When Sparks Fly (2014 Hallmark Channel)
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Synopsis (via Hallmark)
Young journalist Amy Peterson (Meghan Markle) is not as happy with her big city life as she’d hoped, and it’s starting to show in her work. She’s also not thrilled with her current boyfriend, Phil (Lochlyn Munro), a GQ-handsome businessman who doesn’t quite click with her. When circulation at the “Chicago Post” starts to wane, Amy’s editor sends her back to her hometown to write an article about growing up in her parents’ (Keith MacKechnie and Jacqueline Samuda) fireworks business. With the Fourth of July at hand, this human-interest story will be just what the “Chicago Post” needs.
Amy arrives home to write her article but is quickly derailed by her best friend, Sammie (Kristina Pesic), who enlists Amy to be the official planner of her upcoming Fourth of July wedding to – of all people – Amy’s ex-boyfriend, Hank (Christopher Jacot). As Amy struggles to cater to Sammie’s wedding demands and work on her newspaper assignment, her feelings for Hank start to resurface. Is Hank feeling the same way? Will their old flame rekindle as the time approaches for sparks to fly?
This has been a long time coming, but here we are. A 4th of July look back at the Meghan Markel Hallmark vehicle, When Sparks Fly. (Lifetime has got 4th of You Lie, but this might be more fun!)
It was her first Hallmark movie where she was a romantic lead, making her the first black leading lady in a romantic comedy at Hallmark Channel. (She is playing a white character though, so that is problematic.)
Meghan Markel plays Amy (but will only be referred to as Meghan Markel here.), a young woman in a boating town that LOVES the 4th of July. She works for dad’s pyrotechnic company. (We know this because she wears a hat with the logo on it.) She has a sassy best friend named Sammie, who has red, white, and blue, nails. Meghan Markel is leaving town for a job at the Chicago Post. She breaks the news to Hank, who is a dork. He is really disappointed she is leaving town because he was going to propose while the fireworks went off.
Flash forward seven years. The newspaper industry is struggling, and so are Meghan Markel’s co-workers to do their job. (One guy recommends a story about taco stands?) Meghan Markel’s boss wants a big story, and she pitches a story about behind the scenes of putting on a firework display. “Launching a firework can be like launching a cannonball out of a cannon.” Meghan Markel explains. The boss thinks she should go home to Washington and write the story. He tells her that he needs more from her and to put her heart into it. Meghan Markel goes back to her tiny Chicago apartment, which isn’t a thing. (She keeps her shoes in her oven, comes on! She isn’t Carrie Bradshaw.)
Meghan Markel passes on tickets for Jack Johnson to go out on a fancy french restaurant date with her boyfriend, Phil. (Meghan Markel orders a hamburger.) Phil is worried about what Meghan Markel is going to wear to the upcoming Gala after returning from a work trip from Abu Dabi?
Sammie, the BFF, facetimes Meghan Markel to tell her that she is getting married on July 4th… to HANK! This best friend is the worst!!!! Meghan Markel is not impressed. She calls her parents to inform them that she will be coming home and has the following exchange:
MM: Guess who is coming home!
Mom: Please tell me that it is you. I’m not excited to host a stranger in my home.
MM: It’s me!
The big city girl is back in the small town or Lakeside. Sammie is very demanding of her time and has 4th of July wedding central. Meghan Markel is surprised to learn that she is the maid of honor. (Which is funny considering she didn’t even know Sammie and Hank were a thing.) Since this isn’t a Lifetime movie, the women come to an understanding very quickly. They apologize and cry. We learn that Sammie’s mother passed away.
Hank is getting ready for the wedding too. His best friend is Andy, and he helps pick out tuxedos. While taking a lunch break, the boys run into the ladies, and it is awkward. Hank had no idea that Meghan Markel is standing in the wedding. They talk on a jog and smooth things out, they agree to be friends and shake hands.
Another emergency call comes in. It is Sammie, and she has fired the wedding planner. Sammie wants Meghan Markel to plan the wedding in her spare time. (Let’s not forget that she is writing a first-person article about fireworks.)
Cake tasting happens, and picking out silverware happens. Vendors keep confusing Meghan Markel and Hank as the couple. Then she plans the wedding fireworks and tries on the most horrible 4th of July wedding dresses I’ve ever seen. Does Sammie even wear an American Flag wedding dress?!?! You bet she does.
When researching for her paper, Meghan Markel is surprised to learn that her father’s business is failing. He is hoping the 4th of July can turn things around. Honestly, if it doesn’t, she should consider closing. When else would the business boom for a firework company? Later, Meghan Markel suggests using social media instead of word of mouth
Hank takes Meghan Markel to pick out a rehearsal dinner venue and try the catering food. They make a detour to Lew’s BBQ to eat ribs because Meghan Markel is a down to earth woman. The go sit on “their bench.” and decide to have the rehearsal dinner at Lou’s; they are also re falling in love.
In the car ride home, Meghan Markel opens up about having a shallow life in Chicago. Like, everything is surface level, and she was deep when she was with Hank.
The bridal shower happens, and Meghan Markel has to wear a toilet paper wedding dress or “TP Chic.” While she is cleaning up the shower, Meghan Markel realizes that she has feelings for Hank still. She opens up to her mother, who gives no advice here. Meghan Markel gives HERSELF advice. Hank is marrying Sammie, and there is nothing she can do about it.
Good thing she is over that because Phil is back from Abu Dhabi work trip! Meghan Markel shows him around town, and he is charmed, but not really. He and Sammie have a moment. They all go to see the tuxes, which have American Flag ties and cummerbunds.
Construction happens, and the water main for the town breaks. The budget discrepancy between fixing the water main and fireworks means the town will have to cancel the fireworks. Meghan Markel’s dad’s business is not going to handle the loss of revenue. They decide to fundraise to SAVE THE FIREWORKS! A fundraising montage happens set to Katy Perry’s firework. Just kidding, they start a Kickstarter.
The rehearsal dinner happens, and it is very nice for being held at a BBQ restaurant. Sammie seems to be getting along more with Phil than Hank. Meghan Markel and Hank dance for old time’s sake, at his rehearsal dinner. As the dance, Hank thinks it is a great time to tell Meghan Markel that he was going to propose. Sammie sees them and their chemistry and is starting to worry, she cuts in, and Meghan Markel runs off upset.
On their bench, Meghan Markel cries. Hank comes after her. He misses the couples toast inside to comfort the crying Meghan Markel. She tells him that she is in love with him (She does an excellent job here, I was surprised by her acting.) Sammie interrupts and screams at them. She accuses Meghan Markel of stealing her man, which she did. Sammie calls off the wedding by grabbing a mic and saying, “I’m calling off the wedding, and if you want to know why ask Amy Peterson.” Then Sammie speeds off erratically in her car.
Worst idea ever, Meghan Markel and Hank go to find Sammie. Leaving a confused Phil behind at the BBQ joint. Meghan Markel stays in the car while Hank handles his business. She watches Sammie hug Hank and rushes off upset.
Meghan Markel walks past the construction workers and runs into a local reporter named Slyvia. Slyvia goes live with Meghan Markel to talk about the canceled fireworks, she plugs the “website campaign.” and asks for donations. She needs a 4th of July Miracle! (They reach their goal.)
Phil comes home, and Meghan Markel breaks up with him. He isn’t upset and tells her that he never really thought she was the one. He thinks she belongs in Lakeside and is very understanding.
The next morning, Meghan Markel brings a cupcake to Sammie. Sammie is in her PJ’s and not having it. She still wants to call off the wedding and knows that Meghan Markel didn’t mean to hurt her. They promise to be best friends forever, but Sammie says that she may make her suffer a little bit longer. The cupcake cures everything, though, and they are BFF’s.
It is the 4th of July, and the fireworks are back on. The town prepares for the city picnic. Meghan Markel and Hank go for a walk and say I love you. The picnic is a huge success. I’m not sure if it is just Sammie’s wedding.
A real firework getting ready montage happens. Meghan Markel and her family all wear firemen coats and light off fireworks that aren’t that impressive because they are on TV. Meghan Markel turns in her article and her resignation. She will work full time as head of marketing for her family’s business.
As the fireworks go off, Sammie and Phil get together, they make a cute couple. More fireworks go off, and Meghan Markel casually mentions it would be a great time to propose. Hank does, on the day he was supposed to be married to Sammie. This movie is messed up. They kiss as fireworks continue to explode.
Minority Report: Meghan Markel, Elena, Andy, Sylvia. (Good POC representation in this movie, except that Meghan Markel is passing as white.)
🎇🎇🎇 (3 Fireworks)
🍷🍷🍷🍷🍷 (5 glasses of wine required.)
*Photo Credit: © 2014 Hallmark Crown Media