It’s Lori Loughlin (known to many as Aunt Becky in Full House)! Is there a trifecta or some sort of cabal of Hallmark female leads? Whatever it is, Lori is in it. Honestly, I think Candace Cameron Bure called up the Full House crew and told them that there was a steady paycheck in these. Jodie Sweetin is in an upcoming film so she’s slowly coming into the fold.
Today’s film is Homegrown Christmas.
After stepping down as CEO of her dream job, Maddie (Loughlin) heads home for the holidays to gain perspective. She finds herself running into her old high school sweetheart Carter (Webster), and tensions quickly arise. When forced to put together a Christmas dance for the local high school, Carter and Maddie find themselves putting their differences aside and just might rediscover what made them fall in love all those years ago. Starring Lori Loughlin and Victor Webster.
Maddie, our heroine, kicks off the film. Before I get into her, Jesus baby Christ, could we please do something about the film titles here? Does Hallmark not have enough money to pay for something better than Windows Movie Maker?
Maddie is speaking to a group of executives about how she picked herself up by her bootstraps to make a big shoe company. They’re celebrating the fact that the company has been bought for big bucks. Maddie will have to step down as head, but she can wipe her tears away with that large paycheck.
Maddie doesn’t really know what to do with herself now that she has no job. She receives a call from her mother who invites her home so that her daughter can figure out what to do with her life.
Mom hangs up the phone to tell her staff that her kid is coming home for Christmas. The staff is unfazed except for one: Carter, our male lead. He has a crappy history with Maddie. It seems he broke her heart sometime after high school. Will sparks fly? Of course, but these films are truly about the journey that you can predict step by step.
Maddie arrives at her house and spies this not-staged-and-very-natural scene through the window:
She also sees her former high school boyfriend and panics. Lori is roughly in her 50s so I suspect her character is as well. Has she had no relationships in the time between? Does running a shoe company hamper any kind of romantic entanglements? This is the only explanation I can come up with for having such a strong reaction from something that took place 40 years ago.
She tries to stay hidden on the porch, but is easily spotted by Carter. Maddie bumbles her way through the encounter which doesn’t impress him. His niece Ava steps outside and Carter promptly introduces her to Maddie. Ava gushes over Maddie’s shoes and says she saved up her allowance to buy some.
Maddie’s mother invites her daughter inside where the rest of the family greets her. Maddie appears to have a strained relationship with her sister, Hallie. I suspect she spent no time with her family because she was too busy being a shoe business woman.
Mom puts Maddie up in her old room which hasn’t changed. They talk about how she didn’t marry Carter because the last 30-40 something years didn’t happen.
The next morning, Carter is in the kitchen, doing scrimshaw or some crap. For a man who’s not related to the family, he spends a lot of time in their house. Carter is volunteering to help organize the high school’s holiday formal which is taking place in a barn. But with the family business and the dance being a week away (!), they all have their hands full. Maddie offers to help.
Rather than put her to work with the family business since she’s a person who used to own one that was successfully sold for lots of money, Hallie lumps Maddie with Carter to organize a high school dance.
Carter and Maddie enter the barn which is full of builders hastily fixing it. Carter is an awful volunteer. Since he hasn’t yet chosen a theme (surprise surprise), the reluctant duo decides that the theme will be Santa’s workshop complete with Santa’s village. Would high schoolers be into this? I don’t know. I didn’t go to prom and I can’t remember high school since it was many many years ago.
Later, Maddie tries to have a nice conversation with her mother, but Mom is obsessed with getting her hooked up with Carter. She is the type of woman who obsessively rereads Twilight ten years later, hoping that the story will change.
Maddie’s sister and niece walk into the room, only to awkwardly leave moments later. Maddie asks her mother why Hallie hates her. Mom says that lil sis just wanted Maddie home, but Maddie was too busy being a business woman to care about her family. This has made the sibling relationship kinda weird.
Back at the barn, Carter is busy building a little wooden house. He likes making tiny things. Maddie tries to compliment him, but Carter gets angry for some prideful reason. I guess he thinks it’s a pity compliment.
Later in the evening, we see Maddie spying on Carter. She watches him hug a mystery blonde that is wearing nothing to cover her legs in the middle of the snow. Strumpet! He hugged her in an earlier scene, so we’re supposed to believe that this is his girlfriend. If you think differently, then you outsmarted Hallmark. A hearty congrats to you.
The next morning, Maddie eats pie for breakfast and Carter judges her for it. She ignores his comments so that they can finally clear the air. After high school, Carter was supposed to join her in New York so that they could become the next big power couple. He “chickened out” and then ghosted her which was much easier to do in the 80s or 90s. They make up and Carter eats a pie.
The couple continues to mend their relationship by bonding over cutting down a Christmas tree and baking cookies. We discover that the mystery blonde is Carter’s cousin so there’s no threat there. (We’re not in the DEEP South, after all.) We also learn that the couple is bad at baking. They use salt instead of sugar. Finally, we uncover that they’re both single after everyone they met wasn’t “the one.”
Brace yourself, reader, because a wild thing is about to happen. Maddie receives a call from what I assume is her assistant. It’s big news. TV presenter WENDY WILLIAMS wants Maddie to be part of the WENDY WILLIAMS shoe line. After all, Maddie “gave her all those shoes for her last book tour.”
It’s one thing to name drop a random celebrity-type, but it’s another to have them deliver wooden lines in a Hallmark film! WENDY WILLIAMS thanks Maddie for the “box of shoes” (WTF?) she sent her. Maddie tells WENDY WILLIAMS that she has “incredible taste.” Sometimes we have to say things we don’t mean to get what we want. WENDY WILLIAMS offers her a partnership and awaits Maddie’s confirmation.
In a fun twist, Maddie’s mother isn’t all sunshine and rainbows. She has a catty relationship with another lady who won’t share a cookie recipe. This is actually the most exciting bit of the film (sorry, WENDY WILLIAMS).
Carter and Maddie take a romantic walk where they talk about their futures. Maddie tells her potential new boyfriend that she’s considering the shoe offer from WENDY WILLIAMS. She also pushes Carter to sell his small wooden houses online. Carter is resistant.
Mom and Maddie have a heart to heart at home. By which I mean, the mother pushes the Carter agenda on her daughter. “Purpose comes in all different shapes and sizes,” the old woman says. And that purpose is to get some bonin’ from Carter.
Maddie convinces Hallie that she should put Carter’s work on the website and send an email blast. He said he didn’t want to do it so this is a classic “douche move” by Maddie. The sisters become friends so that’s one hurdle we’ve gotten over. And it only took an hour of film time to repair 20 years’ worth of bad relationship.
It’s the night of the high school holiday formal. The barn is decorated, the kids are dancing like white kids, and our lead couple is chaperoning.
Everything is going well. The couple even dances! But when Carter talks about kissing, Maddie has a small meltdown and says she can’t do this with him again. She leaves. Carter has his own crappy moment when he finds out that his small wooden houses are online against his will. Who would’ve known that the 50-somethings would be the source of drama at a high school dance?
Mom and Maddie have another heart to heart, this time outside of a barn. Mom says that she initially refused her husband’s marriage proposal. This surprises her daughter. Mom never mentioned it because Dad “hated” that she could have “potentially ruined everything.” Even the dead men are man-babies. Anyway, her point is that Carter is the one and if Maddie doesn’t go for it, she’ll ruin everything in her currently meaningless life. Maddie thinks this is a normal conversation and agrees.
The shoe mogul runs off to find Carter. He’s peeved that his wooden houses are online and doesn’t appreciate that Maddie is pushing this onto him. Maddie talks about his greatness and that she won’t apologize for trying to push him to succeed in the small wooden house business.
This small disagreement pushes Maddie to take the WENDY WILLIAMS job. On the other side of the spectrum, the conversation convinces Carter to follow his small wooden houses dream. He goes to talk to Maddie’s mother about this, but she doesn’t care all that much and makes the conversation about his love life.
While speaking with Hallie, Maddie realizes that she should run the family business with her sister. Hopefully, she didn’t confirm her acceptance of the other job or WENDY WILLIAMS is going to be pissed. Carter has his own eye-opening conversation with his sister. What path will he choose?
The destined-to-be couple finally meets to unload their feelings. Carter is going to pursue the small house business. Maddie is staying in town. They kiss. FIN.
Women tend to be HIGHLY successful in these films. They’ve broken glass ceilings, earned the respect of their peers, and are doing well. Now, yes, success is not solely measured by money and work, but this is an interesting common trait in most of the Hallmark heroines. However, it isn’t celebrated. It’s actually a negative because feelings in women are more important (as is keeping the population of a small town inside of its borders). As for this film, Maddie was a big deal and Carter wasn’t. Now they are the same. Huzzah.
Onto the next film: Welcome to Christmas. This is about a town that is called Christmas. Inventive, thy name is Hallmark Channel.
- Carter’s niece Ava had a storyline about going to the “fashion institute in New York.” I cut it out because it adds nothing to the film.
- “I love Christmas lights. The way they blink in a pattern.” …this line better have been bad ad-libbing because if someone actually wrote this in a script, I will flip a table.
- Mistletoe appears in this film. And, yes, the two 50 year old people act like children around it.
- Hallie’s family is a Hallmark card come to life. That is to say that have as much depth as a piece of hard paper.
- There was more talk about shoes in this film than in A Shoe Addict’s Christmas.
- A blink-and-you-miss-it piece of information: Maddie’s dad is dead.
- The WENDY WILLIAMS cameo…let’s just sit and ruminate on that.
- Find the rest of the recap/reviews here.