Recipe For Love (2014) – The movie begins with Lauren (Danielle Panabaker) as a kid writing a food blog about cafeteria food. She is told that’s a no no by the school. Then we jump ahead to when she’s an adult working in a kitchen. Suddenly, an opportunity falls into her lap. She is asked to ghostwrite a cook book for a television chef named Dexter Durant (Shawn Roberts). At first there is a little friction, but it doesn’t last long. The two open up to each other pretty quickly. We see behind the facade Dexter puts on for the audience and Lauren genuinely wants to make this cookbook happen. It’s not like this is a story about a woman whose voice is hidden behind a man’s. And it’s not about tearing down this fake personality to see Dexter fall from grace or watch him give up this thing he was only doing for fame. They work together, fall for each other, and both come out of the process better then when they began it. They both still love cooking and want to continue to do so with each other. I really liked that she wasn’t bashing against a wall that finally comes down in the end. Both of them begin to deal with each other as real people early on. I liked this Hallmark movie better than most I have seen.
Catch A Christmas Star (2013) – I swear if it isn’t a dog movie, it’s a bible movie, otherwise it’s a Christmas movie. In fact, director John Bradshaw has made eight of them. This film introduces us to a family that has a little girl who likes a singer named Nikki (Shannon Elizabeth). She shows up at a record signing and wouldn’t you know it, turns out Nikki knows her Dad from the past. There’s no sense in spelling out the rest of the plot because you already know it. I didn’t like this one. I didn’t feel any chemistry. Shannon Elizabeth doesn’t act well. She certainly can’t sing. And while she is probably the nicest and sweetest person I could ever meet in real life, she looks like a plastic doll to me in this movie. I just couldn’t push past that. I’ve only seen four Hallmark Christmas movies, but I would go with A Royal Christmas (2014) instead.
My Boyfriends’ Dogs (2014) – This year I replaced my desktop PC with a Mac. I kind of regret the choice of going with a Mac because the software is lousy. The hardware is giving me some problems too. But I’m going off on a tangent. My point is that while the computers have given out over the years, the monitors still work fine. As a result, I have the monitor that comes with the all in one Mac and two monitors from previous computers attached for a three monitor setup. This movie is like that. It follows Bailey (Erika Christensen) as she goes from one boyfriend to another, picking up their dogs along the way. It’s actually quite funny to see two of them show up on her doorstep with a dog for her to adopt. At the center of this series of dates is the guy at the pet shop cast because we can instantly tell he’s a good guy. Now all of this is told in flashback. At the beginning of the movie, Bailey wanders into a cafe wearing a wedding dress where she recounts her story to a some guy and Joyce Dewitt of Three’s Company fame. Turns out the final boyfriend almost became her husband before she ran out, dogs and all. I won’t spoil the ending, but it will have you yelling, “Oh, come on!” This one’s okay, but Recipe For Love is the best of the four in this roundup.
For Better or for Worse (2014) – This one is a Romeo and Juliet style story. You have the mother who does weddings. You have a father who does divorces. Their children decide to come together, become vegans, and organic farmers. Obviously, that doesn’t go to well with the parents. What follows is the parents getting closer while trying to drive the kids away, only to figure out that as weird as it seems, the kids are actually pretty happy together. The two parents also turn out to be happy as well with each other. Wait, I just realized something. I know it’s a little wishy washy, up for argument, and they did it in Clueless, but that smells a little like incest. A little weird for a Hallmark movie. Oh well, is it worth your time? You can do worse. It’s a decent 90 minutes or so without commercials. I wouldn’t seek it out, but if it’s on, then just enjoy it to pass the time.