Hallmark Christmas: A Gingerbread Romance Recap/Review

If you’ve not had enough gingerbread in the runup to Christmas, then have I got a film for you: A Gingerbread Romance.

With Christmas just weeks away, the architecture firm Taylor works for enters her in a contest in which the teams will design and build life sized gingerbread houses. After the contest, Taylor will likely be getting a promotion to a position in another city. The firm teams her up with Annabelle, a renowned French pastry chef with whom Taylor instantly locks horns. When Annabelle backs out, Taylor stumbles into a local bakery and meets Adam, a baker and single dad. In an act of desperation, Taylor convinces Adam to partner with her for the contest, arguing that winning would give the bakery and his designs much needed exposure. For years Taylor has been resistant to call anywhere “home” for fear it will only be temporary. But the time she spends with Adam and his daughter Brook in their cozy home, decorating for Christmas, and exploring Philadelphia at Christmas, fills her with a longing for a place to call home. Starring Tia Mowry-Hardrict and Duane Henry.

The last film starred 90s child star, Jodie Sweetin. Today, we get one of the Sister Sister twins. I believe she’s been getting steady work on TV, but now we get to see her fall in love. Hopefully with a human man rather than one made of gingerbread. Actually, I think I got that backwards. Anyway…

The film opens with a young child who is worried that Santa won’t find them if they leave their current domicile. The mom calms her daughter’s fears and off they go with luggage in tow. 20 years pass and the little girl, Taylor, is all grown up. She lives in a fancy, modern house where there is no decoration in sight. Modern décor means that she has stopped loving Christmas.

Taylor is an architect and is about to meet with her boss (the lady from Reba) for some great news. The board is lining her up for a big promotion in friendly France. But to get that, she needs to do a special task. Taylor has been selected to design a gingerbread house at the inaugural Giant Gingerbread Contest. The boss has also kindly paired her up with the best pastry chef in the city. Taylor hesitates, but accepts.

As she leaves to meet the chef, she runs into a guy from rival firm from the camp across the lake. He’s also a contestant in the gingerbread competition and he’s ready to win. The premise of the film is established in under 10 minutes.

Camp Architect is going down!

We cut to a guy in a muscle shirt holding a heavy cake that is shaped like a tree. He’s also wearing a scarf that serves no purpose. He’s delivering it to Taylor’s architect film for their Christmas party. When he finally arrives at his destination, he cumbersomely plonks the cake down on the nearest table and smudges one of Taylor’s architecture pieces. In case you were wondering, yes this is Taylor’s love interest.

Why wear a scarf when a scarf can wear you?

Taylor receives a call from her boss to say the top pastry chef was poached by the rival architect firm. What will they do now?! They only have 24 hours ‘til the big match! I mean gingerbread competition! Taylor calls a bunch of bakeries, but no one is interested in helping. She makes a last-minute decision to go for the muscle shirt guy, Adam.

Due to their previous encounter, Taylor and Adam are not very friendly to one another. Even Adam’s cute daughter can’t smooth things over. Taylor tries her best to convince Adam to partner up, but he declines. Before leaving, she gives him her card and requests that he reconsider. He eventually does and accepts Taylor’s proposal.

The duo meets at the Christmas festival to attend the launch of the Giant Gingerbread Competition. Each team has 10 days to create their masterpieces. Unfortunately, Taylor and Adam are not good teammates. He says her design for the gingerbread house is too modern, while she says they need to create something elegant. They then argue about who is in charge. It’s all pointless bickering.

The team meets at Adam’s house in an attempt to create a better working relationship. Adam is aggressive about baking which is a tad unnerving. He also struggles saying kitchen related terms when giving Taylor a lesson on gingerbreading. Taylor gives her opinion and he tells her to stop being a “backseat baker.” He also manages to burn some pastry. I think I know who the dead weight is in this pairing.

Top tip: don’t bash your dough with a rolling pin. It’s not how you do it.

We have a short scene to showcase a truly important character in the film…

Nothing comes closer to home!

As Adam and Taylor slowly become friendlier, we discover that Adam’s wife is deeeeeeeeeeead. Because of this inconvenience, he had to quit culinary school to take care of his daughter, but he still bakes because it makes her happy. We also learn that Taylor is the daughter of a diplomat and an “international lawyer” and constantly traveled around the world. This explains why she’s so career focused. While they bond, they run into Taylor’s architect competitors. There’s some lame banter.

At the festival, Taylor recruits her friends to help create the gingerbread house. As she sets the ground rules, she takes a jab at Adam’s inability to keep time. We’ve not actually been shown that he has poor time management skills, so this was unwarranted. They have a passive aggressive fight in front of her friends.

“This is uncomfortable!”

We get another montage of the team building the stall. Adam and Taylor get friendly. Taylor probes into Adam’s wish of owning a bakery. He still doesn’t believe in himself. Adam asks (on behalf of his daughter, Brooke) if Taylor would like to join them for dinner.

What’s the average salary of a bakery employee? Because that is a serious house.

After dinner, Adam drops Taylor off at her house. He comments that her house has NO DECORATIONS and that she should be burned at the stake for it. Not really, but he says she would need to decorate to get a better feel for making a gingerbread house. He gives her an ugly ornament to get her started

The next day, Taylor and Adam are in the bakery kitchen and are in a total flow. She gives him the tools he wants even before he asks. They stop to check out a Christmas market in Philly. He gives her peppermint bark and she buys a toy for a project that Brooke is working on.

They drive back Taylor’s house only to see Brooke and Adam’s sister in the driveway. They surprise her by showing Taylor a Christmas tree and her newly decorated house. Overstepping bounds much? They enter the house and beautify the tree together.

It’s 6 days til judging.

See?

Taylor and Adam are making the frame for the gingerbread house. They get some taunts from the rival firm who is conveniently placed next to them. Adam says that before they can put the decorating touches, they need inspiration. The couple plus Brooke walk around a neighborhood to look at Christmas lights. This inspires Taylor enough to visit a candy shop. Brooke orders 10,000 gum drops and Taylor pays for it. The candy shop must have some incredible stock in the back.

“Someone is getting diabetes for Christmas!”

Taylor’s boss pops by to see how things are going. They’re ok until Taylor and Adam start fighting about some gingerbread that is starting to crack. Seems they haven’t smoothed over their relationship just yet. Adam suggests making thicker gingerbread bricks, but Taylor wants to keep her design. The make an emergency trip to the….ice skating rink? I gotta say this came out of left field.

Taylor learns how to ice skate. Look it needed to be shoehorned in, ok?

Now that her initial concept for a gingerbread house might be kaputsky, Taylor wracks her brain for a new design. She decides to pull out an old photo/scrapbook and comes across the perfect design….

“I know what’ll make a revolutionary design…a Crayola drawing I made as a kid!”

Her boss has been asking for a cutting-edge design, so this is…less than impressive. Are you sure the decision you made in the wee hours of the morning is a good one, Taylor? The gingerbread team makes up for lost time and, in a day, essentially builds a gingerbread house that someone can walk into.

Taylor gets a call from her boss who tells her that she’s basically got the Paris promotion and once it’s finalized, she’ll be leaving on Christmas Eve. Taylor is flabbergasted which makes her boss respond with, “I thought you’d be more excited. Isn’t this what you’ve been pushing for?” But does Taylor still want it? That’s what we, the audience, need to find out.

At the gingerbread house, Adam and Taylor bond over the competition. Adam only joined this “crazy” competition to show his daughter that he can dream big. What a weird way to show your kid that.

They also dance in front of the house because they are fun and whimsical.

After some more lovely bonding scenes, Taylor eventually breaks the news to Adam that she has gotten a Paris promotion. He’s disappointed. So much for dancing in gingerbread. They both go off to think about their futures.

It’s the finale of the Giant Gingerbread Competition. All the contestants are unveiled. And there are a bunch of extras who play as if they were any sort of competition. It’s down to rival firm from across the lake and Taylor’s. Who will win? It’s Taylor.

In spite of the beautiful gingerbread they made together, Taylor tells Adam and Brooke that she’s off tonight to gay Paris. She packs up her modern house and heads towards her shuttle. At the bakery, Adam’s boss tells his employee that he wants him to be a partner in the business. Adam gets his dream. But the boss isn’t done; he tells Adam to tell Taylor how he feels. Now that he’s partner, maybe it’s not as inappropriate for the guy to tell Adam to get a love life (yeah, it still is).

Adam initially tries Taylor’s house, but she’s already at the airport.

Ah, yes, Avialtra Airways, part of StarryOne Allliance.

Instead of getting on that plane, Taylor decides to stay. Not cool as the company will have to do some serious reshuffling. I think they were paying for her hotel/apartment and everything. Man, I wish I was a hotshot architect.

She heads directly to Adam’s house. She tells Adam she’s staying, Adam says he has a bakery. They kiss. FIN.

Baked goods for life!

The acting…the acting was not good. There were so many moments of stilted delivery to the point that I had to rewind to ensure I heard correctly. Of the actors, Tia did the best job.

We’re through the looking glass people! The next film is…Jingle Around the Clock. It’s not a good title.

STRAY THOUGHTS

  • Oh my god, the male lead is a terrible actor. Actually, so many people in this are bad actors.
  • Do kids take to their new mommies or dad’s like Brooke did to Taylor?
  • This film was montage-tastic. They squeeze in big ones, little ones, and all types between.
  • The dance is interrupted by a security guard. It’s meant to be sort of comical. It’s not.
  • The pastry chef that chose the rival firm gives Taylor and Adam a compliment on their house. They act stunned. It was never established that she was terrible, she just chose a better offer. I guess the fact that she is French is shorthand for her being awful or something.
  • I was in Philly airport when writing this. The airport does not look like the one in the film.
  • Taylor takes one sip of the Folgers and then throws it away.
  • Find the rest of the recap/reviews here.