Sunday, December 13, 2015

ABC Family and Cinematic Sara Presents

12 Dates of Christmas
Director: James Hayman
Cast: Amy Smart, Mark-Paul Gosselaar, and all the rest are people you wouldn't know.
Aired: December 11, 2011

Even though this is a Christmas movie, this is not going to be my obligatory Christmas movie review because those are always saved for theatrical releases. And the movie I have in mind of reviewing should be arriving from Netflix any time. I did look to see if it was on Netflix Instant, but alas, it wasn't. However, they did have an array of other holiday movies and made for TV holiday movies to choose from, so I decided, why not, let's watch one of them. I've never watched any of those fluffy holiday movies that are usually on Lifetime, but this one was on ABC Family and premiered back in 2011.

Just looking at the title and not knowing anything else, I tried to guess what the movie would be about and the first thing that came to my mind was that it was about a woman who was trying to find true love for Christmas and went on a string of really bad dates until she found Mr. Right at #12. However, I was wrong and kind of glad because the movie is actually more interesting than what I thought even though it totally rips off Groundhog Day, only Kate's (Amy Smart) "Groundhog Day" is changed to Christmas Eve. I was totally expecting her to say a line like, "I'm just like Bill Murry in Groundhog Day, but only it's Christmas Eve!" but no such line is ever uttered. I thought the writers missed a good opportunity with that.

But perhaps I should back up a bit and set everything up. Kate wants go get back with her ex-boyfriend and has a very good feeling it's going to happen because he wants to meet her to talk about something so she's expecting a call from him. However, she's also been set up on a blind date with her stepmom's friend's son? I think? IDK...I forgot how Miles (MPG) knows Kate's stepmom, so Kate has agreed even though she has no interest in this guy she's never met.

They're suppose to meet at a bar and I was assuming Kate had at least seen a photo of him, but when she goes up to a sad-looking nerdy guy and asks him if he's Miles, he says no (and she looks very relieved! Ha!) That has got to be such an awkward go up to the wrong blind date! She sees Miles and is relieved that he is good looking. He's also very charming, but Kate has no time for that. When her phone rings, it's her ex and she says she'll meet him in 15 minutes and of course this makes Miles really angry that she's canceling the date to go meet up with her ex but she says she's just rearranging it and they'll see each other at the party her stepmom is throwing. So it turns out that her ex wants to see her because he brought over his dog that he wants her to watch while and and his new girlfriend go up to his cabin. Ouch! Burn! Didn't see that one coming!

Oh! I forgot to mention a very pivotal moment of the movie: before Kate goes on her date, she was at the mall and gets spritzed in the face by a saleswoman holding a perfume bottle. For some reason, this makes Kate faint and pass out.

When Kate goes to bed that night, the clock strikes midnight and suddenly it rewinds time and we find we are back in the department store and Kate is getting up from having fainted. She is very confused and doesn't understand why this has happened to her again. Everyone around her is also confused and a shopper asks if this kind of thing happens to her all the time and she says it happened to her yesterday on Christmas Eve, and now today, on Christmas! But it's not Christmas! It's Christmas Eve! But how can that be when Christmas Eve was yesterday? Kate goes on her date again with Miles and asks if they've ever met and he says no.

And such the formula goes on and on. At first she is stuck on trying to get her ex back, but realizes he has moved on and is planning to propose to his new girlfriend (who was a high school sweetheart) and she realizes that Miles would be good for her and she really likes him. She also learns to be a better person and more patient. One of my favorite scenes involves her getting to know her neighbor, Margine, an elderly woman who loves to bake. For several of these "days" we see Margine brining a fruitcake to Kate and wanting to talk but Kate is either rude to her or just thanks her quickly and goes inside. Finally, on one "day" she takes the time to thank Margine and ask her for the recipe and Margine brings her into her HUGE apartment which is gorgeous and takes her into her kitchen where she learns how to bake. Remember in Groundhog Day when Bill Murray learned French and how to play the piano over the course of his days? Well, in this movie she learns to bake intricate cakes and cookies (and ends up with a gingerbread house).

Through her 12 days of Christmas Eve, she makes friends with a woman who is helping her boyfriend string up lights and learns she wants him to propose to her, so she tells the boyfriend to make lights that will spell out "Marry Me." She also sets up her neighbor with Jim, one of the shoppers who is always there to help her up from the floor everytime a new "day" starts and she is back in the department store. And then there was a weird storyline I don't get: she thinks Toby, the guy she almost thought was her blind date knows what's happening to her but I don't know if he did or not. She befriends him too and gives him a makeover and takes off his glasses (supposedly it works on guys too if you take off their glasses and they're much better looking!  :::rollseyes:::: Personally, I didn't think it was his glasses, it was his stupid haircut!) She sets him up with her friend who can't keep a guy. Kate also bonds with her stepmom.

One thing that irked me about this movie was that Kate was so desperate not to be alone on Christmas and for the rest of her life that she needed to get back with her ex. In fact, we learned her ex broke up with her after her mom died (ouch!) because he said that she was more in love with being with someone than with him and she was so set on not being like her father who was going to be alone (even though he did eventually remarry). I just hate these movies when the woman has to have a man in her life. Jesus, grow a pair!

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