Thursday, December 18, 2014

Movie Review: Hallmark's Christmas Under Wraps

This movie has one of my favorite tropes: fish out of water. In this case, uptight doctor meets small-town hunk and holiday hijinks ensue. I loved this movie and I'm naming it my favorite holiday movie of 2014.

The premise is simple, our career-oriented lass, Dr. Lauren Brunell, is a newly-credentialed doctor in San Francisco. Her ritzy fellowship in Boston falls through and she's stuck with a family doctor position in rustic Garland, Alaska. I love this plot. L-O-V-E. I liked it when it was called Northern Exposure and I still like it now.

Andy, the love interest is, as you would expect, a fan of plaid. He's also a pilot (All Alaskan guys are pilots. I think it's in the state constitution somewhere), which comes in handy since Garland is nowhere near Anchorage. Oh, and he drives a red pickup truck. Seriously, a plane and a truck? This is Hallmark Hero overkill.

The town is small, there's the requisite diner and hardware store. It's supposed to be a rustic Alaska hamlet, but it looks more like a ritzy ski resort town. The houses are enormous with stone cladding and wood paneling, and the downtown is cute in an Aspenish kind of way. The main employer is an outfit called "Holliday Shipping." Yep, you guessed it, Andy is the owner's son. He used to be an architect in Seattle, but, as Hallmark Movie heroes are wont to do, he returned to Garland to serve as the resident handyman-slash-heir-to-local-shipping-empire. Oh, and his dad looks just like Santa Claus, if old Santa wore buffalo plaid flannel shirts that is.

Lauren is appalled to find out that she has to stay in a gorgeous log cabin.  Yeah, right, the kitchen has so much granite she could open up her own quarry. Super-picky Lauren is even more horrified when she finds out that the Garland General Hospital is located in an old Victorian home. Needless to say, I'm in love. I adore old houses. The sets and wardrobe in this movie don't quite reach the levels of fabulousness of The Twelve Trees of Christmas, last year's favorite, but they come close.

As you would expect, our uptight doctor loosens up and learns to love flannel shirts and hunky pilots. The knight-in-shining-flannel looks heart-broken when he thinks he's getting dumped. The townspeople are quirky and adorable. None of it comes as a surprise, but it's all heart-warming and adorable.

I'm not going to spoil the big secret (hint: there's reindeer involved), but suffice it to say that this is my favorite Christmas movies of 2014, although Grumpy Cat's Worst Christmas Ever is a close second. Cute premise, great scenery (the Alaska shots are gorgeous), and good acting make for a very enjoyable film. Two thumbs up (with antlers!)