A brand new Valentine’s Day Movie! With Lacey Chabert and some guy, and it takes place at a winery? What’s not to love about this? My Secret Valentine it is.
Chloe works in a restaurant and looks very professional doing it. Did you know that Oregon has beautiful wines that need to be experienced? Because apparently they do. Chloe’s dad just called, and he wants her to come home, he’s got some news for her, but he didn’t say why. Because that is the way to make your child not worry about a thing, tell them you want to talk but not say why. She just got offered a semi-promotion by her friend Maggie to run a second restaurant, but she wants something of her own. So she takes some time and heads home, to Grange Family Winery.
Cut to New York, where Seth’s company scored a meeting with Grange Family Winery. This is a huge opportunity for his company, and there’s a VP position in the offering for him if he gets the deal. So, there are the stakes.
Chloe is home, and there’s so much going on at the winery, which she hasn’t been back to since her mom died, or something. She and her old friend, Leeanne, stop by this old cabin that looks fabulous – but that needs work. It’s been set up on a home share site, and with the wine festival coming up, it was snapped up. Good real estate can’t go to waste.
Now it’s time for Dad’s News! He’s going to retire, and finally tells Chloe about the meeting with Seth’s company. You know he totally wants Chloe to take over the winery, but he’s going to be passive aggressive about it and not tell her what he wants, until she figures it out on her own. Seth’s company is the ‘box wine people’ and her winery is very prestige, so you know they are going to hate each other, right?
They have a meet cute at a convenience store – the only place that’s open, until it decides to close while they are there. They have a kismet moment when they both realize they like popcorn and chocolate. Who doesn’t? It’s not a unique thing, people.
She’s totally got Seth’s number about him being a slick salesman who thinks his razzle dazzle will get the job done. Good for you, Chloe!
In this rustic cabin, there’s a chalkboard. She wrote an opening note about how it’s not perfect, but it’s home, and now some random “Handyman” has written back to say that he fixed stuff. What are the odds that Seth is the Handyman? I mean, duh, right? She’s going to be all swept off her feet because of chalkboard notes, and then fall for the handsome exterior of the slick salesman. But while she’s there she breaks a cabinet door and doesn’t even bother to fix it. Seriously, I could fix that and I don’t ever do that kind of stuff.
Seth can’t sleep. Maybe because he’s sleeping on the couch when clearly the cabin has bedrooms. But now he’s up and fixing things again. The next morning he tries to win over Chloe, and gets her to admit that he’s charming. Maybe because he brought pastry? I always think people who bring desserts are charming. He also sweet talks her with a five year plan with enhanced medical benefits for the people. Bu the also has pressure from his boss who calls him while she’s on the elliptical machine. WHO DOES THAT?
Seth is trying hard to get to know the business and they have a lot of flirty banter. He rides a tractor and she can’t handle it. But then she talks about wine and it’s like she’s reading a sommelier patter sheet. So duh, she’s the one to take over the winery! She just can’t make that decision yet, because the movie is only 43 minutes in.
Chloe is amazed at the chalkboard notes left by Handyman. It’s like he’s in her head! But you know what this cabin also does not have? A fridge. How do you keep your white wine chilled?
Seth does not endear himself to the locals when he asks for kale salad instead of mashed potatoes, and a microbrew, not a glass of wine. That was a dumb throwaway scene, except at the end, it looks like he just charmed his way to getting a free pie the next day. Guess he is very charming.
Chloe has left her handyman a sentimental cuckoo clock to fix. There is no reason other than sentimentality to fix a cuckoo clock. They are annoying.
Seth and Chloe go on deliveries in a big red truck that I refuse to believe Lacey Chabert knows how to drive. Seth has a lot of accents to unpack and he’s very helpful in getting the snobby restaurant owner to buy more wine from her. It’s a good thing no one sees them leave in the big red truck together, or else they could call her out for collusion. They have an awkward hug where they feel the feels but don’t know what to do with them yet.
They have a heart-to-heart in the bed red truck, more feels, more conflicted feelings. Seth better go fix that cuckoo clock if he wants to get more than a handshake. More chalkboard notes, more misspelling – Lacey Chabert doesn’t know how to spell “hurt.” But she loves these little notes, she’s downright giddy about her little notes! But now she’s resorting to sleuthing about who Handyman is, because it just can’t be Seth!
She sets up a date with “Handyman” at a local restaurant, and sees Seth there, but it just isn’t him, right? But Seth figures it out because of her wine order (better than a book with a rose in it) and suddenly we’re in You’ve Got Mail, and The Shop Around the Corner and The Good Old Summertime and She Loves Me (all the same plot). She summarizes her issues with Seth and he doesn’t tell her that he’s Handyman. This is where I have issues with this plot – why is it ok for him to lie to her?
Why does Seth continue to have conversations with his boss via FaceTime in a public place? That’s not good business sense, right? His boss is not pleased that it is taking a lot more time to wrap up this deal than it should. Get it done, Seth! But in the meantime, Seth is getting to know the whole place, and the locals, and he did get his pie, so that’s all good, right?
Chloe’s dad is going to make a decision the day of the Festival – and now Chloe and Seth are walking around this very tacky Valentine’s Festival. They win a wine tasting contest, where they have to feed each other food while they are blindfolded – it’s odd. And now Dad is announcing that he’s made his decision about Seth’s company buying his winery, and Chloe is devastated, because she’s realized her passion IS the winery. If only she realized it sooner!
Back she goes to the cabin, and voila, the cuckoo clock is fixed. And it’s only then that she realized who’s been staying at the cabin, because Seth has ripped up the contract Chloe’s dad just signed, and she just spilled wine on them, and now she’s racing to see him at the place with the pie.
Awww, she’s more important than business to him, isn’t that great? She makes him want to be a better person. Oh for God’s sake, kiss him already Lacey Chabert! And she actually says, “I was secretly hoping it was you all along.” Ugh, I hate that line.
And we’re done with this one. As adaptations of The Shop Around The Corner plot, it was…meh. There was a lot of wine drinking, and talk about back notes and fruit overtones. I sat through it, just so you don’t have to.