Christmas by Starlight

So tonight, we have the Thanksgiving Christmas Movie night premiere! I was actually looking forward to this one because I know the lead actors co-wrote it. However, I heard Paul say on a podcast that they cut about 30 minutes of it so I really hope they didn’t cut all the jokes! We need more of these movies to be comedies! PLEASE! I need it. So let’s dive in.

The movie begins with Annie tells a couple that their adoption was approved. So, she must be a judge, then? And also, where is the kid? GUYS, HALLMARK, if you are going to feature so many adoption and foster care stories, can you take a few minutes to learn how it might actually happen? I will tell you-adoptions are a LEGAL proceeding. A JUDGE has to sign up. Anyway, she feels proud of herself.

That night, Annie looks at a snow globe at her house and wears some pretty intense snowman jams. Then she dances with her reluctant dog. Her parents (?) show up and startle her. They said they “heard the commotion.” They’re like, well you said you have a open door policy! GURLS. LADIES. She can’t possibly mean literally barge in at any time. I do think they all live in the same house though.

The next morning, Annie and her parents reminisce about her own adoption. And then more about Annie as a little difficult baby. Her parents own a diner, excuse me, a CAFE.

Some children work on gingerbread houses at a table in the cafe. What are Annie’s pants though! Wow. Are they pajamas? In the back office, Annie finds out her parents’ lease is being terminated. She is outraged. They feel like they’re stuck because the owner wants to tear the building down. OH REALLY. She is mad that her parents aren’t upset. They’ve had time to process it though.

Will shoots hoops in his office. He wants to go over the new bylaws from the city planning commission. He is just a big old goof. His dad shows up. Will’s dad is concerned he’s not paying enough attention to his job. Or, he’ll just sell this dang company instead of letting his son take over. WILL IS A STRAIGHT UP SILLY GOOSE. Did Paul get a spray tan though? Will’s dad wants someone from their legal team to basically watch Will so he won’t get up to any nonsense? So Will decides to high tail it out of there.

Then Annie shows up and Will thinks she is there to babysit him. So he is pretty snippy. She catches up to him and keeps trying to talk to him. He gives her two minutes. She gives her pitch about saving her parents’ café. He’s like, oh you’re not here for a job? Then his dad pops up out of nowhere and is like oh is this the lawyer though? So Will decides to try and hire Annie until Christmas as his pretend lawyer/babysitter. And in return for her basically taking a week of unpaid leave from her own job, he’ll save her parents’ café.

Annie returns to the café and tells her parents about the deal. They are like, WAIT WHAT. But everyone is on board with this VERY ODD SITUATION.

Annie arrives at Holt Enterprises the next day for her first day of “work”. Will greets her at reception. Annie meets Lyle, Will’s right hand man. Lyle is STRAIGHT SASS.

First up for the day is a meeting with the Historical Society. He is hoping to avoid a lawsuit over building a parking garage over some type of historical shrubbery. Annie is a little panicked that she’ll have to like, know historical preservation law. She plans to stay quiet. His strategy is “razzle dazzle.” At the meeting, Annie can’t help herself. She ropes him into hosting a fundraiser (next week) and then matching the donations. That seems to do the trick though! No one is talking about a lawsuit now!

Back at the office, Will tells his dad about the fundraiser. His dad is STOKED. Good press and no litigation. WIN WIN. Will is in charge of planning the fundraiser now as a senior VP of a massive real estate company WOULD. Annie offers up the Starlight Café (her parents’ café, KEEP UP) as the venue. Will is like, I manage $500 million in real estate so I can’t plan a party. YES, CORRECT. Annie is like, well I don’t know how to plan a party. ALSO, CORRECT. She agrees to plan the party if he’ll renew her parents’ lease. But didn’t he already agree to that? Oh did anyone mention that for some reason this fundraiser has to be in one week?

That night, Annie and her parents build MORE GINGERBREAD HOUSES. Why? She zones out thinking about the fundraiser. Her parents do more reminiscing about her child. GET A GRIP GUYS. Annie finally admits that she volunteered the Starlight as the venue for the fundraiser. They are actually stoked about that.

The next day, Will and Annie head to a tree lot to get a tree for the event. Annie doesn’t know anything about event planning, but she does know she needs a Christmas tree for a Christmas fundraiser. Annie gets a glimpse of Will’s childhood. His parents sound like busy business people so he doesn’t have warm Christmas memories. Will grabs a tree with all his might and falls into a pile of them.

Will walks and talks with a realtor along a street. He suggests a high end outdoor shopping experience in that particular location. Annie groans behind them. Then, Annie pops inside a store to get a Christmas-y dog costume. She says she named her dog Charles after Charles Dickens WHICH IS WHAT I WANTED TO DO but instead we have a “Gus.” Anyway, Will seems to like Charles Dickens too. She finally tells him why she thinks the outdoor mall is the bad idea. I DISAGREE. I love outdoor open air malls. And I hate “mom and pop shops.”

Then, they have lunch at VERY FANCY French restaurant. The investor they meet with, Ted, doesn’t like the idea of a shopping mall either. It’s been done to death in Chicago apparently. Annie takes a big old bite of foie gras without realizing what it is. BARF CITY. Also the whole menu is in French. She sneaks to her coat to eat a…candy bar? Ted follows her and asks for one. He doesn’t seem to like this place either. Back at the table, they bond over her dog. Then he invites Annie to his Christmas party. Annie decides to include Will too.

Back at the office, they talk about the party and stuff and then Will leaves for “drinks.”

The next day there is a ribbon cutting. Will gives some remarks. Annie wonders how many “mom and pop” shops he had to tear down for this new building. WHO CARES. Annie is a little judgy, frankly. Annie says she has a errand to run and Will offers to drive her. They head to a toy store. Will makes a GOOD POINT about the appropriate time to eat ice cream. Annie tells Will she was adopted at 4, right before Christmas. So she remembers her first visit to this big toy store. Will suggests Christmas Magic for the party theme. Then they decide to head to lunch.

She takes him to Eddy’s BBQ. Annie imagines him in high school. She says he was “captain of the whatever team” but there’s no way. I mean look at that guy. Then he shows her a picture of himself from high school which is somehow on his phone. He looks…different. Annie somehow has a picture of herself as a kid in a figure skating costume.

At the café, Annie remembers she needs food at the fundraiser. But, you don’t have to, right? It could be an afternoon thing with cookies and punch? Oh dear. Am I bad at planning fundraisers too? Also, who can just attend a 1,000/plate dinner with less than a week’s notice?

Will is nowhere to be found on Friday morning. He and his dad play squash on Fridays like they’re Frasier and Niles Crane. Lyle ropes in his husband to help talk about food. They remember an Italian restaurant Will might approve of. Lyle’s husband is very understanding of Will, so that’s nice of him. Annie is like best friends with both of them now. Will returns and is like, oh I can help with party stuff now. Annie is like, oh I did everything so BYE. Will says that the dress code for the Christmas party that night is “casual”. Annie interprets that to mean “wear a Christmas sweater from Christopher & Banks.” Will is mortified but he’s wearing a velvet suit jacket so what’s he talking about? GIGI, Ted’s wife has the EXACT same sweater as Annie. Gigi sweeps Annie away. Somehow, now everyone is wearing the host’s old Christmas sweaters. How did they have enough? It’s like Jesus feeding the 5,000. There is just always one more sweater and the bottom of their trunk. Annie tells the hosts about the Historical Society fundraiser. So then Ted ropes all his guests into attending. So now Annie is panicked because there are too many people attending.

Will finds Annie outside while she’s in the middle of her freak out. Annie gives Will a speech about how he doesn’t take anything seriously and how she will fix it since he doesn’t care about anything. She is not wrong.

The next morning, Will knocks over all of Annie’s garbage cans trying to…well, I’m not sure what he was doing. Annie’s speech kind of got through to him so he wants to help with party stuff. Her parents pop out from upstairs and invite Will to breakfast. They all eat waffles together. Annie’s mom has NO CHILL. Annie’s parents are all on team Will.

Will and Annie head to the Starlight for official party business. He sees a bunch of old photos of her on the wall. Annie suggests using the bookstore next door as overflow for the event. It’s vacant and connected to the café. It’s a huge mess for some reason. It should be empty, right?

Kids are STILL MAKING GINGERBREAD houses at the café. Will gives the kids construction tips. Then Gene, Annie’s dad invites him to a concert at the café that night. Annie says she has to head home to feed Charles. At Annie’s house, Charles runs right up to Will even though he normally doesn’t like new people. I’m calling him Charles but that’s obviously not what they call that dog, right? It’s definitely Charlie?

Will looks at a bunch of TERRIBLY PHOTOSHOPPED photos on her mantle. Then he sees the snow globe on her mantle. THE SNOW GLOBE. It used to have a key that made the dancer inside twirl but she lost it. They have a little mini moment.

It’s time for the little concert. Will asks what time he should come help get the bookstore cleaned up. They have another little moment.

The next morning, Annie wonders if Will is going to show up. He arrives just in time. They exchange some sass with each other. They have a whole crew there to clean up. Lyle shows up and sees Will sweeping. He is SHOCKED. Lyle is like, girl you better not screw this all up!! Then Annie says that the caterers cancelled. Lyle walks up with a to go box from Big Eddy’s. Eddy agrees to cater the event. FOOD TRUCK STYLE. Will is so mortified. Will, do you not know that’s in right now? Also, why can’t the café serve these people? Famous waffles? I mean what are we talking about?

Will wants to take Annie someplace. TRUST HIM ANNIE. He takes her to a skating rink that is just ALL DECORATED with so many trees and all kinds of stuff. And maybe he rented it just for them. Will pretends to fall as soon as he gets off the rug. He’s just goofing. Oh no. She wants him to lift her as they skate. It goes…better than I expect since they don’t fall flat on their bottoms. They do have a MOMENT though. But for real, does anyone really want to be lifted up?! I think NO THEY DON’T. Will drops Annie off at home but asks if she’s hungry. He makes them grilled cheese sandwiches at…the café? Will tells her she’s done a great job this week.

He asks if she always meant to do family law. She likes helping families with adoption. So that’s nice. Except she’s not doing it right since she’s decreeing adoptions herself with no legal authority to do so. Oh well. Good luck getting a new birth certificate for those kids!! Annie says she remembers her adoption day like it was yesterday. She was really happy to have been chosen and finally have a family. NO ONE CRIES ABOUT THAT.

Will talks to his dad about the Starlight situation at his house. His dad is like no we’ve invested too much money to change the project. Will finally comes clean about the whole situation with Annie. His dad is like, how can Annie work for us if her parents have a stake in the Starlight? His dad is very disappointed in the whole thing. But hello, why would Will do literally all the work to plan the fundraiser? Why would his dad even want him to do that? It’s so dumb. But also, Will does a TERRIBLE JOB of trying to change his dad’s mind. Take a page out of old Christmas Tree Lane boy’s book and come up with an alternative, Missy!

At the Starlight, Annie reads her texts out loud as she types, sends the text and immediately regrets it. At work, Will is worried that he can’t hold up his promise. Then he arrives at the Starlight. Annie tells him she saved a tree for him to help decorate so he could experience it. She is apparently not embarrassed any more about that text she sent. Then, she gives him a gift. His own snow globe ornament! Then they decorate the tree together. And now the week is over. Annie says it’s the best fake job she ever had. Will thanks her instead of admitting the truth.

It’s fundraiser time. Everyone is dressed so fancy. Annie arrives and Will is excited to see her. Will has an ugly sweater vest under his jacket so that’s nice. Will has a surprise for her. It’s stuff from the toy store I think!

Later, Will’s dad gives a toast. That same girl from the concert plays more Christmas songs. Will and Annie dance. Annie thanks him for all kinds of things. But mostly for….and then Lyle and his husband interrupt. Ted and Gigi loudly ask Will about the demolition plans slated for early January. So Annie is really upset. Will is like, but I kind of tried? But WILL YOU DIDN’T! You didn’t give your dad an alternative or anything.

That night Annie talks to her dad. He gives her a nice pep talk. He is not as concerned about the café getting torn down. They could just get a new lease somewhere else, right? Worst case?

The next day, Will types away in his office. Lyle brings him a gift that Annie left the other day. It’s their senior pictures framed together with a note that says “I’d have gone to prom with you.” SO THAT’S SWEET. Lyle gives Will a TALKING TO, which HE DESERVES. So Will decides to GET TO WORK. He starts by drawing on his tablet. He makes some phone calls. Will waltzes in to his dad’s office and says he can’t tear down the Starlight. He’s going to try and make it an historic site. And then he gives his dad a little speech about putting people FIRST. So then his dad asks what his pitch is. Also, no we’re not going to put people first. This is a place of business.

Will heads to the café. Helen, the waitress, is mad and announces who to the whole restaurant who Will is. Will gives a little speech about Annie, to the whole café, including her parents. Annie overhears. Annie comes out of hiding to ask if he meant all of that. And then they KISS.

Then later, the café is packed. I think Annie gives a gift to that new little girl who was adopted at the beginning of the movie (I hope anyway). Will’s dad shows everyone the plans for the street. And apparently now, Will is going to run the company. And then he makes Lyle COO! Now, get Will’s Dad some WAFFLES. Then, Will gives Annie a gift. It’s her snow globe with a key that goes with it! So now the little lady can dance around. And then they KISS AGAIN. So that’s that.

This was a fun one. There were lots of silly nonsensical things in this movie but it also made me laugh out loud a few times. I enjoyed watching it after three snoozers in a row. This one is definitely worth watching! Let’s see how it rates. Total score 6/20.

  1. Clumsy meet cute
  2. Christmas Gala (Fundraiser)
  3. Winter Athletics
  4. Tearing down a historic site
  5. Small shop in danger of going out of business
  6. A sassy and wise best friend

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