How to Fall in Love (2011) Hallmark Review
When a cast members from a favorite show appears in something else, I get excited at the prospect of seeing them outside of a familiar character. Apart from this being a Hallmark (always an automatic qualifier), the thing about How to Fall in Love that most interested me is its leading lady.
Harold has no fond memories from high school. After all, he wasn’t exactly popular. Dubbed a geek, his crush on the prettiest girl in school didn’t end well. Twenty years later, Harold (Eric Mabius) is a business savvy professional with his own business. What hasn’t changed? He’s still not very good when it comes to dating. His dream girl (Gina Holden) is a woman he’s never spoken to, which prompts his best friend to suggest he see a dating coach. This ends badly, until Annie (Brooke D’Orsay) reenters his life.
Annie is the girl Harold had a crush on in school, and now she’s the solution to all his problems. Hire her as his dating coach, she says and she guarantees, he’ll be a dating savant. With Annie’s help, Harold may just land the girl of his dreams.
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Being a “how-to” story is appropriate because it’s impossible not to fall for this – and believe me, I fall hook, line and sinker. The one thing it doesn’t do is teach us how not to be charmed. There’s no denying there is something infectious about the film once it all comes together in one wholesome romantic package.
Typical of any TV film, the script isn’t always perfect though I’d be lying if I didn’t say there is some witty dialogue to pair with poignant conversations. Annie’s determination to make Harold realize his worth is particularly sweet (poignant). Then for some fun, it’s fun to discover Harold’s hobby (I like that it doesn’t mesh with his professional life). My greatest complaint is the cinematography. Nearly every scene is “gray,” and misses the colorfulness the characters and story should have. The backdrop is lacking because of this, which makes the film seem more one-dimensional. Pops of unexpected fun come into the frames here and there, and in spite of myself I like Annie quirky style. This then brings me to the terrific protagonists.
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Any seasoned rom-com fan may be surprised by the leading man. He’s a “geek” through and through whose personality is more multi-layered than first impressions expose.From the first moment we see him as a gangly, 15-year-old, there is something “cute” about him. Then as the successful business man, Harold is a compelling leading man. Whether he’s wearing ridiculously large, black-rimmed glasses or dressing like a suave heart breaker, this character is one of my favorite Hallmark leading men. He’s considerate and cute in a boy-next-door kind of way. As Annie would say, he’s a romantic and a gentleman. He and Annie are adorable together, and Brooke is simply delightful as the out-going Annie.
Bottom line, this is one comedy hard to say “no” to. It may be a “how-to” guide for the benefit of Harold, but it becomes equally so for us. How to Fall in Love teaches the audience and the once naïve Annie that first impressions are often misleading. Look underneath the outward physical picture, and she finds that what really matters is underneath. This is a value too rare in entertainment today.
(This post does contain affiliate links; if you buy anything through these links, I may receive a small percentage of the sale at no extra cost to you. Read the disclosure page for details.) You can own How to Fall in Love digitally on Amazon Video or buy on DVD.
TVPG Content: There may be a brief sexual implication [non-graphic] or an instance of immodest dress.