Even though it’s hot, and the thought of something cool is alluring, I just can’t watch a “Christmas in July” movie quite yet. I will save that for a day when Satan’s butt has just sat down on earth and it’s over 95 degrees. That being said, today’s installment is like the movie Ghost, but not really. At least, that’s what I get from the TV Guide blurb. It’s Hello, It’s Me, starring always a favorite Kellie Martin and that guy from Wedding Bells. Here’s hoping.
We open with fake “home movie” footage of a lovely family day at the beach – Kellie’s the mom, there’s a dad who’s wearing a hoodie at the beach, and two kids. They love each other so much. Dad says it’s the best day of his life every day – so I guess he never has a bad sinus migraine or anything like that. He is going to take the boat out one more time before packing it in, but it’s nighttime, and it’s raining, and he’s not home…uh oh. He won’t ever come home. Camera pulls back on her grief, so I guess she’s saving those tears for later in the movie.
And it’s 2 years later.
Mom is now doing a lot of cookie baking, as it seems to be some kind of business endeavor, but she’s so frazzled she’s burnt some. If she is a professional baker, or at least a semi-professional baker, I would think she would have a good cookie scoop and not two spoons to do the cookie batter like she’s Caroline Ingalls. She’s a little out of step with her kids, too, which I can only assume it’s because she’s a single mom who’s trying to juggle it all while missing her fantastic husband and she just needs someone to mansplain her into a new frame of mind? I’m sorry, am I getting a little annoyed already at this movie?
Pilgrimage to the beach where they last saw their dad and their car breaks down. While they are trying to get their mammoth boxes of cookies from the back of their old car to a cab, they almost get run over by the guy from Wedding Bells, who is in a suit at the beach, and who has ruined all the cookies. He offers to pay for them, and she turns him down, which makes him smile, because he’s a rich guy who apparently never meets people who tell him no when speaking about money.
Mom has made it to her affair, which is at some kind of swanky mansion. There her boss is a Sassy Friend. Also at this swanky mansion affair is rich dude from the beach, who has an overbearing mom who keeps trying to set him up with people. His name is James, and his mom set him up with a Nordic Princess named Susan Slater who is very pushy and who is a lifestyle blogger and if James doesn’t run for the hills in two seconds – called it. Susan Slater is dateless.
Sassy Friend is encouraging Mom – I think her name is Annie – to do more creative things in the kitchen, for when she opens her bakery, which Annie has basically shoved over onto the Boulevard of Broken Dreams. We also find out that James is the one who owns the swanky mansion, he’s tickled pink to see Annie again, and he’s got a fully stocked – like Pinterest-level organized pantry of candy in glass jars. Annie and James have nice chemistry, and he’s decided to ditch the party to watch Annie bake dark chocolate s’mores with rosemary in them – they have some meaningful looks – he finds out she’s a widow and Sassy Friend is all “Hey girrrrrl.”
James had Annie’s car fixed, and Sassy Friend says that Annie needs to say thank you. They are in New York State, because it’s a 631-fake number. But instead of calling James, she calls her husband (Andre)’s voice mail. AND here’s where we get the dead husband calling her from beyond the grave – she thinks she hears her husband say her name. He also says “Time,” and Annie is now distraught in her kitchen. That is a lot of movie before the first commercial break.
The daughter, Ella, is a very sullen teenager and I feel like I need to slap her.
Oh, snap! Annie is trying to tell Sassy Friend about her ghostly encounter from the night before, and Sassy Friend mentions the “Montauk Medium” and how ridiculous her hair is. I wonder who they could be talking about! Sassy Friend also gets James to come by Annie’s house – which is a gorgeous Victorian with a wrap-around front porch. He brings by her wedding ring that she left at his house, and he also brings her some old weird candy bars. I do love Kellie Martin – she’s very natural.
The kids are starving for male attention, and it’s not written very well. We see son Milo grabbing on to James pathetically and Ella gets even more sullen when James says something weird about a made up comic. Props to the costumer in this movie that didn’t give Ella some kind of thick framed glasses or Doc Martens to prove she’s into comics.
Montage of James making a cardboard rocket ship for Milo while Annie just stands there and leans against the porch. And Ella finds out that James has some street cred in the comic book world, but when Annie says something, Sullen Ella comes out to play. And now Sullen Annie comes out when James brings up the bakery she wants but thinks she can’t have. Sassy Friend, what are you doing to Annie? You are sending her right back down her Andre spiral.
James’s mother keeps pushing Boring Susan on to her son. Give it a rest, Mom. He gets out of a dinner with Susan by a text from Milo pretending to be Annie – he’s totally Parent Trapping his mom into a date. James arrives at the house and brings wine and ice cream. Unfortunately, all they have is buttered noodles. That is a dream meal – when I worked in an office with a cafeteria, I would mark all the dates they served buttered noodles with gold stars. Anyway. James loves that her family is so “real” although I would like to point out that no one lights that many candles for an evening meal in the backyard. I counted at least 40.
James cleans her kitchen while Annie puts Milo to bed. That is a very, very nice gesture, James! I approve. James then moves in for a kiss but is interrupted by Ghost Andre calling on Annie’s phone, which freaks Annie out to no end, thinking that Andre is calling to be mad at her about liking someone else. He also says “Yes.” More grief while Annie sits on the floor. But that doesn’t stop her from making a date to meet James the next day, to which she wears a lace skirt and a tank top. Yeah, that’s what you wear to a non-date when you’re not ready for a relationship.
James gets Annie to agree to take his help in a cafe location on Main Street – she’s spooked into it, actually, because James says, “All you have to say is Yes,” WHICH IS WHAT GHOST ANDRE SAID!!!
So, now we get James and Annie painting and doing bakery related chores, which includes an argument about who was going to playfully splatter paint on whom, a trope in all romantic movies if ever there was one. They are actually quite cute together. What I don’t believe is that Annie plans all sorts of bakery related cleaning in stacked heels.
She also feeds him a maple bacon donut. Hmmmm. Donuts.
Bakery opens. She named it after her kids. Ella is not so sullen. James also gets his mother to come to the grand opening and she’s super passive-aggressive about James “slumming” with Annie, and mentions his girlfriend, Susan. Annie gets super jealous about James and Susan, and he’s got to tell her basically that he’s really into Annie, and they have more longing looks, and Ella is pissed watching them and breaks a plate. You know, as you do.
Ella is so hormonal and rude and why Annie can’t see why her daughter is upset is beyond me, although girls are insane from age 13-18, so there’s that. But now she’s seen James kiss her mom, and Ella is going to run away because she’s written so transparently.
Annie keeps being a yo-yo with James – see, she promised to love Andre forever, and she can’t fall for someone else – BUT SHE DID!!! Props to Kellie Martin for the sad eyes. They get to kissing, and the phone rings and she thinks it’s Andre and she says his name out loud which you don’t do when you’re kissing a guy named James.
Called it – Ella ran away – and they call the police, and don’t go search for her. There are two places she could be – at the beach where her dad died, or in NYC like Tom Hanks in the movie Big. It’s option B.
Annie tells James about Ghost Andre and the phone – which only happens during lighting storms, and he says he believes her, and then experiences Ghost Andre telling him where Ella is – at the fake Comic-Con in NYC which is at a place called “The Opera House” which is not anywhere a thing in NYC. James finds Ella, and she’s bratty and annoying, and James has to state that he really likes all of them and he’s not going to go anywhere. And James’s street cred goes through the roof because James knows a major comic book writer and now Ella likes him a lot. FYI this is the lamest fake Comic-Con ever.
Annie’s back on the martyr side of her romantic yo-yo and has to say good-bye to James because she can’t risk her heart again. THE SAD TIMES FOR EVERYONE. Even Ella.
You know who isn’t having The Sad Times? James’s WASPy Mom. She calls Annie “Amy” and “Cookie Lady” – both names that are insulting. Finally, though, James gets to tell his mother that he’s unhappy being a rich WASPy guy and wants to have a home and a real life. Mom also gets to confess that her arranged marriage with James’s father wasn’t really ever happy. That’s a great thing to tell your broken-hearted son. Mom of the Year!
Man, the girl playing Ella is not a good actress. She calls Annie out on the stupidity of breaking up with James, because Annie was finally coming back to herself. Turns out, her sullenness and awful teenager vibes were because she was worried about Annie all the time. Annie says Andre would like Ella to be happy, and Ella is like, hey mom, listen to that advice, and storms out. She calls Andre on the magic phone, and then it starts to thunder, so she drives out to the fateful beach for the lightning storm and one last call with Ghost Andre.
Ghost Andre tells her to “Love James.” And guess who shows up at the beach? James! Yay! (BTW, Ghost Andre didn’t tell him to go there, Ella did. I guess Ghosts can’t text.) James drives Annie home in his car, which means that she left her piece of crap car at the beach. They love each other and it’s all meant to be, and it’s over.
We all love Kellie Martin, and actually, even James didn’t bug me as much in this movie than he did in the one with Danica McKellar. Lots of ghost messages, and fake scenes of Long Island. Plus, I had 90 minutes by myself that was only interrupted by two boys five times. All in all, a good night. Glad to watch this one, just so you don’t have to.