Holiday Watch: One Starry Christmas

starryxmas 800Holly Jensen, a soon-to-be Ph.D. in astronomy comes home to her holiday-impaired boyfriend Adam. Holly loves Christmas and all that goes along with it — especially family. So, coming home to a fake tree and news that Adam is going to New York to try and snag a prestige job for himself…which will allow them to go to the “next level”.

Deciding that she doesn’t want to stay in Chicago alone, fear-of-flying Holly gets a discount bus ticket so she can spend the holidays with her parents (and Adam) in New York. Upon waking from her window-seat slumber, she is introduced to cowboy Luke and his saddle Dale. He’s a Texas rancher headed to New Jersey to meet up with this brother at a rodeo. Their bus breaks down, but Luke rents a truck and drives Holly to her parents. In thanks, she invites him to share dinner with the family.

It doesn’t take long for Adam to act like the classic me-first, jealous, wannabe alpha while seeing Holly and Luke solidifying their obvious perfect match — which culminates in Adam’s spur-of-the-desperation proposal as his boss’ Christmas party. Holly, stunned, accepts, but later shows Adam the curb.

Luke, meanwhile, is advised by his brother to fight for the girl — or at least tell her how he feels. So Luke rides his horse from New Jersey to New York, finds Holly, and they get their pairing up.

First, and let me say this before I forget: what idiot is going to ride their horse — ostensibly a rodeo-prepped and shod horse — all that way, on paved (possibly slippery) streets, at night, in unfamiliar territory? Sure, it’s romantic and all, but think of the poor horse, whydoncha?

OK. I just had to get that off my chest. Moving on.

This was your standard Hallmark channel holiday romance movie. The ill-suited, narcissistic boyfriend is the same one we’ve seen many times over the years. At no point, from their opening scene onwards, do we ever think he’s a viable suitor. Adam pays lip service to Holly probably getting a permanent teaching position in the city where they live — but he still arranges a job interview during the holidays that, if successful, would require relocation — which of course he expects her to do. The only truly satisfying thing about Adam was Holly cancelling, in no uncertain terms, their relationship.

Luke is the too-good-to-be-true fantasy boyfriend who has the adorable quirk of being a little too attached to his saddle. More importantly, he “gets” Holly. He listens to her. He takes her seriously. No one seems to care that, for the relationship to get serious, Holly would likely still have to relocate — as it’s unlikely Luke is going to give up his ranch. So, bad boyfriend will need her to move and be near her parents, and good boyfriend will need her to move to see the stars better (the previously mentioned fear-of-flying will make visits to the parents rare). I’m guessing Holly ends up staying in Chicago and gets a cat…or twelve.

The shining stars in the story were Holly’s parents, Betsy and Ken, who came off as excellent parents of an adult child; and Bull, Luke’s brother, who is just as good at tending to his own family.

One Starry Christmas closely follows the Hallmark hol-rom romance formula, but the sophisticated cowboy touch gives it a nice spirit. No fish out of water, Luke is just an out-of-towner. Also, New York gets to shine as a place where normal everyday folks can still have normal, everyday, lives. The me-first boyfriend trope is all too familiar. Fortunately, there is some satisfying closure at the end when Holly and Luke finally decided to give their new relationship a chance. It’s not a must-see movie, but it’s certainly one worthy of watching when it’s on.

  
Story:★★★½☆ 
Acting:★★★¾☆ 
Antagonist:★★☆☆☆ 
Denouement:★★☆ 
Overall:★★★¼☆ 
3.25 of 5 

For more movies, go to the list at: Watching the Holiday Movies

Photo Credit: Copyright 2014 Crown Media United States, LLC; Photographer: Christos Kalohoridis

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