It’s Christmas in July on Hallmark Channel, but I still have to get through the June Wedding. This gem seems to be a Hallmark version of the JLO movie The Wedding Planner, although this one stars a blonde girl named Hope who is a dance teacher, specializing in wedding dances. I blame Dancing with the Stars for this trend of having to have amazing first dances. Even though I wanted to practice my first dance with my husband, we didn’t do it until the cocktail hour, and it was perfect and fine so I already have baggage about Hope’s chosen profession.
Hope’s Sassy Friend Cassidy is a Broadway dancer, and she’s opening soon. That is great to have backstory for the Sassy Friend. And we also find out that Hope is one of those who “can’t do, teach” and she has an ex named Peter who she had to dump because he wasn’t good in person for her.
After Opening Night, Hope tries to get backstage to see Sassy Friend, but SF forgot to per her name on the list. But we also have the meet cute of Hope and Mr. Gunderson, who is apparently NY’s most eligible bachelor who is now off the market (according to the article Hope was reading in the scene prior in her ridiculously expensive brownstone apartment. Bouncerman fawns all over Gunderson and wants to let him backstage even though he’s not on the list, and Hope is spunkily not having any of it. I don’t remember where Gunderson is from, but I do find him handsome. We also find out that Hope’s soon-to-be-hers dance studio is on 71st and Park – which puts it squarely in the RICHEST portion of the city, and again, I do not buy that she has the money to do that, unless mom and dad are those secret millionaires who don’t flaunt their wealth. Sassy Friend is trying to get Hope to do more choreographing and introduces her to the choreographer of her opened show, but Hope is trying to be a teacher, and she has to put those dreams aside. But you know Sassy Friends, they just think they know what’s best for you. We also learn that Gunderson’s fiance has ties to this show as well. Oh, we learn Gunderson’s name is Eric. Sassy Friend thinks he is SUPER handsome.
Eric’s father and fiance’s father owned a brokerage firm, and Adriana (the fiance) and Eric are now going to take it over and do whatever brokerage firms do but also plan a wedding – and his mother is going batsh–crazy on planning the wedding. The mothers want a 400+ person wedding, and Adriana is a very elegant brunette with big teeth who bows to the mom pressure of having a huge affair. But mom reminds Eric of how awful he is at dancing, and they’ve signed the couple up for dance lessons.
They have 2 months, Eric is rhythmically challenged, and the mothers want a performance level dance because they are on the board of the NYC Ballet. Adriana realizes that Eric is really, really bad, and he has now been forced to go to dance classes by himself 3 times a week…oh my goodness, is the chemistry between Eric and Hope going to make dancing much easier for him? I think so! Plus Adriana is perfectly fine running the business by herself while he’s cutting a rug, so that plot point is going to come back up.
Hope’s ritzy Park Ave dance studio has a sidewalk facing and is called Dancetopia. I don’t believe either of these things. We also learn that Eric invested in Sassy Friend’s Broadway show. Hope is impressed that he has multiple layers. Hope teaches Eric a box step and there’s much rejoicing. We also learn that Hope needs to get a loan for the dance studio, and Adriana has much more chemistry with blandly blondly handsome guy who works with her than Eric. Eric is distracted by his play business, and Adriana would rather go home after a long day, drink wine, and then do more work on math and finance. I already think I would never be friends with this woman. But awkward business conversation will have to wait, the moms and wedding planner have arrived with orchids. Eric’s mom passively aggressively tells Eric to shut up about opinions and do the flowers himself. Mom sucks.
Hope gets Eric to meet her at a wedding, and Adriana isn’t there, so Hope talks a lot about love and how no one really cares if the dance is Fred Astaire / Ginger Rogers quality. But then they stay for the whole wedding. I find that tacky – but Hope finds out about Eric’s floral issues, and says she’ll help. His wedding color is Celadon Blue. I had to google what that color is. It’s not the best color for a wedding.
Mothers invade the dance lesson and are super over-bearing. I really want to throat punch those moms.
Eric wants to do stuff that makes people think, and makes a difference, and Adriana is in love with all the money stuff. She’s really happy but Eric is so not. We also learn that Hope is still waiting to be qualified on her loan, but someone else wants to buy the dance studio. She also is helping Eric with the flowers, and she said the florist was right by the studio. Her studio is on Park and 71st. They meet in Washington Square Park, which is in Greenwich Village, no where near Park and 71st. Oh, people who find locations for movies, we do know where things are, and we call shenanigans.
Eric has an opportunity to be a theater producer, and Hope could be an assistant choreographer in London, and both of them agree to take a chance on what could potentially make them happy/change their lives. And Hope gets a call to put together an audition piece for the London job.
Eric was a dual-major of Theater and Finance. I do not believe this man exists.
Hope’s audition piece is a tango with a lot more arm choreography and a lot less foot choreography. I don’t like it.
Hope now takes Eric to Central Park, and tells him to get into the pond. He has a very tight suit on. It’s Super Weird. I refuse to believe that dancers need to resort to this type of teaching to get one guy to do a waltz. But we are rewarded by swoony eyes from Eric at Hope.
Adriana has to try on her dress to see if she could dance in it. Adriana’s brown hair is super smooth and doesn’t move. She also feels a lot of pressure from the mothers to have everything perfect, and she’s worried about her relationship with Eric. She’s a smart girl, but she doesn’t understand why he wants more, and Adriana flat out refuses to get into the Central Park pond, and so Eric realizes that Adriana is not the girl for him. But we still have an hour of this, so this realization is going to be super s-l-o-w.
Hope has second thoughts about buying the dance studio. Her mother is very supportive about anything she wants to do, even if it is different from the plan. Eric is with his dad, and somehow I don’t think he’ll be that supportive, but let’s see. Nope, I’m right. Dad wants Eric to sit back and make money and shut up about his dreams of theater.
Eric wears a lot of light grey suits. I get that it’s summer, but I find that the number of grey suits are just way too many. Eric and Adriana’s wedding planner is a hugely pretentious woman with a very tight ponytail, and sends Eric on a homework assignment to hear a band, so Eric has to bring Hope with him. The lighting is very pink and the dance is pretty and Eric is so in love with Hope it’s amazing that we don’t see it in closed captioning at the bottom of the screen. He also says it’s so easy with Hope, and not easy with Adriana. Duh.
Hope got approved for the loan! It must be a million-dollar loan because how else can she afford a Park Avenue address? Eric and Adriana have a conversation about priorities – Adriana skips out on the dance lesson and the cake tasting in order to take care of a client. Eric (again s-l-o-w realization) is not thrilled. But this also gets him to take Hope to his wedding cake tasting. Hope’s wardrobe of strappy heels and sun dresses are amazing.
Hope is not going to buy the studio and the dance lady in charge is fine with it. That’s why we watch movies, to see people do impractical things without the thought about health insurance or 401Ks. She’s off to her choreography audition and Eric is there for moral support. After the audition, they’re both too keyed up, so they go for a walk on the Brooklyn bridge in her strappy shoes.
Where is it in her dance teacher’s job description that she also has to be a relationship therapist? She gives him a lot of advise, and now Eric is back talking to Adriana, because he’s not happy. He wants to be a producer. She is not supportive of his decision whatsoever, and her even-keel voice (does this girl even know how to emote, or is there way too much botox in her face that it has stretched to her vocal chords?) says that his decision changes everything.
Re-enter Sassy Friend to tell Hope that she should go snag that Eric Gunderson guy.
The manly office of Eric Gunderson is mint-green. It is the ugliest office ever. He’s having the big talk with his dad. Eric: I don’t want this job, dad, it doesn’t make me happy. Dad: because it’s a job, no one’s job makes you happy all the time. Eric: But I could be happier somewhere else. Ugh. It’s so easy to say ‘I just want to be happy’ when you don’t have to worry about buying groceries. But Dad says give it a year to see what you really want and Eric reluctantly agrees.
Hope gets the job in London! She has to say good-bye to Eric. There are a lot of soulful looks but he’s so happy for her.
Adriana and Eric dance very stiffly with each other, and because she messes up once, Adriana says maybe we should call the whole dance thing off. Eric is suitably pissed off about this. Is there even more evidence of them not being suited to each other or are we going to pile more on?
Hope arrives in London! London doesn’t look like that.
Eric is back at the pond in a very ugly tan suit. He’s remembering his dance in the water. But then he rushes back to his office, where Adriana is AGAIN sitting close together with the blondly blandly handsome guy. But Eric and Adriana agree that they’re not right for each other. They are both happy with the conversation. Her voice never goes above a calm tone and her hair doesn’t get messed up once, even though she says he deserves to be happy.
Hope is at rehearsal and she’s wearing a chiffon dress. That is not a thing real choreographers do during rehearsal. But Eric shows up in London! He’s also announced that there is a creative arm to the financial brokerage house. I do not believe that is a thing. But he’s now producing the play in London first, and so he’ll be back in the city where Hope is (literally and figuratively)!
They dance on the stage with just the ghost light on. I swear some of their dance choreography comes right from Dirty Dancing. They kiss and The End.
So. This was … not bad. Eric was scruffily handsome and Hope was spunkily optimistic. But after it was over I switched over to Last of the Mohicans and Daniel Day-Lewis and Madeleine Stowe have way more chemistry just looking at each other in the dim light than Eric and Hope did in 2 hours of the movie I just watched. But whatever. I appreciated the fact that they did go on location in New York – they made the city look gorgeous. I still have a lot more on the roster, but this was a nice way to begin a Saturday, and I was glad to watch it, you know, just so you don’t have to.