So, Rachel Leigh Cook is back in another Hallmark movie. I’m just over the moon about that. I actually really enjoyed her movie last year, though I might be the odd man out there. Anyway, I’m thrilled she’s back and I was so excited to watch it. Let’s dive in.
On a busy New York street, Lena makes Christmas plans over the phone with her family. Uh oh. Greg Cooper is coming to dinner. Lena seems concerned. Then her sister Sammie asks her to be a godmother. I suppose while you’re on the phone on a busy sidewalk is as good a place as any to be asked to be someone’s godparent.
Then, Lena meets her girlfriends for drinks. She bails on being the 5th wheel at dinner later that night. Max, who I thought was Greg, meets up with HIS FRIEND at the SAME BAR. His mom calls. He changed his flight to be “after the weekend.” Whatever that means. But she must have talked him out of that because then he says he’ll be there the following day. WE’LL SEE MAX.
The next day, Lena chats away on the phone as she gets to the airport. Max is also at the airport and they are both on the phone and I think they grab each other’s luggage. Then, they finally run into each other on the plane. They know each other from high school! And childhood! And instead of pretending not to see him like I would, Lena is just ready to chat away. Then Lena TOTALLY SUCKS UP to the flight attendant by giving her a little goody bag and remembering her name. Lena has a TOTALLY INSANE JOB. She is a “creative solutions specialist.” It seems like she’s actually non lawyer mediator. I’m fine with that-that is an actual job. I am not fine with her calling herself a “creative solutions specialist” and earning a living in New York City. Then, Lena and Max chit chat but as soon as Lena asks how is family is doing, he kind of shuts down and wants to go to sleep. Well SOMETHING IS UP.
Lena looks at pictures on her phone. Then the pilot tells them they are getting rerouted from Denver to Ohio. The Denver airport is closed! So now Lena has to find a way to Denver and also find her bag, which is just out there somewhere. And now I’m getting a flash back to my own family’s “adventure” trying to get visit family AND get home last year. Stranded all overnight and into the next day in Denver on the way there. Stranded in both Denver and Newark on the way back…with three children (Teens and littles! The worst!) To say it was a NIGHTMARE is an understatement. So, I will try to get through this without fully melting down.
Anyway, of course, all the buses are full. And it seems like all west coast flights are “grounded.” NIGHTMARE. Lena sees Max in line and approaches him to ask to share his rental car. But the rental car place is out of cars. Lena approaches strangers trying to find a ride. Max is going to try another way. He calls his mom and brother. Lena approaches a sad looking elf in the waiting area. This little elf was going to drive to Chicago so Lena kind of invites herself along.
They see Max in the parking lot. Max is weirdly against working together to get home. I don’t get it. I would probably work with my mortal enemy if we were going to the same town in this nightmare scenario. On the drive, the elf kind of gives them too much detail about her relationship. Lena gives the elf some advice, which results in them getting dropped off in the middle of nowhere.
They are at a Christmas tree farm. Lena says she has an idea. The Christmas tree farm offers free delivery. Do we think they deliver to Chicago though? Uh, NO. But then Lena sees an opportunity. The tree farm owner seems like his back is hurting so she offers to help him deliver trees in exchange for a ride to the train station in the next town. Lena kind of seems to make friends wherever she goes. After delivering all the trees, Max gets them all booked on the train! It will take them right to boulder. They will both get their own sleeper car. That honestly sounds lovely. I love a good train ride!
While they eat lunch, they realize they like to eat at the same place for lunch in New York. And they probably live near each other. What are the odds? Then they reminisce about high school. Then Max kind of puts a damper on that. I think maybe he doesn’t like his dad? Or didn’t like working on the farm. MYSTERY. Lena says that work is really busy so she hasn’t been home all year. He says he was home six months ago. Then they hear a train whistle and think their train is leaving.
They jump aboard and realize they’ve rushed to get on a cargo train. They don’t even know if they’re headed in the right direction. Then Lena realizes she might have left her phone at the train station! Oh no, I would be sick. Later, Lena resigns herself to their current circumstances makes a little bed for herself out of hay. Then Max pets the cow they are sharing the car with. I am just sick that their silliness cost them their lovely sleeper car ride to Boulder. How could they make that mistake!
At the end of the line and presumably the next morning, two children stare at Max and Lena sleeping in the now open train car. HEY! The guy from Extreme Days and Out Cold! They discover they are in Missouri. So…the wrong direction. And this is the last stop on the cargo line. So they are stuck here I guess.
This guy offers to bring them to their house to use the phone and get some pancakes. Lena heads inside while Max helps with the cow. The little girl gives Lena a sweater to borrow. It’s so cute. These farm people use the app Max invented! So that is neat! Max is given a lovely llama sweater. Then Lena agrees to help the kids with their nativity play later that night. It looks like they’ve got their dog playing baby Jesus. And Lena and Max are tasked with playing Mary and Joseph. Some goats are playing the three wise men. Then Lena holds the dog. The little girl takes a picture of them. I love all of this.
That night, Lena facetimes with her family. They are all wearing matching PJs. They are doing everything without her and she is so bummed. Greg is there. He looks to be a GIANT DORK. Lena and Max are staying one more night with this sad little Missouri farm family. Okay so the characters in this movie are “Greg HOOPER” and “Max COOPER.” Do I have that right? Max and Lena are sharing bunk beds at this house. They chat a little about her sister and GREG HOOPER. This movie is honestly so traumatizing after my own Christmas travel misadventures last year. I still haven’t recovered. I’m so stressed out that she’s missing all her family activities. Anyway, Max pretends to snore when they turn out the lights so that’s funny.
The next morning, Max helps the kids feed the animals. Lena arrives with a dog grooming van. Lena straight up BOUGHT this van. She apparently couldn’t pass it up. I’m getting some real Dumb and Dumber vibes from this movie. Dang I liked that cute little family. They hit the road.
Lena is so pleased with herself over this car. Lena asks Max about the app he made. It sounds cool if you like or need farm equipment. Then Max suggests they drain the battery on his phone by playing music. They make it to Kansas! But then Max grows concerned about a rattling in the engine. Lena suggests they press on. And she got them sandwiches. Max makes a profound observation on Lena’s life. And then the car seemingly breaks down. Then Lena kind of gets mad and starts to walk home… I guess?
So Lena walks in high heeled boots down the high way. Then her heel breaks. Yet she continues to limp along. Finally Max approaches on a tractor. He apologizes for making that observation. Lena asks if he stole the tractor he is using. He rented it on his app! They eventually arrive at Max’s cousin’s house. Max tells the tractor “nice job, old girl.” So that’s funny. So all this fuss and they’re only five miles from their broken down car.
Max’s cousin Darryl is a mechanic. The cousin happens to have a brisket going. Lena perks up when she hears about a fire pit. They all hang out and chat around their fire pit. Max reveals he voted for Lena for class president. Darryl’s wife Sheila offers to take Lena shopping in the morning. Darryl says it will be nice to catch up with Max after everything that happened. WELL WHAT IS THAT ABOUT MAX?!
The next morning, Lena and Sheila go shopping in the pouring rain. She asks Lena what is going on with Max. JUST FRIENDS SHEILA. Sheila gives some wise married person relationship advice.
Meanwhile, Max and Darryl have a little heart to heart while they fix the car. Darryl asks Max how he’s been. Max says “it’s been an adjustment.” WHAT HAS BEEN THE ADJUSTMENT?! Then the boys get the car working. Lena ends up getting a dress which is so impractical since she doesn’t have any clothes! She’s going to drive the rest of the way in a dress? I don’t think so. Darryl’s wife is about to finally share what has been going on with Max but they’re interrupted by the boys arriving to pick them up. Then Sheila spills that there is a Christmas caroling event that night. So Max and Lena decide to stay.
That night is the big Christmas sing along. Max tries to leave, but Darryl pressures them to sing a carol. It looks like Lena is wearing her new dress. So at least it didn’t go to waste. Max and Lena land on singing “We Three Kings.” So that is… a choice. Well that was cute. And weird. Then Max and Lena hit the road…IN THE MIDDLE OF THE NIGHT? What?
Max asks why they pick “We Three Kings.” Same girl! She doesn’t have a great answer. Lena asks Max what has been going on with him. Max says “just some family stuff.” Lena says she’s here if he needs him. Then Lena gives him the gift she picked out for him. It’s a Santa bobble head.
They stop at a gas station in the middle of nowhere. Lena heads into the store to get some snacks and she calls her parents. They are in Nebraska. So, I think they are close? He goes in and pays for the gas. She’s got all their snacks organized. Then Max wants to show her something. He takes her out to a cute little garden area. It’s a cute little gazebo. Right by a rundown gas station in the middle of nowhere. He says there have been reindeer sightings there. She looks away and he puts on a little reindeer mask. So that is really cute. They take a selfie with his mask on. Then they have a nice heart to heart. Then Max’s mom calls and is like GIRL YOUR DAD’S LUNCH IS AT NOON TOMORROW.
So they hit the road again. Lena asks if Max is okay. He says it’s nothing. It doesn’t SOUND LIKE NOTHING. She starts to get tired. She agrees to pull over if he tells her what’s wrong. She wants to help him fix it. This is a weird scene. It’s very dark. I thought he agreed to tell her what was wrong? They both lay down on benches in the back of the van. Then he tells her that his dad died six months ago. The lunch tomorrow is a special memorial lunch for him. He is dreading going home and feeling all the sad feels. So then after bearing his soul, Max is out cold.
The next morning Lena wakes Max up with coffee. She drove all night while he was sleeping. She got them all the way home! I can’t believe Max slept that hard on that cold van bench. Then Lena drops Max off at his house. They have an awkward goodbye. They have a long (probably very smelly) hug. And he leaves. And that’s the end! Just kidding. Lena heads to her own house. She finally makes it home. It looks they’ve decorated for Christmas and Hanukkah…? Or am I wrong about that? There was mention of latkes earlier too so…maybe? Okay Lena and her family are so cute. Poor dorky Greg comes wandering out of the house as well. He is a mega dork. Poor guy.
Back at his own house, Max looks at old photos of his dad. Max and his mom have a heart to heart. He felt like he never had a chance to make his dad proud. His mom says some nice things to him about how proud his dad was. It’s a nice moment.
Lena jumps right in with all the family traditions. That gingerbread house is INSANE. Lena asks why Greg is always around. Poor Greg. The women are desperate for them to get together. Don’t they know any better? Lena decides to be direct. She tells Greg she doesn’t feel “that way” about her now. Greg is like SAME GIRL. Then Lena gets a call from Joe from the Christmas Tree Lot! He found her phone and he’s going to send it to her. Amazing. I’m SO RELIEVED.
Max and his family sit down to eat a really nasty looking turkey. He tells his family a little about his adventure. Then Max makes a little toast to their dad. Then Max’s bag finally arrives! Or does it?
Lena has Christmas dinner with her family. But she seems a little zoned out. Then Lena said she met someone and she just really likes them. Then Greg is like, oh it’s not me. I’m just here for all this food! And because I’m so pathetic and lonely. It’s funny. Then Max is at the door. The airline sent Max HER suitcase because DUH. She invites him in. Then Max tells her to follow him. They walk out to the tree in her front yard. There is a little stocking on the front. inside are a couple of things from their trip. He framed the pictures they took! That’s cute. Then Max decides to tell her how he feels! Then she tells him she likes him too and then THEY KISS. Inside, they all eat together. But is there ANYONE for Greg? I guess not. And that’s it.
I really liked this one. It might end up being one of my favorites of the season. Lena and Max were really cute and fun together. There was a lot of silliness but it was just a FUN watch! Normally I hate a movie where everything goes wrong but I just didn’t mind it as much here. So, I don’t think there are going to be any of those traditional checklist items here but we can try I suppose.
No. It doesn’t have any items on the checklist!