Wrapped for Christmas (2017 Lifetime)

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Wrapped for Christmas

Listen to the Lifetime Uncorked Podcast! 

Stars: Tatyana Ali, Brendan Fehr, Kim Fields, Jasmine Guy, Joseph Marcell, Dan Lauria, Jackee Harry, and Mindy Sterling

Synopsis (via Lifetime)

Christmas is Heather Nash’s least favorite time of year. As the Manager of the upscale Shops at Town Center, she has to be the annual Christmas Grinch and cancel the leases of under-performing stores by the end of the year. One afternoon, her 8-year-old niece Molly, asks the mall Santa to help find a boyfriend for her beloved aunt. Unbeknownst to Molly, and Heather, the mall Santa is just a substitute filling in and is actually Ryan McKee, a lawyer-turned-artist who is decorating the mall for Christmas and trying to find his way after quitting his job and losing his fiancée. As Heather and Ryan begin to fall for each other, they each don’t realize the other’s true identity: Heather who is tasked with closing a failing toy store run by Ryan’s Aunt Patty and Ryan who is too ashamed to tell Heather that he is the acting mall Santa. Will Molly’s Christmas wish come true, or will Heather be stuck with another year alone as the Town Center Grinch?

Thoughts

At the Shops at Town Center things are going well, until bigger/better mall opens up and is driving away sales. Jackee says that any store not meeting the quota will be closed for stores that can compete in this amazon.com/online shopping world.  Heather works in the corporate offices and is up for the promotion from Jackee Harry!

“Women don’t just shop at malls, they run them!” Jackee says.

Ryan (My OG crush from Rosewell) is working at his aunts toy store in the mall. He isn’t living up to his full potential (he used to be a lawyer) and his passion in to be an artist. With a dead Mom, an estranged father, and a materialistic ex-girlfriend he doesn’t have anyone this holiday season, but himself.  (And he is also friend’s with the mall Santa.

At the Christmas tree lot, Heather and Ryan (both in proper outerwear) order the same drink at the stand. (Mexican Hot Chocolate) and Kim Fields pushes Heather to go ask him on a date, because she isn’t getting any younger. She doesn’t go after him, but as fate would have it they run into each other again at the mall food court, spilling food all over each other.

At family dinner, Heather talks with her parents and sister about “Fri Guy” and tells them she is looking for a guy who get her. Her family tells her they just want her to be happy. When Heathers niece, Molly, overhears that Heathers might wish for a boyfriend fro Christmas, she gets an idea.

At the mall, Santa needs a quick replacement and Ryan steps in as the afternoon Santa. Heather and her niece decide to stop at the to see the mall Santa. Molly wishes for her aunt Heather to get a boyfriend for Christmas and she even tells him all about her:

She has a MBA, reads A Christmas Carol every year, and can’t cook (so her boyfriend better be good in the kitchen.) On his way out of the mall, Ryan runs into Heather and almost tells her want her niece told him, but she is frazzled and has to take a call. Another missed opportunity! Ryan’s aunt pushes him to go after Heather if he wants. So, he goes to the bookstore and buys a copy of A Christmas Carol (Only after asking for a book of Christmas Carols… how this guy became a lawyer and doesn’t know about Dickens.) Ryan also gets a lot of information about the book and author from a nerd book store worker.

Ryan and Heather run into each other for a third time, and as they say the thirds time is a charm. Heather sees his book and they strike up a conversation! She is impressed with his knowledge and agrees to go on a date with him. We get a traditional Romcom getting ready for the date montage, because these two haven’t been on a proper date in a long time AND they are at a mall. (We can’t miss the opportunity for shots of trying on lots of clothing and shopping. Kind of made me want to go to a mall… it as weird)

At the date things get off to a cute start!

Ryan: You look Beautiful

Heather: You do too… I mean (embarrassed/Nervous giggle.)

They are adorable and have extremely good chemistry. They discuss where they are in life, their set backs and successes. They also talk about family christmases and traditions. The date does so well, Ryan even stops by her job the next day to bring her flowers. When Heather has to take a meeting, Ryan colors with Molly, the niece. (Don’t forget he is an aspiring artist.) Heather is being forced by Jackee to close some stores that are under performing. (Including Ryan’s store)

On their second date, they go to a Christmas forest with beautiful Christmas lights and carols arrive! IT IS A CHRISTMAS MIRACLE, their lips are in sync AND the romantic leads actually kiss mid-movie. Hallmark Channel this is not.

On their third date, at Ryan’s house, the two have their secrets weighing on them. Heather needs to come clean about her closing his Aunt’s store and Ryan needs to come clean about how he got his ice breaker clues. Instead they bond even more over failed cooking AND sharing more Christmas memories. Ryan even shows Heather his art, including a potentially embarrassing painting he did of when he first met Heather at the Christmas tree lot. Heather loves it and I love them.

Secrets can’t stay hidden forever. Ryan confronts Heather after finding the foreclosure letter and he is hurt she wont give his aunt a chance. Then Heather realizes that he was mall Santa and a liar. We get a sad break up montage in which Ryan tries to paint, but can’t and Heather tries to read, but can’t.

Heather is inspired and pitches a new idea to save the store and gets the promotion, however she will have to relocate to Seattle! Will she take the job, even though she has feelings for Ryan? No. Heather negotiates with Jackee and gets the title of Vice President and a 25% raise, with no relocation.

Molly, is an 8 year old who can’t let a Christmas wish go. She orchestrates a romantic surprise for Ryan to win Heather back. It’s the winter wonderland that Heather dreamed of. Ryan wanted to show her the Christmas magic that she can feel as an adult. With all her family and friends support (they literally cheer her on) Heather and Ryan kiss under the mistletoe.

She gets the promotion AND the man, that would NEVER happen on Hallmark.

Side Note

Loved the family dynamic in this. Heather going to her family and talking things through is something that doesn’t really happen on Hallmark… because the romantic leads family is usually dead.

POC Alert: Flipping all racial tropes of Hallmark on their head, the majority of the cast is a minority without being about race. It can be done! POC can be romantic leads…

Hallmark’s 2 Million per film budget is not being spent here at Lifetime. Lighting and set design a much more TV and less cinematic.

The faces Jasmine Guy was pulling in this movie. Hahaha! So great.

Overall rating

🎄🎄🎄🎄🎄(5 Christmas Trees, I added an extra tree for Jackee Harry who is an American Treasure.)

🍷🍷(2 glasses of wine required)

 

*Photo Credit: © 2017 Lifetime

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