According to Wikipedia,
Jane Austen was an English novelist known primarily for her six major novels, which interpret, critique and comment upon the British landed gentry at the end of the 18th century. Austen’s plots often explore the dependence of women on marriage in the pursuit of favorable social standing and economic security.
Obviously, this makes her novels perfect for being given the Hallmark treatment. Today, we have Pride, Prejudice, and Mistletoe featuring Lacey Chabert (finally).
Darcy (Chabert) has always worked hard to prove herself and be successful on her own terms, even choosing to start her own company, rather than work with her father. Returning to her hometown for Christmas, Darcy reconnects with an old rival, restaurant owner Luke (Penny), and they are forced to plan a charity event together. As Darcy spends time with her family and Luke, she starts to realize what matters most in life and sets out to mend her relationship with her father, and possibly fall in love. Based on the book of the same title by Melissa de la Cruz.
In a New York City bustling with Christmas cheer, we see Darcy Fitzwilliam wrapping up work at a non-descript business firm. She’s partner and a whizz at her job. Darcy’s PA even tells her that her “favorite” client’s portfolio grew 22% in eight months because of her. Darcy should already know this, but the PA is really trying to win those brownie points. But our take-charge heroine isn’t all that happy due to some growing tension with the other partners, so she needs a jolly Christmas break.
On her way to the airport, Darcy talks to her mother. The family is hosting an annual charity auction and the mother was so kind to invite Darcy’s ex-boyfriend, Carl, to manage it. She’s not jazzed but will have to suck it up for the orphans or dogs or whatever is benefiting from the charity event.
Darcy arrives in Ohio, only to be greeted by Carl. He acknowledges the whole awkwardness of working with the family but doesn’t acknowledge how weird it is that he’s picking her up by what I believe is surprise. Darcy apologizes for breaking up with him and Carl reacts a bit creepily.
At a local Ohioan restaurant, Darcy’s mother has some delicious food whipped up by a delicious man. Luke Bennett is his name and catering is his game (for the last three months anyway). Mom is loving the tasty treats and offers him the job of catering the charity event.
Darcy arrives at home and is greeted by her mother who just arrived from that sweet tasting. They have tea together to discuss the plans for the auction.
Because the mother had to take over the auction last minute, they don’t have many big ticket items for the event. To mitigate this possible disaster, Mom has decided to auction off custom Christmas trees. This is a great idea because everyone is looking to pay top dollar for a Christmas tree they don’t already have four days before Christmas. Darcy is too preoccupied with her own personal feelings to knock some sense into her mother.
Later that evening, Darcy and what I think is mean to be her best friend have dinner with the Bennett boys. The best friend is hooking up with older Bennett. Darcy is apprehensive because she and Luke used to fight a lot in high school. The moment they see each other, they begin to flirt and reminisce. But Darcy isn’t all that taken by him just yet.
At home, Darcy gives her mother all her ideas for making the auction a spectacular success. The doorbell rings and Mom excitedly shows Darcy the new caterer, Luke Bennett. Goofy Hallmark music plays because, oopsie, they have to work together now. Quelle surprise. Darcy disagrees with the contents of Luke’s menu since it clashes with her theme idea, but Darcy’s mother forces them to work together.
The couple goes shopping and argues the entire way. Arguing over the holidays is the most realistic element of this Hallmark film. Carl runs into them and gets a bee in his bonnet. Love triangle established.
That evening, Darcy gets a call from her PA telling her there’s an emergency partner meeting…and Darcy isn’t invited. That is one jerky firm. To take her mind off the business troubles, Darcy goes to her best friend’s white elephant party. Luke is there, and the couple ends up under the mistletoe. No kisses just yet, dear reader. Sexual tension established.
The next day, the mother calls Luke to help Darcy pick up the auction Christmas trees. The mother doesn’t know anyone else in Ohio. Darcy doesn’t want his help and knocks over a bunch of trees in the process of being an independent woman. That’s what you get when you’re an independent woman. ladies. They argue some more, and the tall, handsome white man tells Darcy that he felt like he had to fight for everything which didn’t make his life easy. Things were smoother for her because she’s from a rich family.
Darcy crashes the impromptu partners meeting via video conference. The partners tell Darcy that she either agrees with their vision of the company or sells her share. Yeah, I can get why Darcy is stressed.
The woman not only has to deal with partner mutiny, but she also has to manage a new issue with the auction: the Christmas tree decorator is out. I don’t know what role the mother plays in organizing this event, but I don’t see her pulling her weight. Darcy finds someone else to take the decorating position. Problem solved in less than 30 minutes.
Luke and Darcy go to the Pemberley Carols, a hotly anticipated annual event that appears to have attracted 30 people. The couple grows closer. Oh yeah, Luke’s dad is dead. Need one of those for good measure. Also, they’re both single. All the elements are there for romance. They sit under the mistletoe and Darcy kisses him near the eyebrow.
Luke joins her family in decorating the tree. Don’t know why.
Darcy receives a call from the PA who tells her that one of the partners is stealing Darcy’s clients. And there’s more bad news: auction ticket sales are so low that the committee may pull the plug. Darcy decides it’s time to trot out the guilt and kids.
Luke is asked to unload the car when a bunch of decorations arrive. I think the family thinks Luke is an unpaid mover rather than a caterer. He’s been loading and unloading everything in this film. This is the last straw for Luke and he pelts Darcy with a snowball. Instead of a revolt, Darcy sees this as flirting and a low-energy snowball fight ensues.
The family and new decorator start decorating the auction trees. Luke and Darcy use this time to playful wrap one another in ribbons. Carl is disgusted by this display.
After another distressing call from the PA, Carl tries to comfort Darcy. She accepts his kind words. I think this is sort of meant to establish that he has a chance, but on a scale of 1 to 10, he’s got a snowball’s chance in hell. This is a half-assed love triangle.
At a late-night pie eating meeting, Darcy’s dad tries to convince her to come back to his business. Darcy chews on both pie and job offer.
The next day, Darcy helps Luke make food for the auction. He’s actually giving the food to the auction for free so I suppose his staff opted out of working. They dance and share emotions.
All is not well though. It seems the waitstaff won’t be coming to the event due to some mishap. This auction is stressful. The family volunteers to the youth center children to help. Charity money doesn’t come for free, kids.
As Darcy supervises the event, she spies her favorite client in attendance, all the way from New York. He sees through the evil partner’s ploy and tells Darcy that he will stay her client no matter what. The attendees are having a swell time. While dancing, Darcy tries to tell Luke that she’s going to stay in Ohio but is interrupted by Carl. The former boyfriend tries to convince Darcy that he’s better than Luke. Luke overhears the pathetic plea and storms off before he hears Darcy rebuff Carl. Carl shrugs and leaves.
Luke tells his brother and Darcy’s friend that Darcy has gotten back with Carl. He reacts petulantly as if he was owed Darcy’s love.
Darcy tells her dad, her brother, and basically everyone except Luke that she’s staying in Ohio. No one can find him. Darcy immediately finds Luke with no effort. Luke tells her he’s gotten a restauranting deal with one of the committee members. Darcy tells him that she’s “crazy about it him” and that she’s staying in Smalltown, Ohio. The couple kisses. FIN.
That charity was mishap after mishap. The family overcame the odds but did it in a really cheap way. Lacey Chabert is a go-to gal for these things so there’s no major surprises from her. Luke did the “say something nice and smile” thing serviceably. Carl needed to back off seeing as Darcy gave him a firm no multiple times. Also, child labor is super festive!
We’ve got two more films left in the Thanksgiving blast: Christmas Everlasting and Reunited at Christmas. Unfortunately, we’ve also got two brand-spanking new ones to add: Mingle all the Way and A Majestic Christmas. Mingle all the Way is about an app so I’m ready for it. Remember to pray for Mojo.
- In one scene, Darcy decorates a bit of the house. If you actually see the house, you will see how insane this scene is.
- Everyone in this film asks “What’s wrong with Darcy?” It’s because everyone has perfect lives and she’s mildly unhappy.
- Darcy’s friend sent out the critical email blast to get more auction attendees without double checking it first. This sent a shock through my heart.
- Do any of these decorators/bakers/crafters in Hallmark films have assistants or staff? Quite often they call on their family members to help. While it’s definitely more cost effective, it is not good long-term planning.
- They respond to putting the youth center kids to work by saying “it’s like it was meant to be.” Eat the rich.
- People are paying up to $2000 for those trees that Darcy’s family bought for max $30. The decorator even used the family to decorate it. It’s a sham charity auction.
- Also is a small tree worth $5 in Ohio?!
- Find the rest of the recap/reviews here.