Hallmark's "A Maple Valley Christmas" Is Based on a Book

Image
A Maple Valley Christmas Plot Summary   A rancher has spent her whole life working the family farm with her mother and sister, but when a man arrives and disrupts her plans, she starts to question what she actually wants. Starring :  Peyton List and Andrew Walker Image:  Hallmark Media The Movie Is Based on a Book A Maple Valley Christmas is based on the 2018 novel by Jerry Todt, but the Hallmark flips the script.  In the book, Erica is the real estate agent tasked with convincing a maple syrup farmer to sell, but after spending time in the small town, she has to decide between love or becoming a partner in her firm. When Hallmark fans love a movie, they always ask Hallmark for a sequel.  It will be interesting to see if Hallmark produces one because Todt released a follow-up novel in 2020 called A Maple Valley Wedding , which is set one year later.  Erica is in love, she's come to faith in Jesus, but then her ex shows up and sends her on a downward spiral. Did you enjoy this m

Take This TRIVIA QUIZ on Hallmark's "Three Wise Men and a Baby!"

Three Wise Men and a Baby Plot Summary

Three brothers get the surprise of their lives when they are forced to work together and care for a baby over the holiday.

Starring:  Paul Campbell, Tyler Hynes, and Andrew Walker

Three Wise Men and a Baby
Image:  Hallmark Media

What's to Love About Three Wise Men and a Baby?

THE ACTORS


It's no wonder fans are raving about Three Wise Men and a Baby and have made it the most watched cable movie of the year.  Paul Campbell, Tyler Hynes, and Andrew Walker together make the perfect tag team for a comedic holiday delight.

The movie was written by Campbell and his faithful Hallmark cohort, Kimberley Sustad (who has a cameo), proving the two have chemistry both onscreen and behind the scenes.

Casting Hallmark's top male talent into the same movie was a stroke of genius.  All three delivered outstanding performances, with each complementing the other better than cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg!

The movie is highly entertaining and fresh.


IT'S LESS PREDICTABLE


When have the lead characters NOT won the prize for which they are competing?  It's part of the happy, though unrealistic, trope we've been conditioned to expect.  When all three sons join forces to steal the title for best decorated home, we assume they will win their mother the prize--a cruise--but they lose!  Of course, the gift their mom loves the most is everyone getting along and being together at Christmas.

We also assume, based on Hallmark's track record, that Stephan will ultimately give the talk at the animal shelter on responsible pet adoption, and it will be the event marking the end to his social anxiety.  Just the opposite!  He passes out halfway through his speech.  

Still, there are plenty of scenes that end predictably well.  Luke finally gets his house finished; the fellas end up with the girls; Taylor gets his old job back; and the nemesis across the street becomes their friend.


THE FOCUS IS MORE ON COMEDY THAN ROMANCE


The bulk of Hallmark romcoms focus on the "rom" part.  Although there is romance in Three Wise Men and a Baby, the emphasis is solidly centered on comedy.

The first hilarious scene involves their mother, Barbara, as she tries to talk with Taylor on her cell phone.  She accidentally puts him on video, then she pauses him, and then can't hear him.  To boot, he's just downstairs.  The older you are, the more you can appreciate the struggle with technology!


It's also comedic the way the shoe is on the other foot--it takes three men to do the job of one mother.  It's a nice hat tip to moms everywhere, letting them know their hard work and juggling act is appreciated!  Taylor complains that he hasn't been able to eat, shower, sit down, or have one minute of "me time" and wonders aloud if that is too much to ask.  The guys realize how exhausting it is to take care of a baby.  Stephan feels like he's in the Twilight Zone with the endless cycle of clean, feed, clean, repeat.  You smile to yourself and think, welcome to my world! 

The swing assembly scene is a hoot, too.  Unless you're an engineer (or married to one), instructions for baby equipment are often perplexing!


One scene that should resonate with many parents is the one where Luke "judges" a mother whose kids knock down a Christmas display.  He says, "people need to keep a better eye on their kids," as he grabs the wrong baby carrier and leaves Thomas behind.  How many times has this happened to you?  The moment you criticize another person's parenting, you find yourself in the same situation and do no better!

The banter between the siblings is so natural and fun, and all the mistakes the guys make while navigating unchartered waters is priceless.  The scene where Taylor votes for a Medieval Christmas theme for the decorating competition is very unique, too.

The most unexpected part of the movie is watching these three hunks do a synchronized dance routine to the Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy.  It's a surprise you don't see coming, which is unusual for Hallmark.


IT HAS HEART

The movie is brimming with laughable moments, but it also has more substance than most romcoms this season.  

We learn the boys were abandoned by their father when they were little, and we see how that traumatic event has shaped their lives, making them who they are and how they respond to others.  Taylor lashes out and is a wrecking ball, Stephan withdraws into isolation, and Luke has neglected his own needs in order to shoulder the responsibility for the family. They recognize they have personal hurdles to overcome in order to stop their past from defining them.  They develop a deeper appreciation for their mother and what she must have endured raising three boys by herself.

Most of us can't imagine dropping off our baby at a fire station so we can have time to sort out our lives, but there are undoubtedly people out there, all alone, coping with circumstances we can't begin to fathom.  We should count our blessings!

My Christmas Tree Rating

Critics of the movie don't buy the notion that three grown men would still be living at home, but I think the well-written story makes it plausible.  Stephan lives in a separate house on the back of the property, Taylor is only home because he lost his job, and Luke has been too busy taking care of everyone to finish his house.  Only two things are a stretch for me:  we aren't told how a single mom like Barbara was able to afford such a luxurious house, and fire fighters don't normally earn a high enough salary to build the spectacular home Luke does.

Three Wise Men and a Baby is fun and original.  It's witty, has more depth than most romcoms, and boasts a star-studded cast.  Plus, most of us are suckers for an adorable baby.  Even the title is inventive because it reflects on the Christmas story, the actual live nativity the actors create, and is a twist on a similar plot from the 1987 blockbuster, Three Men and a Baby starring Tom Selleck, Ted Danson, and Steve Guttenberg.

Three Wise Men and a Baby easily earns five out of five Christmas trees.



Comments

Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Hallmark's "Haul Out the Holly" Is Simultaneously Entertaining & Disappointing

These Great American Family Christmas Movies Are Now Available on DVD!

Here's Why Hallmark's "We Wish You a Married Christmas" Bombs