The blurb on this one is that she meets someone doing community service. What did she do? I guess we’ll find out in Valentine Ever After, starring two people I’ve never heard of, but who know how to ride horses without falling off, so good for them.
Julia is an aspiring lawyer, whose dad has mentioned her mother twice (and how proud she would be) in the space of a 2 minute conversation. She also has dinner plans with Gavin – who is the resident douche because he has his bluetooth on at the dinner table. And he proposes with the help of a 2-piece mariachi band. His proposal literally says, “If there’s one thing you know about me, it’s that I pick winners.” And the ring is hideous. But she says yes.
Her future in-laws are planning the wedding already, and her whole life, so you know she’s going to have a huge panic attack soon.
Julia also has a friend (not a sassy friend), Sydney, who is dealing with her own inner turmoil, about a cheating boyfriend (whose name is Chad, so of course he cheated on her because that’s what Chads do) and a bitchy cousin and she just wants to leave town until it all blows over. So Julia offers to go with her to Wyoming to chill out for the weekend. Gavin has issues about the fact that she planned this trip without asking his permission, but she goes anyway.
Damn, Wyoming is beautiful. Or, at least whatever this movie says is Wyoming is beautiful. Not that I want to live there, especially in the winter, where their car breaks down in the middle of nowhere with no signal, but where there is a cowboy on a horse who welcomes them to spend the night at his family’s house. Wow, Wyoming cowboys are nice! His name is Ben Thomas, just the sort of nice normal name that is not Chad or Gavin.
Julia announces that she got engaged, and Ben immediately has a regretful look on his face. You just met her, Ben, why are you upset already????
They end up at a bar, and Sydney is typical big city girl who flips out about guys in chaps, and there is a barmaid who wants to get her hooks into Ben, but he says “they’re just friends.” Sure you are, Ben. And there is another jealous girl who flips wine at Sydney and long story short, they both ruin the most important historical monument – an ugly-ass statue that they keep IN A FREAKING BAR.
This town has a Kafka court, and the judge sentences them 30 days community service for wrecking this ugly statue, for which they both have to spend at Ben’s worker’s cabins so they don’t have to stay in jail. These cabins don’t have heat. I’m pretty sure this cruel and unusual punishment. He gives them a space heater, which they leave on all night, and that is a clear fire hazard.
Gavin seems to think that this accidental breakage of an ugly-ass statue is her way of flaking out of the marriage. It’s all about Gavin. Oh, sorry, it’s all abooot Gavin. He’s Canadian. What she does reflects his family, doesn’t she know that? Ugh, this guy sucks.
Apparently, Ben has financial difficulties, about which Julia overhears. She gets serious face and resolves to do something. But first, they have to do some community service on a farm, which they are not very good at. Lots of manure.
The girls offer money to Ben’s mom, but Ben is way too proud to accept it. He wants to open a dude ranch but they don’t have the capital. And Julia learns this while pretending to cook with his mom in their kitchen.
Since they both are awful at manual labor, they are now helping at the hospital. Sydney has to babysit an old curmudgeon, and Julia has to mop floors. The hospital is in desperate need of funds, and Julia decides that their community service should be fund-raising! So, Sydney gets to go back to Chicago to sell raffle tickets to raise funds for the hospital, and the winner of the raffle gets an all-expense paid trip to Ben’s dude ranch that doesn’t exist yet. Ben doesn’t like this idea but he sure does like Julia, so he’s gonna let them do it. Fundraiser weekend is set for Valentine’s Day! They’re a team now.
Julia is all excited about this, and it’s more excited than she’s been about anything, you guys. But is she excited about the fundraising project, or about Ben’s baby blue eyes?
Her contribution to this whole thing, aside from having the idea, is to build a website for the ranch. It involves a lot of playing with font size. She’s also questioning her whole life of being a lawyer because of the clean mountain air.
Sydney is doing a good job selling raffle tickets, but Julia needs to fix up the website – so back to the bar they go for a photo session on an iPhone. Ben and Julia are dancing together and they are having a huge romantic moment that they both don’t know what to do with. She’s in love with Ben but engaged to Gavin and she’s having another panic attack about it AND THEN GAVIN SHOWS UP AT THE BAR! Cue Sad Trombone noise as Ben walks away.
So, Gavin tries to get all smootchy at the cabin that Julia is staying in, but then Ben shows up, saying that they are renovating her cabin in the morning, and Gavin has to stay at a whole ‘nother house entirely. Way to block, Ben! And Julia is sure relieved. She says she wants to get back to her life in Chicago, but when she’s there, she wants to focus on what’s really important to her – which at this stage of the movie still includes Gavin. But we will see! She’s super conflicted.
Julia brought a lot of winter hats with her – this is like the 5th different one she’s had on. She went for a ride and got lost, and Ben had to go find her. He shows uber-concern on his blandly handsome face, and she gives a speech about how she “doesn’t know what’s going on between them, but she’s going to marry Gavin because he’s a good person and she already said yes.” No mention about being in love because duh, she’s in love with Ben!!!
Cut to a week later, and it’s Valentine’s Day Weekend. Julia’s super stressed and not sleeping, and Ben is all droopy in love. He’s all proud of the work he’s done on the cabins, and he calls her extraordinary. She calls the place extraordinary, and almost says if she’d have her own way, she’d never leave, but she doesn’t get those words out. It’s all so much, you know?
All the raffle winners are at Ben’s ranch, and Gavin shows up in a purple shirt and tie and looks stupid. Julia overhears Gavin be a dick and say that if she gets a taste of do-gooding that cramps his style, he’ll have to put his foot down, like it’s 1954 and she’s spent too much of her allowance. But spunky Julia has gotten her voice back and will not put up with such male chauvinism. She gives the ugly ring back, and Gavin doesn’t want to take the hint, but finally does, and Bye Bye Gavin!
(And of course, because we need a more dramatic ending, even though she just dumped him, Ben just sees the two of them separate from a close discussion, and he gets the wrong impression and walks away with a very stoic sad expression.)
As part of this gala event, they are going to auction off some cowboys. Ben is the first cowboy, and the bitchy waitress from the beginning has her eye on Ben, but Julia will not be swayed from bidding on her man (she gets a loan from her dad and his mom, and no one has any patience for the bitchy waitress).
They finally have the conversation they needed to have five minutes ago about how she’s not getting married to Gavin anymore.
So overall, this was kind of lame. It had horses, and snow, and lots of bluetooth conversations, but not enough heart. Hallmark, better step it up for the other 3 Valentine movies I have in my DVR. Don’t bother with this one, I already watched it, just so you don’t have to.