chicago who runs a shop with her best friend Kevin (Nick Sagar) and his daughter Olivia (Alexa Adeosun). Kevin enters the shop in a baking contest the week before Christmas in the kingdom of Belgravia, for which they are accepted. The three head to the country, where Stacy is met by Lady Margaret Delacourt (also Vanessa Hudgens), the fiancee of the Crown Prince Edward of Belgravia (Sam Palladio). She reveals that she wants to switch places with Stacy in order to avoid the limelight for a few days. Stacy agrees and the pair engage in wacky shenanigans.
Okay, so, it’s a knock-off of The Prince and the Pauper but the pauper in this case is actually fairly successful and also they’re both girls and neither of them dies at the age of 15. Seriously, did you read the original? It’s messed up.
Anyway, this is basically a Hallmark movie so, if you’re familiar with them, I’m betting you can guess how the movie goes, probably down to most of the scenes and the lines. It’s corny. It’s predictable. It’s filled with scenes designed not to progress the story but instead to make us feel vicariously happy about what the characters are experiencing. In short: It’s the cinematic equivalent of just eating dessert instead of dinner.
Look, you’re not going to learn great truths about the world from this film. You’re not going to learn much about yourself from it. It doesn’t contain deep symbolism or major allusions and subversive themes. Conflict in the movie is almost entirely shoddily manufactured, quickly resolved, and has at least one heavy deus ex machina.
BUT YOU FEEL GOOD AT THE END.
Everything is happy. Everyone finds love that deserves it. Good is rewarded. Hard work is rewarded. Honesty is rewarded. These movies show us a world that actually can work out the way that it’s supposed to. In some ways, it hurts to watch them because it makes the real world feel so much less magical and so much more complicated, but these movies contain our real dreams. Our world should not be pursuit of money or status, it should be about connecting with each other, whether through friendship, true love, or just being kind to strangers. What’s wrong with wanting to watch a story about a world like that?
Honestly, compared to many similar Christmas romantic comedies, this one is at least somewhat well-written and much better acted. If you like Hallmark movies, you should see this one for your Christmas fix.
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