Merry & Bright (2019 Hallmark)
Cast: Jodie Sweetin & Andrew Walker
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Synopsis (via Hallmark)
Cate (Jodie Sweetin), CEO of the Merry & Bright Candy Cane Company, meets Gabe (Andrew Walker) during the busy Christmas season. She assumes Gabe is the suitor her well-meaning mother is trying to set her up with when, in reality, he works for Empire Corporate Recovery, which has been hired to take a closer look at Merry & Bright’s operation and find ways to make the company more profitable. As Cate and Gabe begin to work together, they find ways to elevate the business and find that they have more in common than savvy business sense.
We start in Britewell, Ohio, in a candy cane factory. Stephanie Tanner/Cate is the new CEO of the town’s candy cane factory. Her Grandma left her the company, and she reluctantly took on the responsibility. She has recently been through a breakup. Her meddling mother has been arranging dates for her daughter to go on.
Hunky hunk Andrew Walker/Gabe works for Empire Corporation in New York. He is on a work trip to Britewell for two weeks and doesn’t want to be. He is staying at the Britewell Inn and meets Cate. He recognizes her from her company website, and she thinks he is someone her mother’s dates. The mix up doesn’t last long, and they realize that they will be working together to make the factory more profitable. (Cate doesn’t want to buy cheaper ingredients or lay off any employees.)
There is a random B plot with Cate’s mother and a dog? Poor Sharon Lawrence has to act with a dog the whole movie. (She is a four-time Emmy nominee!)
Cate and Gabe start over and promise to give the partnership a shot. He recommends expanding the product line.
Christmas tree lighting happens, and Cate invites Gabe to join her. He declines but shows up and ends up getting to press the button. (What?! He isn’t the POC mayor!) Cate notices her mother walking the around ceremony carrying a gym bag, little does she know a dog is hiding in it.
Gabe invites Cate to dinner. They go to the fanciest restaurant in town, which also happens to be the restaurant where she got proposed to by her ex, Josh. She turned him down because she needed to focus on running the factory. Gabe also broke off an engagement recently. After dinner, Cate gives Gabe a small box of peppermint chocolates she made. He tastes one and has a light bulb idea! He knows an investor who would be interested in a chocolate line.
Candy making montage happens with a flour fight! Afterward, they kick back by the fireplace and talk about Cate wants a dog. She thanks Gabe for everything. He tells her, “For someone who didn’t want to be here. I’m happy to be here.” Then he mentions that they will be going to New York to pitch the idea in a few days.
In New York, Cate makes her pitch to a no-nonsense investor. She gives him an attitude right back. The pitch makes her reinvest in the company. Later that night, Gabe takes Cate to his mother’s party. (She is also the CEO of Empire Corporation.) They dance to Christmas music while she tells him about her parent’s divorce. It is soooo romantic. He shows her a painting that his dad painted when he was a kid. It reminds them of Britewell, OH. They get caught up in the moment and kiss! (The movie isn’t even over!) Cate immediately lists the reasons why it won’t work, ruining the magic.
The investor wants to take on Merry and Bright Candy Canes and make it Merry and Bright Chocolates. Cate doesn’t want to give up on her Grandma’s vision. Cate decides to make different flavored candy canes instead. (Sugar Plum, Egg Nog, Key Lime, and Gingerbread flavors.) Gabe brings the agreement for Cate to sign, but she refuses to sign it. Gabe doesn’t know her, and he doesn’t know what she wants.
At the Britewell Jubilee, Cate gets a call from the investor. He loves the flavored candy canes and decides to ditch the chocolate and distribute the new candy canes. Cate’s mother also brings the dog she has been hiding. Cate immediately gives the dog back and dances with Gabe. They have such cute chemistry.
One year later, the flavored candy canes are a hit. They even have pumpkin spice! Gabe proposes to Cate at the end.
Minority Report: Mailwoman. Little girl at the end of the movie.
Spangler Candy in Bryan, OH, is the real-life town most similar to Britewell.
Cate’s assistant looks exactly like her.
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*Photo Credit: © 2019 Crown Media United States, LLC