#78 – Engaging Father Christmas

engaging1Part two of the “Father Christmas” trilogy is on tap for today. And it’s already a good movie because the DVR caught the very end of A Princess for Christmas, which loyal readers know is one of my all-time favorites. But here’s hoping Engaging Father Christmas is good.

Starts out as a recap of the first movie – and a title card of “One Year Later” and we start again in Seattle. Miranda now has a short, sleek ‘do, and she’s packing a small suitcase with way too many shoes while Ian is doing manly things with sandpaper. She’s doing the walk and talk with her assistant again, but this time she’s no longer Scrooge, she is giving out Christmas presents, and Assistant is all being nosy about what’s Ian gonna give her for Christmas, and says a Christmas proposal is the most romantic thing ever, but I don’t know about that.

Carlton Heath, VT Inn – all Christmas-y and Landlady Mom is very pushy about getting her son, Ian, to propose. And Ian is an amazing boyfriend because he’s driving to Boston to pick her up, but he’s stuck in traffic, so at the food court while she’s waiting, she meets old boyfriend, Josh. He’s not attractive at all, but she gives him her entire last movie backstory anyway, and then she says her father is James Whitcomb, but don’t tell anyone, Josh, because it’s a great secret, and then someone was creepily eavesdropping to that conversation so you know that this great secret is going to hit a major tabloid very soon. engaging6

On the road back to the small town. Again, Vermont roads are probably better plowed than this.

Oh, damn, we’re back to doing A Christmas Carol in this small town. Please let this not be a major thing in this movie.

So Miranda is staying with her half-brother’s family – and you know this isn’t going to go well, but her half-niece and nephew are bowled over that she’s there. She gets a random “Unknown” call but she declines it and again, drama! Wendi Malick is at the theater, and thanks Miranda for her discretion for not saying anything about James Whitcomb’s private life, and so I see SAD TIMES GALORE on the horizon, because for no reason Miranda felt the need to tell an ex-boyfriend who she hadn’t seen in 2 years.

Creepy texts of her father come on her phone, from “The Ghost of Christmas Past.” She does tell Ian about this development, but again, everyone assumes that no one else knows except the people in the last movie. And she gets a pep talk from Ian’s mom over warm raspberry scones about how Christmas is magic.

Ian is going to propose with a Hallmark-branded ring – it’s in his pocket, just waiting for the right moment! But first, he takes her to a small green farmhouse that is nice and has stained glass in the kitchen, so now we know what he was doing in the first part of the movie, he was working on this cottage, and screwing up his courage to propose, which he almost does but it gets interrupted by her half-sister-in-law. Proposal Block #1 – we’re going to see how many times this happens.

Her assistant calls to say that there’s a guy calling her office, asking questions about Miranda, and about her family, and Miranda is freaking out inside, but tells Annie the Assistant to ignore it. And ugh- guess who shows up – Josh from the airport! He was going skiing in the Berkshires and now he’s curious about Miranda again and there he is at the Inn, and Ian’s parents are casually looking at this conversation, like WTF, but she shares the fact she’s in a serious relationship and he’s ready to go, but one more thing, Josh says she should get a lawyer to challenge James Whitcomb’s will, and Ian gets to see them hug goodbye and SAD TIMES for Ian!

Oddly enough, there’s a reporter in town, ready to write an article about James Whitcomb. This will be important.

Miranda and Ian have a very progressive relationship for a Hallmark/Romance movie. She tells him straight up that she didn’t know Josh would show up, and Ian is all like, “I trust you, Miranda.” and that is so refreshing. People who tell each other the truth! They love each other and it’s amazing and they’re faking being cold on a park bench in this small town.

engaging3Ian is again trying the romantic proposal thing – this time with the horse and buggy from the first movie. If it’s not a surrey with a fringe on top, I’m not interested. His parents are helicoptering the crap out of his proposal, which leads them to slow-walk to a gazebo with mistletoe in it. She says yes before he can get down on one knee. It’s a nice ring that gets an brand-appropriate close-up. engaging4

Wendi Malick is very gracious about wanting to help with Miranda’s wedding plans, but also says she wonders what James would say about not acknowledging Miranda as his daughter, which again, is gracious, and we love Wendi Malick.

Back at the cottage, Ian is practicing his lines, and he drops the news that he’s going to play Santa at the tree lighting and she is weirdly way too excited about that. We get it, she LOVES Christmas now. Small town tree lightings are cute and half of me wants to live in a town that does this, but the rest of me knows that even if I lived in said small town, I still wouldn’t go out in the snow to watch it. engaging7

Another creepy text – showing a picture of her and Josh from the airport so it’s CLEARLY the eavesdropper. And the reporter who’s there is asking a lot of questions, and she’s very stressed out, which probably is why she offers to help paint in a cashmere sweater. But Miranda comes clean about her Josh-mistake at the airport, so again, healthy relationship! And another Unknown caller – and it’s the reporter, who wants Miranda to tell her all about the secret of James Whitcomb. Miranda hedges and says James Whitcomb’s legacy is loving Christmas, which, meh. But we do establish that this reporter isn’t the one calling Miranda, but before we hit commercial, we see eavesdropping guy drive up to Carlton Heath. Ruh-roh!

More A Christmas Carol. Can we NOT with this play.

engaging5Wendi Malick knows how to wear a shawl. She’s walking around the cottage, and is pensive, playing with wallpaper that has something underneath it. But then we get Ian cutting wood, which again, if he doesn’t do it like this, we do not care.

tenor

How long is Miranda’s Christmas Vacation? Seriously, how many days has she been in this town and it’s not Christmas yet? I want her vacation benefits.

Eavesdropper shows up at the Inn – he’s got that squirrely face of a douchebag.

For some reason, Miranda and Ian are trimming the tree at the cottage that has no insulation in a few rooms. Maybe it’s because she’s never had a Christmas tree? But then she sees painting under the wallpaper that Wendi Malik found and a-ripping they will go to get it off the wall to see what it says. It says: May Truth and Grace Reside Here. A bit too on-the-nose, right?

Eavesdropper is named Decker. Ian’s mom is way too trusting with his probing questions and apparently the performance of A Christmas Carol is that night. Oh, jeez, the cottage was the first house of Wendi Malick and James Whitcomb. And she just said it’s the right place to start a life together. Foreshadowing!

At the play, she’s wearing the weird kind of blazer that has no sleeves. WHO MAKES THESE???

More A Christmas Carol. Douchebag Decker is there. And I have a bone to pick with the set designers of this community theater production, because there is no reason for the set to have 2 Christmas Trees when doing this play and also, they’re letting Miranda take pictures during the production which is a big fat no no, and why are there so many kids in it, and WHY PUT CHRISTMAS LIGHTS IN THE AUDIENCE AND HAVE THEM ON DURING THE SHOW? Words cannot express how crappy this production is.

Douchebag Decker confronts Peter who then has to confront Miranda at the cast party. And Wendi Malick and Peter are not pleased with Miranda’s behavior, but in true New England fashion, they want to keep it buttoned up and private. She has a ton of Sad Times, but wakes up resolved to fix the situation.

Next day, Miranda heads out to confront Douchebag Decker. He is really laying it on thick that it’s Miranda’s fault he’s a douchebag. And now he says the article is going to be written one way or another, so she should talk to him. Ugh, I hate this guy. He’s spinning Miranda into a tizzy, where she says she’s gotta go back to Seattle, because she’s being really hard on herself.

Back they head to the cottage for Ian to say that home is here, and she’s like, no, you don’t get it, and he’s finally getting fiery about how much he loves her, and she’s conflicted and says no, I have to get out of town. And Ian does the great man-almost-cry.

Wendi Malick is back at the cottage that now has a lot more furniture in it, and sees the phrase on the wall and has an epiphany. Miranda is packing all her chunky sweaters and scarves and now has pensive tea drinking by the fire. Next morning, she gets a text from Wendi Malick to meet her at the cottage, which is now miraculously all done! The Christmas Tree that they set up is in the middle of the freaking room. Who does that?

Wendi Malick beats around the bush for a very long conversation, to say that she’s ok that the world knows Miranda is James Whitcomb’s daughter. But Wendi Malick also says she’s going to tell the story the way she wants it to be told, and screw Douchebag Decker. All slow claps in the world for Wendi Malick.

But first, Miranda has to go apologize to Ian, who’s still out by the log pile. She doesn’t really say sorry, but she does kiss him a lot, and voila, they’re ok.

Miranda and Wendi Malick do a lot of crying while they tell the nice journalist the whole plot of movie 1, and then basically blackmail said journalist to get the story done overnight so they hoist Decker out by his own petard. Does anyone know really what that means? And again we get evidence of how great Ian is, because he stood outside, in the cold, while this whole interview with the journalist happens, just to be there for his fiance. Journalist gets it done, and it’s all over the internet, even Peter likes it. And Decker sighs deeply and scurries out of town with his tail between his legs. Suck it, Decker!

Yay, Christmas at the Whitcomb’s! Wendi Malick and Peter give Miranda the cottage. And everyone is happy and no one has to worry about mortgage payments. Last scene is Miranda and Ian walking through the snow to look at their cottage that still has all their Christmas lights on – and has she never heard of a fire hazard? And we end with the fact that they’ve set their wedding date – next Christmas, which means, next movie.

engaging2This one was not as good. I hate manufactured drama, and that’s what all of this movie was – drama for the sake of having a movie, but didn’t do much to advance character development.  Not sure the book is different from the movie, but I’m not going to find out. But we’re 2/3 through this trilogy, and we have to see her wedding dress, which we’ll get to. Or I will, you know, just so you don’t have to.

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