Whew! Guys, this was one of the most anticipated (by me) movies of the season. I love Charles Dickens. I love Kris Polaha and I’ve loved Brooke D’Orsay since Royal Pains. However, I usually hate Hallmark’s attempts at reenacting “A Christmas Carol.” I wasn’t sure what this was going to be, but I was HOPEFUL. So, let’s dive in to “A Dickens of a Holiday.”
Our leading lady, Cassie, is in her hometown of Dickens, Ohio after a season of personal hardship. Luckily for the town, she’s also agreed to direct the town’s 100th Anniversary performance of “A Christmas Carol,” part of the town’s annual Charles Dickens themed Christmas festivities. Her mom has embellished her accomplishments to anyone who will listen which makes Cassie a little panicked. Cassie is recently divorced and put her career on hold to help her ex-husband with his career. I am not sure what he does. Cassie once directed an off-Broadway play. So that’s where we are with that. As Cassie talks to the mayor about the play, she realizes that the sets need to be repainted. Did you know that ACE HARDWARE sells paint? And also that they sponsored this movie?
Meanwhile, our leading man, Jake, is a BIG-TIME action star. He’s currently filming the third installment of his movie franchise. He’s doing all kinds of intense stunts like laying on an immobile car with a wind machine blowing in his face. So THAT’S how they do it! However, Jake is tired of being an action star and wants to be taken seriously. In fact, he wants the lead role of the movie adaption of his mom’s favorite book. His manager is kind of dismissive about this dream but promises to try her darndest to get him an audition or meeting with the director. PS, Jake got his start at ACE HARDWARE. He said it was the best job he ever had. So, there you go.
Back in Dickens, Cassie gets some bad news. The man who has played Scrooge for the last 100 years has completely lost his voice. This condition has come on abruptly, with no warning, one week before the show. This really puts them in a quandary. Well, wait. What about the understudy? Cassie unhelpfully let him go to Jamaica (he inexplicably WON a trip?) because their Scrooge NEVER misses a show. So yes, they really are in a pickle. Scrooge immediately has an idea. What about their hometown hero, Jake Dorsey? Yes, THAT Jake Dorsey, originally from Dickens, Ohio. The mayor encourages Cassie to track him down and ask.
Luckily for all of us, Jake’s nephew is already cast as Tiny Tim and Cassie knows their family. Jake’s brother Craig is very doubtful that Jake will come back to do the play. He can’t even bother to come home for significant family moments! But he gives her the number anyway.
Cassie struggles to work up the courage to call Jake. Not only is he a famous movie star, she also turned him down for Prom back in high school. I wonder what business Jake has asking a middle schooler to prom but that’s neither here nor there. (Kris and Brooke are 5 years apart! Keep up!). With the help of a bold assistant, Cassie accidentally tries to Facetime Jake. Jake’s assistant unhelpfully accidentally answers the call. Cassie and Jake have an incredibly awkward exchange where Cassie inadvertently tells Jake that directing is more challenging than acting which is SURE to win him over. So that’s the end of that.
Cassie heads to rehearsal to break the news to the cast. Since there isn’t another soul in town who could play the part, the only logical thing to do is cancel the whole show. However, right in the middle of this speech, the one and only Jake Dorsey arrives. No notice; just shows up. COOL. So anyway, I guess the performance is back on. However, not everyone is happy to see him. In fact, his brother is down right ICY. He is even MORE upset when he realizes that Jake is staying at a hotel instead of their house. But, when you blow into town without notifying anyone, I guess that’s what happens. Cassie tries to fill him in on all the additional responsibilities he will have as the play’s star but Jake is not really into any of that. He’s not into doing costume fittings, he’s not interested in promoting the play; I’m not even sure he’s interested in rehearsing the play or his lines. So that’s fun. Cassie strongly encourages him to do more than the bare minimum for this performance. Cassie also gets a sense of how truly EXTRA Jake has become in the time since leaving Dickens. His poor assistant is tracking down better sheets and his specific face moisturizer from Cleveland. Within earshot of Cassie, Jake tries to say the HOTEL brand moisturizer is fine. Guys, I am a peasant and I’m not putting the hotel moisturizer on my face. I’m taking it home with me. But I’m not putting it on my face. Also, at one point he calls this hotel a “B&B” and I assure you that it is NOT.
The next morning, without knowing whether or not Jake is there, the mayor announces that he will be playing Scrooge. Everyone is disappointed when he’s nowhere to be found. But like, maybe you should check before embarrassing yourself like that. Jake arrives to the Christmas market later, on his own time. He is not very concerned about missing any of his obligations. However, when “Father Christmas” can’t make it last minute, Jake does agree to step in. So, that’s something. As Santa, he learns that all his nephew wants for Christmas is for Jake and his dad to get along. Jake regrets his expensive headphone purchase for him. But, the conversation does cause Jake to reflect.
Cassie is always scheming and coaching people without their knowledge. She invites Jake to help his nephew with a gingerbread contest. However, when Craig arrives to pick him up, we see that he is still feeling pretty ICY towards Jake. Jake wants to talk, but Craig is like, no we just talked. So, bye.
However, Cassie isn’t done with that little relationship! When Jake invites her to dinner, she suggests they eat at his brother’s restaurant. Craig hilariously tosses a menu at Jake, which I feel a guy might do whether he is happy or angry with his brother. Sneaky Cassie asks the boys what their favorite item is. The boys reminisce over their mom’s chicken pot pie. The pie works as it usually does and warms both of their hearts a little. As luck would have it, a horse drawn carriage is waiting for them outside the restaurant. Well, isn’t that a coincidence!
Jake continues to work on his lines with various cast members. These local theatre people have NO chill and try to record him for their own social media. Cassie shuts them down quickly. In the words of Tanner girls, HOW RUDE. He throws some of the actors off too because he reads the lines differently than the man who seemingly invented the character.
Jake’s star power has attracted some big time press coverage for the play. CLEVELAND news networks are interested in driving down to interview Jake about the play. For some reason, they do the interview at the ice skating rink. Oh, I remember why. Jake’s assistant thought it would be “FUN.” Jake makes sure to give Cassie a shout out. Cassie is basically forced to admit she hasn’t seen any of his movies. After they get done with the interview, Jake discovers that Cassie hasn’t gotten a Christmas tree. So, they head to Ace Hardware. Guys, did you know that ACE HARDWARE sells Christmas tree? It is really THE PLACE for helpful hardware something or other. So they get the tree. And they have just the loveliest time decorating.
That chicken pot pie business seems to have softened the Dorsey Boys heart enough to make some Christmas cookies because Craig invites Jake AND Cassie over for dinner. For some reason there are like 12 wine classes on a table. And I’m not sure who they’re all for. Maybe they’re at the restaurant. Maybe Craig and his family live at the restaurant? I don’t know. I was doing laundry, etc… during various points in this movie. Anyway, there are a lot of cups. Jake asks Craig if any of his old stuff is still at the house and Craig leads him away to the garage. They reminisce and have a long overdue heart to heart. Then Jake finds a mixtape he made for Cassie in high school. What year did they supposedly graduate? They must have been on the tail end of mixed tapes.
One day before the big performance, Jake’s assistant tells him that he’s secured a meeting with the director of that movie Jake wants to do. He saw some footage of Jake rehearsing. He is elated. The only problem is that he has to attend this exclusive Christmas party ON CHRISTMAS EVE which happens to be the next day. Oh, it also happens to be the night of the performance. You know, the play without which he wouldn’t even be on this director’s radar? Surprisingly, everyone agrees he has to miss the play to go to this Christmas Party. Is everyone insane?! Don’t you think the director would be so annoyed when he found out that Jake missed the play he was rehearsing for to attend the party? But even Cassie thinks he should go.
The next day, he stands outside with his assistant and asks him if he really should go to the party. Despite not answering him, Jake promotes him to manager. The assistant replies, that’s right! I’m Mr. Manager. But Jake reminds him that we just say “manager.” Anyway, what will he decide!
Hours before the play, Cassie informs the cast that SHE will be playing Scrooge. Very progressive. MOMENTS before the play begins, Jake arrives. He tells Cassie he’s really grown fond of the role and wants to do it. But like, obviously he didn’t leave so, why was he LATE? Isn’t that actually worse? That he decided not to leave and then didn’t get to the play on time? Like Cassie was fully in costume? And I imagine it would take some time to put his stage makeup on? So Rude. But, no one except me is annoyed at this and the play goes off without a hitch. Everyone is so pleased with all the lessons Jake learned at the after party. Outside, he tells Cassie that he just wants to be wherever she is! So that’s sweet. They KISS and that’s the end of this bad boy.
Guys, I just don’t think Jake learned enough lessons in this movie. He shouldn’t have even considered leaving for that party in LA! And when he decided he wasn’t going, he should have arrived to the play on time. Don’t get me wrong, I really enjoyed this movie. I just think we need to keep Jake a little more accountable for his actions. HE REALLY NEEDS IT. But I loved these two together. I loved that they were working on a play. And there were a lot of fun moments. I think they were probably grasping for some kind of drama and I probably just didn’t find it believable at that point. What did you think?