Christmas Next Door
Synopsis (via Hallmark)
Eric Randall, an author of bachelor lifestyle books, is left in charge of his young niece and nephew for the holidays. Eric turns to his neighbor April, a lover of all things Christmas, for help.
April and Eric are neighbors! (Well, they live two houses away.) April loves Christmas and goes WAY overboard on decorations. Eric drives a red sports car and throws rocking dude parties. At this dude party we get exposition in THE WEIRDEST WAY I’VE EVER SEEN ON HALLMARK. We get intercut scenes with Eric and his bro friends talking in the most awkward dialogue and April and her sister talking through the normal Hallmark exposition with shrill/cutesy acting. The whole sequence plays very heavily into gender roles. Here is what we learn:
Eric has a best selling cookbook and is on a bunch of magazines covers. His is working on his new book and hates Christmas.
April’s sister is pressuring her to audition for the viola in the orchestra. Because that is their dream as sisters. Apparently, April gets nervous and has the hiccups, so she hasn’t been able to audition before. April is a music teacher, “because you know what they say, those who can’t teach!”
At a fancy restaurant, Eric and his date are talking trash about April and how annoying she is because she she teaches kids music and is too loud. Too bad for them, April and her sister are the restaurant entertainment! To get back at them April plays her violin right next to their table and very sassily tells them off. Eric is amused; his red-headed Canadian girlfriend is not.
Then the snowstorm of the century happens and Eric’s sister, Anna, is stuck in Norway and unable to get back in town till after Christmas. Eric’s Mom was watching Anna’s kids and decides to fake the flu to get Eric to bond with his nephew (Liam) and niece (Chelsea)… So Eric goes over and picks them up in his Mom’s minivan. (No more sports car!)
When the kids arrive, they freak out that nothing is decorated and think he is obviously the WORST. (But really aren’t they?) The kids insist on getting the biggest Christmas Tree in the lot, and then recruit April to bring over decorations. Eric gets overwhelmed with emotion and sees April out. She reminds him of someone who he used to know and that is why he hates Christmas… Am I missing something here???
Eric only buys gift cards as gifts, because he is a garbage person, and the kids make him take them shopping. He brings his red-headed Canadian girlfriend along. She takes the kids to go see Santa while he meet-cutes back up with April and they go shopping for jewelry—“For his Mom”—but really, for future her, after they fall in love.
At Eric’s work holiday party, his agent asks him if he has finished his book. The deadline is looming and if he doesn’t finish he will be in breach of contract. Instead of hunkering down and getting his book done, he takes the kids with April to the ice skating rink! At the ice skating rink April admits that she has read his cookbooks and guides him to find his voice as a writer. Maybe he should write about growing up and not the bachelor persona her has created. After their ice skating rink date (With the kids) Eric admits that the reason he hates Christmas is because the girl who reminds him of April had fallen in love with someone else, when he was going to propose to her at Christmas…
April gets the courage from Eric (and his advice from Siri about how to get over stage-fright) to go to her audition—which she nails—and even convinces Eric to go around the neighborhood caroling. Cue the “Joy to the World” moment. They have such a great time together that they decide to watch a movie with the kids. Once they are back at the house, the red-headed Canadian girlfriend is there and they have the most amicable break up ever. They even hug goodbye. April is headed home and turns around just in time to see them hug and is heartbroken. She starts giving him the cold shoulder because she thinks he is still with red-headed Canadian.
Eric’s new manuscript is accepted and will be called Uncle Christmas: How Christmas Heals the Heart. While babysitting, April finds a present she assumes is for the red-headed Canadian not-girlfriend and tells him she can’t be with him anymore.
The whole family is finally together and Eric’s Mom admits her scheme. The family tells Eric, “Go get your girl,” so he goes to April’s work. He explains that he bought the necklace is meant for her, and maybe he is too.
She responds: “You don’t even write romance novels.”
Him: “I’d rather live one.”
They kiss. I died.
Jesse Metcalf’s hair in this movie was terrible! Full on Eddie Munster.
Fiona Gubelmann is very annoying.
🎄 (1 Christmas Tree)
🍷🍷🍷 🍷 (4 glasses of wine required)
*Photo Credit: © 2017 Crown Media United States, LLC