Merry Christmas! Here’s your present from me: TWO recaps/reviews in ONE DAY! My struggle is your reward.
I don’t like the title to this film, but I guess that comes as no surprise seeing as I’ve not expressed much positivity towards the Hallmark film titles. I know this is from the song Jingle Bell Rock. Maybe the film is about a band that has to scramble to play Christmas songs for different venues on Christmas day. Here’s what Jingle All the Way actually about:
When Elle Bennet (Nevin) decides to reunite her college friends for a special Christmas celebration, her plans are thwarted by an opportunity at work she can’t pass up — spearheading a Christmas campaign relaunch to prove she’s ready for a career-altering promotion. Much to her surprise, she’s forced to team up with advertising campaign ‘fixer’ Max (Cassidy), who has a completely different take on the Holidays. But as Elle and Max work together and learn more about each other’s Christmas traditions, they unexpectedly find themselves falling for each other. With the help of a little Christmas magic, will Elle pull off the perfect Christmas reunion and find the love she’s been searching for? Starring Brooke Nevin and Michael Cassidy.
I don’t know if anyone’s noticed, but I never read the synopsis before recapping. So the films generally come as a surprise. Well, as much as a surprise as Hallmarks films can be.
The film kicks off with Jingle Bell Rock playing. I suspect that’s the frail attempt to address the “jingle” in the film title. Elle, our Hallmark heroine in this film, is in a café to plan a Christmas party with her university friends. One of the friends owns the café and plans to shut it down to host their shindig, running a proper business be damned.
A guy walks into the coffee shop (this isn’t the setup to a joke, by the way) and Elle gets flustered. She’s into the dude. He nods knowingly at her and she spills her drink (this is the film’s version of a joke). Elle ends the friend meeting with eggnog on her face (my anemic idea of a joke).
While shopping with her friend, Elle gets a call from her demanding boss, Fiona. Fiona is dealing with an emergency in the office. Elle wants the newly opened Creative Director position, so she heads back to work to earn those brownie points. She runs into coffee shop guy and they have bumbling meet-cute chat. They forget to get each other’s names.
At the office, Elle finds out about the emergency. A competing company has copied their Windows Movie Maker ad.
Fiona is so taken by this “good” ad, so I’ll be spending the rest of the film wondering why she’s the head of a department. The company has called in one of their best employees, Maxwell Turner, to fix everything. Elle throws her hat in the ring and Fiona invites her to tomorrow’s brainstorming meeting. Elle will have a lot on her plate with organizing her college friend Christmas party and creating a last minute ad campaign.
Elle butts heads with Maxwell Turner who is participating through conference call. He’s known for his curt emails and ability to interrupt other people. He mysteriously drops off the call which gives the group an opportunity to break for lunch. Fiona asks Elle to work with Maxwell on the campaign.
For lunch, Elle visits an ornament stall. She eats plastic goods.
The stall owner Nancy gushes about her son who has helped her make her stall pop. He comes up from behind. It’s coffee shop guy! But after a bit of talking, we soon discover he’s Maxwell Turner, writer of brusque emails. They discuss the campaign. Maxwell wants a celebrity cook, Elle wants a regular person. They attempt to settle this disagreement through a wreath making contest.
Because Elle loses, Maxwell gets to do his celebrity chef video. And if you’ve been watching these films or reading these reviews, this will blow your mind: he wants to get JULIA WISE! Julia Wise from Road to Christmas! THERE’S EVIDENCE FOR A HALLMARK CINEMATIC UNIVERSE! Someone link them all together!
The next day, Elle and Maxwell disagree on the look of the set for the celebrity chef video. It needs more pop. Oakley, Maxwell’s party planner sister, is on hand to take care of that. As they’re looking for a tree for the film shoot, they get bad news: Julia Wise has dropped out! Probably because she has to do her own Christmas special in Vermont with Chad Michael Murray.
This unfortunate development doesn’t stop the couple from learning about each other. Elle’s parents are dead. Maxwell has a full and healthy family, except for his dad who is dead. Maybe they can build their relationship on that.
In another stroke of bad luck, the backup celebrity chef also pulls out. Elle and Maxwell need to come up with a new plan.
In place of a celebrity chef, they decide to harness the power of the people and make a website that is home to a collection of user submitted recipe videos. Elle will create the first one. She’s not good at it and we get a montage of her attempts at making pecan pie. They get a middling take and just run with it. You can only spend so much time faffing about with a bad host.
Elle and Maxwell go back to hers to eat a bit of her pie. They eat pie, decorate, a slowly bare their souls to each other. Maxwell acts weirdly when Elle reveals that she’s going for the Creative Director role which likely means he is too. Elle’s boss tells her that, yes, this is the case.
Earlier in the film, Maxwell’s mom invited Elle to decorate their tree. Elle initially agreed, then took it back once she found out the Maxwell was also applying, then changed her mind again. So here she is at Maxwell’s house to make his home more Christmassy.
After the tree is done, Elle builds Maxwell’s mom’s website and they talk about his dead dad. The mother immediately gets a sale from her site even though it only went live three minutes before. Elle deserves more than a promotion if she can make websites that immediately lead to sales or drive user generated videos with no promotion at all. The family also makes their own recipe video because the client saw the videos submitted by the public and thinks they suck. So they must seed their own content. Green bean casserole montage!
When the night wraps up, Elle and her friend (who was invited because he’s part of the secondary love story) drive back home. They hug in the car. Maxwell sees this and is dejected.
Back at work, Elle is busy monitoring the campaign. Elle’s friend begs her to eat something that isn’t ornaments. She promises she’ll get a sandwich. Outside, she meets Maxwell and the conversation they have clears up the single-or-not-single confusion. To celebrate their singleness, they ice skate. She also goes caroling with her friends.
Elle oversleeps and races to her offices for the interview. She passes by the café but sees her friends putting up the Christmas party decorations. Elle feels useless and continues the beeline to her future. We get a mini waiting-for-my-interview-montage. While getting some water, she overhears Maxwell’s interview. He’s stealing her ideas.
She confronts him outside of the office. He takes offense to her claim. She calls him a shark. Sad music plays. Things are left unsaid. Elle still waits for her interview. It’s been hours. This is piss poor management from her company.
Elle’s boss approaches her to apologize and tell her that Maxwell spent his whole interview promoting Elle. He stepped out of the running. I guess that’s nice, but it’s a little strange that he’d take it upon himself to share her ideas on her behalf.
It’s time for Elle’s interview. As we’re dropped into the middle of it, we have to assume the first part was good because the second part is a rambling mess about how she loves coordinating her friends’ Christmas party. She goes on about this for a full two minutes of running time. She ends the interview saying she has a party to go to.
She runs into Maxwell outside. It was still daylight when they had their fight so we can only guess that he spent the last few hours standing outside to wait for Elle. They make up and go to the friend Christmas party which has merged with the office Christmas party. Elle gets everything she wanted.
Maxwell tells Elle he’s going to work for his mother’s ornament hobby. Elle is happy. They kiss. FIN.
I mean I don’t have much to say about this one. The male lead had a bit of a booming voice. Here’s an interesting point: no small town v big city. Just two big city people finding bland love. I guess it’s interesting as well that she gets the big job and he downgrades to some scrapbooky job.
Next is Christmas Made to Order, starring a guy with eyebrows.
- Everyone in these films has to exclaim “It’s BLANK DAYS before Christmas!” in an exasperated tone. It’s because everyone has some BIG event that the film hurtles towards.
- HALLMARK CINEMATIC UNIVERSE!
- I’m surprised they didn’t hook up with an actual cookware company. This would have been a great product placement opportunity.
- It’s kind of weird that people just upload their videos with no incentive. Elle doesn’t even talk about pushing it through online ads or TV so it just seems like they recorded a recipe video, posted it online, and everyone started publishing videos for it.
- Find the rest of the recap/reviews here.