Happy HAPPY Monday, everyone! At least, I hope it’s happy. Did you have to go to work today? I didn’t technically go to a job; but it’s just me here, housesitting my in-laws’ place with the four crazy kids while hubby’s working. But it’s good; we’ve just been both chilling and bustling around, trying to retain the feeling of merry and bright. 😉 No, that’s not the movie I’m reviewing, we’ve already done that. But we ARE talking about one of the earlier films of the season. It aired in November, and it stars a very prominent WCTH actor with whom many Hearties are infatuated. POstables will love him too from “From Paris With Love” where he played Joey the restaurant owner; that’s the first time I ever saw him. He’s also Mitch on “Heartland”, another big hit with many Hearties; and he’s even appeared as a very distinguished guest star on “When Hope Calls”. The ONE! The ONLY! KEVIN MCGARRY, starring in “Christmas Scavenger Hunt”.
This movie was not my favorite one of the lineup this year, but I thought it had it’s own special charm that was undeniable. I did appreciate the very different premise of the storyline; we’ve never had a holiday hunt before. I don’t know if we’ve ever had a scavenger hunt of this caliber in any of the films on Hallmark until now. So that was fun! This is just the kind of activity that I think would be perfect to bring in some Christmas cheer. And even though they called a clue “hard” when it was anything but, the clues as a whole were cute, and clever, and very well-worded. I was just surprised that so many people had the day off work so they could participate. 😀
Speaking of surprises, I had absolutely NO IDEA that Tom Arnold was going to star in this movie! It caught me completely off guard. I haven’t seen him in a Hallmark Christmas feature since “Moonlight and Mistletoe” in 2008, when he portrayed Candice Cameron Bure’s father, Nick. What a firecracker Carl was in this one though! First he assumes Belinda has broken up with Logan, so he gleefully blurts out: “You dumped him!” Then, when that idea doesn’t stick, dear old Dad becomes a sly dog by teaming up Dustin with Belinda, instead of the originally intended Susan Shultz. And Belinda wasn’t even intending to join; she was thrown into the lions’ den by her best friend, Faith. Those two HAD to be in cahoots! That’s the ONLY explanation as to why it was pulled off so seamlessly.
Let’s move to characterization. Kevin played a very confident, almost cocky-in-a-good-way character, which is so different from Nathan in Hope Valley, at least currently. Gotta especially love the little details like Dustin’s immense love for rivers of gravy, and his terror at admitting he’d gone out for one coffee with Belinda’s arch rival from high school before, in his words, “I came to my senses.” He also does a great job with not being angry with her when he finds out what’s going on with the mill. I was sure he was going to blow up at her, but he was so sweet and understanding! That’s how all reactions should be, right?
Kim Shaw portrayed the conflicted businesswoman very well. She had a job to do, but she still cared about the town, and her reaction to finding out about Dustin’s dad was right on point! You can see the change in her feelings without her saying a word once she knows the truth. You can also see her about to combust until she’s able to confide in Faith.
The funniest line from the movie, at least in an awkward sense…well, there’s two. One has to be when their music teacher very generously gives Belinda the snow globe that just happens to contain the word LOVE inside. The tension could be cut with a knife! The only words Dustin can manage to push out are, “Nice birds,” obviously trying to skirt around the gargantuan elephant in the room. The other is closer to the beginning when Belinda claims Dustin acted like a baby every time he lost a track meet. Then boom! Who’s hand appears on the counter? And Belinda’s reaction is PRICELESS! The shock, the embarrassment, and just a tinge of anger are perfectly combined when she accusingly asks, “What are you doing here?!” Of course there’s a very innocent and simple explanation of “the pipes”.
The funniest line as far as comic timing and delivery is another of Kevin’s. He just has great skills! It’s when Dustin, Belinda, and third wheel Logan are baking cookies, (which is the WRONG place for a silk tie in the first place!), and butter spatters on said tie. Logan says he’s going to try to wash it off, and Belinda is trying to assure him it’ll come out of the delicate fabric. The moment he’s out of earshot, Dustin whispers, “You know it’s BUTTER, right?”
That brings me to the chemistry. I think they had it! I’m a big sucker for history, so I couldn’t help but giggle when they talked about memory lane having “a few potholes”, including the hunt victories, and the yeti prank. They weren’t afraid to talk about the past, which some former couples can’t do. But they had no qualms about digging up the past. My favorite tidbit has to be that he’s the only one who has a nickname for her. Everyone, even her father, calls her “Belinda”. But even 10 years after the breakup, Dustin is still calling her “Bel”. It was endearing! And it made the moment of the kiss all the better! First he smiles when she says she still loves him, then totally interrupts her monologue by gently charging and laying a big one on her. Then what do we hear? “I missed you, Bel!” No, there was no mistletoe, but it was definitely worthy of it.
Let’s end by backing up a bit, to the big revelation as to why Dustin broke Bel’s heart. He did the noble, but incredibly stupid thing, not telling her his father lost his job. He “didn’t want to hold her back”, which I think is a ridiculous reason to not be honest with someone, but putting that aside… Did you hear what he said? He said, and I quote, “Take a walk with me.” I couldn’t believe it! I seriously wondered if it was done on purpose, as a kind of Easter egg to #Hearties, and giving us a hint about the show, or if it was pure coincidence. I guess time alone will tell.
Well, everyone, next time I talk to you, it’ll be next year! Be sure to tune in for my last #WisemanWednesday. This is Hooked Heartie, signing off! May your heart let your hope blossom!