Hallmark’s Christmas in July bonanza is over, so the channel is back to its regular programming: Home & Family, the Golden Girls, and Hallmark films that try to tie into some sort of season.
I’ve covered a few of the random ones they’ve put out, but I generally steer clear. However, this one caught my eye: In the Key of Love. It stars Scott Michael Foster from Crazy Ex-Girlfriend. I want him to sing about zoos in this. For the love of God, please sing about zoos!
Anyway, here’s what it’s actually about:
Photographer, Maggie, learns her ex-boyfriend/ex-singing partner is in the wedding she is working. Tensions run high until they sing together, remembering how good they were as a duo.
The film starts with a Hallmark cover of Can’t Hurry Love and a bunch of snapshots of the perfect wedding. Said snapshots are being taken by our heroine, Maggie, who looks on wistfully as the newly married couple motorboats away to their happily ever after.
The single female photographer goes back to her impossibly beautiful workspace to admire her photography and contemplate death. Her moment is interrupted by her obligatorily friend-slash-coworker. Maggie is in the process of sorting some belongings which includes a guitar case with a NASHVILLE sticker slapped onto it. This excites her friend who begs Maggie to sing, but the former singer refuses. She has left Nashville and, therefore, has left singing as well.
Maggie’s friend has great news: she’s gotten an offer from some company to head up their events team. She’s grateful to be leaving the current business as she’s been an assistant for three years and, according to her, that’s “too long to be doing something that isn’t your true passion.” Ahh, the privilege.
We move scenes to see Scott Michael Foster aka Jake in the studio, giving notes to some singers. A big shot pop star named Ashley Z walks in and flirt-ily instructs Jake to get things in tip-top shape for her upcoming tour.
Jake then races off to some important family event.
Back at Maggie’s, her boss/grandma is watching a video of when Maggie and Jake used to sing together. She closes it quickly before her granddaughter sees. Grandma instructs Maggie and the friend/coworker (her name doesn’t matter) that they need to get the next wedding prepped ASAP. The guests are arriving via ferry. FYI Grandma’s business is a wedding island.
It just so happens that this particular wedding is for…Jake’s sister! WUH OH!
The former couple awkwardly converses until Jake’s sister Jennifer saves the day by butting in. She introduces her fiancé.
Jennifer wanted Maggie at the wedding, but didn’t want to outright ask her, so she just put her in a weird position of making her work at the wedding. Yes, it’s as stupid as it sounds.
Maggie goes back to her grandma to chew her out. Nana is trying to dictate her life and that isn’t cool. But Nana says she knows best, so I guess Maggie just has to roll with it.
At the wedding hall, Jake and his sister reference their dead parents. “They would have been so proud of you,” says Jake. That’s the nice thing about dead parents in Hallmark films: they’re ALWAYS proud of you.
When Jennifer spies Maggie, she shouts in delight because they can finally catch up. She could have done this over a phone call, but why make this simple? Maggie pushes back saying that she’ll be working, but sis just says that she ordered the newly-created, week-long “Deluxe Package” so that Maggie could be in EVERY EVENT. Nana sanctioned this.
Right, there’s something wrong here. Jennifer and Nana conspired to have Jake and Maggie together for the wedding. Never mind that they broke up TWO WHOLE YEARS AGO. And never mind that maybe Jake is a domestic abuser or Maggie is addicted to opiates. No one knows the details of the relationship, so how the hell do they put it upon themselves to make decisions for these people? How selfish do you have to be? And making someone you purportedly like do work during your wedding? I’m baffled and kind of angry with this entire scenario.
Jake and Maggie have a moment to address the awkwardness and catch up. Maggie no longer sings, and Jake is a producer. We already know this, but gotta fill the time somehow.
They continue to bump into each other on the small island and talk. The main new piece of information we learn is that Jake is worried about doing a good job on his first producing gig. Maggie tells him to relax and let things go (something he didn’t do during their relationship).
There’s a scene where Jake and Maggie are forced to salsa dance together. Jake is controlling as hell. He tells Maggie how to dance.
Maggie later explains to her friend/coworker that she stopped singing because she choked in front of some people that were ready to sign her and Jake’s duo. Also, Jake micromanaged things to the point that she sort of freaked out.
Later that evening, Jennifer requests that Jake and Maggie sing together for everyone around the campfire. Jake is ok with this. Maggie protests but then reluctantly agrees. At least we finally get some singing and it’s actually good.
Jennifer loves it so much that she basically forces Maggie and Jake to sing one of their original songs for the couple’s first dance. (She imposes this on her fiancé as well even though they already picked a song. I hate Jennifer.) Jake helps guilt Maggie into doing it.
Later, Nana throws in her own brand of guilt by telling Maggie that she should sing again.
Jake has a little crisis: Ashley Z’s album has been postponed. No it’s not because her mind has been hijacked and placed into a small robot. It’s because a song has been pulled which ruins the album’s whole concept.
Then there’s another crisis. There was a whoopsie with the wedding flowers and now they’re all withered. Nana gives the news so gravely, that it makes one believe that Jake and Jennifer’s parents have died all over again. Jennifer runs off crying.
Jake and Maggie save the day by asking the mayor if they can take his flowers. Problem solved. Maggie also solves Jake’s dilemma by writing a new song that he can present to Ashley Z.
The big wedding day arrives, and all goes swimmingly. Jake even gets a call from the pop star who loves the new song and wants him to fly immediately back to finish the album. Jennifer and the rest of the cast (sans Maggie since she’s probably working at this wedding she was half-invited to) encourage him to get the ferry and make his producing dreams come true. Jake wants to tell Maggie, but the last ferry out of wedding island is about to leave and he can’t afford to waste any time.
The cast breaks it to Maggie that Jake left the island. He even made it past the dangerous floating white balloon blob. She’s a little sad, but oh well.
Nana fires Maggie. Now jobless, Maggie begins to sing the song for the wedding couple’s first dance by herself. Maybe someone will give her spare change. But suddenly!
Jake dumped his plans with Ashley Z to sing at the wedding. Cool, I guess? After the song, the two star crossed lovers talk their feelings out. Jake wants to sing and so does Maggie. In fact, they already have a gig lined up: playing the Olympia in Paris as the opening act for Ashley Z. They resume their romantic relationship. They kiss. FIN
I’ll be honest, I don’t have much to say. I skipped over so much in this review because nothing felt of consequence. I was just waiting for the two leads to kiss or sing. Now I DO have thoughts on the singing. Both of them have beautiful voices and there should’ve been more singing filler rather than pointless-narrative-to-drag-on-the-film filler.
Rating: 2 and a 1/2 half notes.
- A singer that no longer sings? That was LeAnn Rimes’s character in It’s Christmas, Eve. Let’s just recycle plots.
- It honestly feels really really weird not to hear Scott Michael Foster say anything sarcastic or salacious. I’m not liking this.
- The answer to the Pictionary thing was Ring Bearer.
- The actress who plays Maggie is a Broadway performer. She’s got a great voice.
- Maggie’s friend struggles throughout the film between choosing the new corporate job or staying at wedding island. It was a totally pointless plot thread.
- I realize that I hate most of the characters in all of these films. We’re watching the leisurely rich fall in love over and over again and we’re supposed to identify with this or something? It’s like I’m reliving my feelings of irritation from that time I watched all of Poirot. At least some of the uber-posh-rich characters die in that show.