Christmas Wedding Planner
Director: Justin G. Dyck
Writer: Keith Cooper, Rebecca Lamarche
Based on: Stacy Connelly’s novel Once Upon a Wedding
Cast: Jocelyn Hudon, Stephen Huszar, Kelly Rutherford, Rebecca Dalton, Eric Hicks, Joey Fatone
Seen on: 21.12.2019
Kelsey (Jocelyn Hudson) has dreamed of becoming a wedding planner. Now her cousin Emily (Rebecca Dalton) is getting married on Christmas and Kelsey is the one who gets to plan it – just the big break she needs! But she encounters a serius bump in her plans in the shape of Connor (Stephen Huszar). He is not only Emily’s ex, but also a private investigator who is determined to dig up any possible dirt on Emily’s fiancé Todd (Eric Hicks). Deciding that you should keep your enemies close, Kelsey agrees to help – which means she now has to juggle the wedding, the investigation and her attraction to Connor.
Christmas Wedding Planner feels a little painted by numbers (yes, even for a Christmas movie). It’s still watchable, but it is not a holiday movie highlight.
There were two major things about The Christmas Wedding Planner that I really struggled with. One was the way they dealt with the bridesmaids. On the one hand, I was confused by the character’s choices. I mean, I may just not know enough about USAmerican weddings, but why would Emily keep those bridesmaids, if they are that horrible in the first place? On the other, much heavier hand, the three bridesmaids don’t get names, they are Jealous, Clumsy and Bitter like in some weird variation of the seven dwarves. Two of the three are women of color – the only people of color in the entire film. It’s a seriously skewed optic, if you ask me. And it was plain mean in a way that’s also at odds in the way the loving and nurturing friendships between Kelsey, Emily and Emily’s mother Olivia (Kelly Rutherford) was portrayed.
The second thing where I felt my face do the grimace emoji was the ending: Todd is revealed to be an ass, Emily cancels her wedding and Connor just proposes to Kelsey and they take over the wedding immediately. Leaving aside questions of documents like marriage licenses (whatever), the speed of it left me very uncomfortable. They have known each other for a fucking week (I think – the timeline was a bit confusing). I just don’t think it’s very romantic to marry somebody that quickly. That may just be my own personal hang-ups, but still.
Other than those things – and your mileage will definitely vary here – the movie was fun. It’s short and makes time pass quickly. The cast is not amazing, but definitely good enough – they didn’t have that many chances to shine with the script (with the exception of Kelly Rutherford who is always great). That it didn’t have the biggest budget is rather notable at times, but it didn’t pull me out of the film.
The film probably won’t become a go-to holiday romance for me, but I didn’t regret watching it. It mostly achieves what it sets out to do.