Tuesday, February 05, 2013

Christmas TV Movies Special: A Christmas Wedding Date

So a few weeks ago I reviewed one Christmas Movie we randomly ended up watching, Christmas Twister. Then a bunch of stuff happened and now just in time for Valentine's Day, I'll review another Christmas movie! Hey, at least it's a romance!

Anyway, on Christmas Eve my family and I once again got sucked into an Ion TV Original movie - A Christmas Wedding Date.

I wish I had as many fun observations of this one as I did for Christmas Twister, but sadly while the entire genre of "hilariously bad disaster movies" amuses me, the genre of "mediocre romantic comedies" isn't really entirely my thing.

See, I love comedies. I love romance. But somehow when you stick them both together I want to smack somebody. Probably because the premise of almost all of these movies is either a-rooted in a fantasy of what romance really is that is so unbelievable I'd rather watch a movie about massive tornadoes or b-designed around a hilarious misunderstanding that wouldn't be a problem if people got around to actually speaking for more than two seconds.

Listen, one of the first things I learned about screenwriting in grad school is that people rarely say what they mean. Okay, that's cool, that's probably pretty true. Except that the central conflict of this entire movie is that the main character left her hometown and her true love boyfriend to live a lonely career-woman life in the big city because she heard a rumor that he...did something with this girl she didn't like. I never figured out if he was supposed to have slept with the other girl, kissed her, or just was in the same room with her and that wasn't cool.

But anyway, this girl seriously gets up, ships out to another place, changes all her plans, and changes her entire life because she heard a rumor. If I recall correctly, she didn't actually see anything happen so there wasn't even a misunderstanding on that level. Maybe I should have said "spoiler alert" since you're probably not supposed to know that it was a misunderstanding until he explains that it never happened in the third act, but come on, was there any doubt, ever? Seriously? Then you've never seen a romantic comedy. When you base your entire story on something so weak and contrived, and something that could be cleared up any second by the protagonist just saying "I didn't appreciate you sleeping with/kissing/making eyes at that other girl" then your movie is shaky to begin with.

The hilarious thing though is that I haven't actually told you the gimmick. See, this is a "Groundhog's Day" story, only with Christmas! And a wedding! Every science fiction show since Groundhog's Day has had an episode with the premise so you're probably used to it: protagonist has to repeat the same day until they figure out why they have to repeat it, and fix the cycle in order to magically be freed to live a better life. If you're curious, Stargate SG-1 did it best in "Window of Oppurtunity".

You've got every single trope possible for this kind of story. The character first blows off everything and acts irresponsibly, says all the things she's always wanted to say, is rude, etc. Then she decides to learn new things since she has a ridiculous amount of time to spare, and when she advances quickly (in the eyes of the characters not aware of the loop) she can impress everybody with her newly honed skills. She even is a bit weird and familiar with people who don't actually remember her, which is just awkward every time she does it.

This is, of course, all because of a guardian angel played by George Wendt who sadly never eats any beans. He wants her to figure out what's important in life (don't they always) and it turns out it's slowing down, and finding twu wuv. Sorry, it's finally admitting to the boy that you thought he smooched some other chick and him going "wait, what?"

Really, I try to come up with something nice to say about anything I review here but I'm kind of stumped. It's a story that's so done that you really have to either be uniquely interesting or be playing in an established universe for me to care. The acting is so-so, the romance is pretty blah. The script feels ridiculously rushed, and honestly I can't really recommend it even for "bad movie" value.

But I can say you should watch that episode of Stargate SG-1, it's hilarious. Probably funnier if you already know the show though, you'll get more of the jokes that way. "Maybe he read your report?"