Sugar Plum Twist

Guys, it’s the week of Christmas. And it falls on a Friday and Saturday which makes it really inconvenient for me because that means I can’t take any days off of work this week. And Friday is a federal holiday so I don’t even get a bonus day off this year. Oh and last weekend was birthday mania in this house with my husband and my son! So, this week, even though some of these movies deserve better, I am doing mini recaps post of all four. You don’t have time to read four full recaps, and I don’t have time to write about them. Let’s be honest! Okay so let’s get after the first one.

I didn’t know anything about this movie, other than that it aired on Hallmark’s streaming platform first. I don’t understand how Hallmark hasn’t figured out streaming yet. They have the absolute stupidest streaming service on the planet. Yes, we would all love a place to watch the Christmas Card every year. But what about the new movies? You’ll have to wait at least a year if you just have their streaming service. So now you need two platforms just to watch new and old Hallmark movies. Luckily for us that have found yet another subscription service on which to watch new Hallmark movies, they aired this on TV too; again rendering their own streaming service unnecessary.

Guys, I don’t know if the actors in this movie had fake accents or if they were just bad acting. And I hate to call out the bad acting. Or maybe white people were in charge of writing dialogue for a culture they don’t understand. Or maybe this is a “me” problem and I have some growing to do. Maybe it is all of the above. In addition, the dialogue was just like, old school Hallmark cheesy. Like VERY OVERDRAMATIC responses to relatively minor problems. I was just rolling my eyes pretty hard through a lot of the more “emotional” scenes; particularly those with Matteo and Natalia. I could tell right away that this movie should have been tucked away into the beginning of Thanksgiving week and forgotten almost as soon as it was over. This is unfortunate because the concept and the story were really creative. The story focused on the growing friendship of two women and the romantic element for both were more ancillary. I couldn’t quite tell who was supposed to be the actual lead with the primary story line.

Natalia is a former professional ballet dancer back in “Richmond” after retiring after an injury. She is an assistant (to) the choreographer but is really hoping to just be the primary choreographer. However, her boss, Ms. Kat is OLD school. She’s like Russian ballet dancer old school. When Natalia wants to spice things up for their school’s performance of “The Nutcracker,” Ms. Kat is like, I was there when “The Nutcracker” was written. Don’t tell ME how to perform it, girlfriend. Even when the choreographer is let go, Natalia still finds herself playing second fiddle. Been there, friend! They do hit a small snag in their Nutcracker prep when their “sugar plum fairy” becomes injured? Or for whatever reason can no longer perform. Natalia suggests selecting a local who has participated in some of the classes at the school.

Viv, meanwhile, is a spunky little Latin dance instructor just waiting for her shot. It seems like she really loves performing ballet but teaches everything else. Dance runs in the family as her parents own the dance studio and are former dancers themselves. She is elated when she learns she could audition for the school’s Nutcracker performance.

Ms. Kat ultimately selects a girl who is doing her BEST to be the meanest girl in all of Hallmark. That doesn’t stop Viv and Natalia from becoming friends though. They are soon running into each other at all manner of town celebrations. Viv even invites Natalia to her family’s ugly sweater and dessert party.

Natalia and Viv also meet a few nice guys on their dancing quest, Matteo and Justin respectively. However, like I said, these romance lines feel ancillary to the primary story. Just me?

Natalia soon offers to help Viv make a demo reel that she can show to dance companies. However, this blows up in everyone’s face when Ms. Kat catches them using the school’s stage to practice. Natalia is suspended and Viv obviously feels horrible. Matteo tries to stand up for Viv but that goes over like a lead balloon. This serves as the romantic tension portion of the film but I really didn’t care one way or the other.

However, Ms. Kat’s heart ends up growing 3 sizes when she realizes how much Natalia has prepped for the performance; there is almost nothing left to do by the time she gets suspended. Then, Ms. Kat wanders by Viv’s dance studio and sees her. She gets a burst of inspiration. Ms. Kat comes to her senses and hires Natalia back. She tells her that she panicked because the original choreographer had actually been working for two different companies while employed with her. But she knows now that Natalia is not like that.

It’s the night of the big performance and Viv has promised to meet everyone there. But she is nowhere to be found at show time. Natalia is wearing the most beautiful dress I’ve ever seen in a Hallmark movie. When the performance ends, Ms. Kat calls Natalia on stage and announces that she’s been selected to be the principal choreographer for the company. She forces her to make an impromptu speech and it goes about as well as any impromptu speech of that nature goes. Natalia ends with thanking “everyone she’s ever met.” Then Ms. Kat hands her another card to read, which announces Viv doing a special “sugar plum twist” dance. Justin has merged the original song with some more modern music. Viv comes out in the cutest little red flare skirt situation and does her thing. It’s a huge hit.

Viv’s family hosts an after party and EVERYONE, including Ms. Kat is there to celebrate. Was this planned? They seem like really good sports to plan to have such a party knowing their daughter wasn’t going to be in the ballet? Or maybe it is Christmas Eve and this is just the party. I know everyone was dying to know-Justin and Viv are going to make their relationship work but I’m not sure what Viv’s next career steps are. Natalia and Matteo have their own moment outside where they Kiss and the movie ends. It is at THIS moment when I realize that Natalia and Matteo are the primary romantic leads because their kiss ends the movie. So, there you have it. What did you think of this one?

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