|If you want a surprising example of "perfect" holiday romance for me, this is it.|
This one can't help but be a stinker, right? Actually, it's quite the opposite, with a charming cast all-around, good acting, and more genuinely funny moments than we've ever seen in a Hallmark-style romance movie. Sure, it's predictable as all hell, but it also benefits from slightly eschewing the normal earmarks of such movies: namely, there are no unbelievable fights between the main love interests that spring out of nowhere just to fulfill genre expectations, and—at the risk of slight spoilers—no evil bad guy that suddenly shows his true colors. Don't get me wrong, there are plenty of other “required” scenes that get checked off, but they're not annoyingly done, and all fit within the theme of the story.
At the risk of sounding shallow, the cast (save for Cole) isn't traditionally attractive, but they add depth and personality to their characters that are otherwise missing from other such movies, and the chemistry is there. (Hey, in my defense, the attractiveness of cast is generally the only satisfaction one can fall back on if things go south with the story, which is a common occurrence in flicks of this type.)
Honestly, this is one that we had no expectations for, and, while saying it “blew us away” might be quite an exaggeration, it was not only enjoyable for what it was, but honest-to-goodness just enjoyable as a lighthearted piece of fluff. One of the rare wins for MarVista Entertainment, which has to be one of the worst production companies of all time (yet is clearly successful enough to be able to make dozens upon dozens of these movies every minute).