Michael Stahl-David and Eloise Mumford in “Just In Time For Christmas”; photo courtesy of Hallmark Hall of Fame
“Just In Time For Christmas” (Hallmark Hall of Fame)
The Hallmark Channel presents frothy, light romantic comedies year round, and they lay them on especially heavy at Christmas time. “Just In Time For Christmas” is a frothy, light romantic comedy that hits all the right notes as far as the requirements for a Hallmark Channel movie go. However for these reasons it falls below expectations, as it is a “Hallmark Hall of Fame” movie and that classification invokes a much higher standard of entertainment requirements.
“Just In Time For Christmas” is another variation on the Christmas classic “Its A Wonderful Life” that airs over and over during the Christmas season. In this HHoF movie Lindsay Rogers (Eloise Mumford) gets a chance to see what her life will be like three years in the future. Her “jump” occurs after her boyfriend Jason (Michael Stahl-David) proposes and she doesn’t readily say yes.
She is carried into the future by a ride in a one horse carriage driven by a mysterious coachman (William Shatner). She doesn’t know she is being taken into the future and is quite surprised when she gets there. At first she attributes it all to the fact she is going crazy but later is convinced she has amnesia.
Jason is still around but there are complications preventing the two of them from getting back together. She has a blossoming career as an author and a professor, and he has some romantic entanglements.
The two leads have very little chemistry together and aren’t that successful in their individual performances either. She looks and acts Katherine Hiegl-lite and he looks like Ryan Gosling’s younger, nerdier brother. Shatner gets little chance to spread his charm but Christopher Lloyd does have some good moments as Lindsay’s grandfather.
The story both present and in the future is set in the Seattle, Washington area at Christmastime but cold weather is nowhere to be found. Christmas decorations line the streets but it seems more like summer than winter. However this could be part of the magical spirit of the events.
“Hallmark Hall of Fame” has given us movies such as “My Sister’s Keeper,” “To Dance With the White Dog,” “Front of the Class” and many, many more exceptional stories brought to life on film. “Just In Time For Christmas” just doesn’t measure up to the bar set by these projects. There is still hope that someday the quality of “Hallmark Hall of Fame” productions will return to that level. Honestly, there is still an audience for quality.
If what you want is another glossy holiday romantic comedy then this movie will feed your needs. You want have to think but can just let the story flow over you. You will smile here and there and might even laugh a time or two.
“Just In Time For Christmas” airs Saturday, December 5 at 8PM on Hallmark.