One of the most frequently used tropes comes out to play in An Unexpected Christmas. Despite this, it may be one of the best using the trope, and thanks to its cast, it works in an easy fashion.
An Unexpected Christmas (2021) Hallmark TV Film Review
Planning a Christmas trip to Hawaii quite by herself is something Emily (Bethany Joy Lenz) is actually excited for. She’s ready for some sand and sun, and then her boss has different plans. Working at a marketing company, Emily is tasked with going to a small town in Illinois to work on a project. Only trouble is, that town happens to be where her ex’s family lives.
Ben (Tyler Hynes) makes plans to head home for Christmas, taking with him the task of writing a big Christmas speech for the upcoming re-election bid of the governor. Upon his arrival home, he’s met by his sister and into their train station reunion walks Emily. Immediately the family embraces her, assuming the couple has arrived together, all because Ben never told the family who loves Em that they aren’t exactly together any more.
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The pretend-to-be-together trope isn’t a new one, and it’s also one that seems to get plenty of attention. That said, I really did like this one. Perhaps what helps this is two lead stars who are fabulous together. I really like their chemistry in that they seem to share an ease with each other and that in turn makes watching them together effortless. Whether they are slapping pastries out of the other’s hand (it’s funny, trust me) or trying to explain their (now) very separate lives in a way that pretends they’re together, they are good. But then I’ve always liked these two in their respective other roles too. If I had to say, these two may be my most favorite romantic on-screen (Hallmark) couple of this Christmas block altogether.
Beyond this, An Unexpected Christmas really steps back from all the let’s-cram-everything-we-can-in Christmas activities and I appreciate this. There’s still plenty of Christmas (décor, a play), it’s just more manageable and there are still other films that go that route. This one is perfect as is minus some of the closing drama about breaking up and relationship commitments. The relationships, outside of this, are mostly good and I like the solid brother-sister relationship, which did turn out to be a surprise.
Those who enjoy this trope will probably find something to smile about. Whether it’s the brief Hallmark cameo or the fabulous banter (I laughed several times) between Hynes and Lenz, there’s plenty of smiles here.
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Content: this one is likely another TV-G. One character is a homosexual and there’s a tease (about 35 – 40 or so minutes pre-end) that a new relationship is blooming.
Photos: Hallmark Channel / Crown Media Press