The title film has some fun word gymnastics. I’m pretty sure Picture Perfect Christmas already exists, and since this film has to do with a photographer, some photo-related word play is required. So Hallmark asks you to picture a perfect Christmas instead.
I’ve spoiled a little bit, so here’s the synopsis:
An extreme sports photographer returns home for the holiday to look after her grandmother and ends up lending a helping hand to a neighbor who needs assistance watching his nephew.
We begin the film with our Hallmark Heroine Sophie at a photoshoot. Although the description of this film says she’s an “extreme sports photographer”, she’s snapping pictures for what looks like a Target advertorial.
She receives a call from her agent who tells her that’s she’s just about nailed an exciting opportunity in the Swiss Alps. However, it’ll take place in the new year, so Sophie will have to figure out what else to do for Christmas.
We jet-set ourselves to the same café that’s used in every Hallmark film that calls for a small local coffee shop where the owner knows everyone by their first name. Our Hallmark Hunk for this film is David, a businessman who just wants to do right by his nephew Troy. He’s trying to find the perfect nanny for the boy, but it’s been tough.
Back in what I think is the Big City, Sophie has dinner with her Big City Boyfriend who is also a photographer. They never get to spend time together because both are always taking photographs around the world, maybe for Asia’s version of Target; who knows! In fact, Big City Boyfriend has a brand-new gig that will take him away for Christmas. Sophie is alone.
We whip back to the town with the man and his nephew. Their kind elderly neighbor with a broken foot minds the boy. Ideally, she’d be the nanny, but yeah broken leg.
In a fateful turn that is not at all telegraphed, we learn that the old woman is actually Sophie’s grandma. She would like Sophie to be around more, but photography doesn’t sleep as we know…except this year! Sophie has nothing to do, so she makes a special trip to Grandma’s house.
At her grandmother’s request, Sophie visits the neighbors to deliver a hat that Troy left at hers. David mistakes Sophie for a nanny that is unprofessionally late. He asks her if she likes kids which feels like an obvious question to ask a nanny that was sent by a nanny service, but maybe David is just a very thorough man. After some labored fumbling, they clear up this utterly hilarious misunderstanding. Thankfully for David, Sophie is in full-on flirt mode.
Sophie later asks Grandma for the David and Troy backstory. Grandma reveals that Troy has DEAD PARENTS™ and David became the kid’s guardian.
The professional photographer and Troy go for a walk to check out the preparations for the upcoming town Christmas pageant. Troy gets bamboozled into auditioning for the play.
At Grandma’s house, Grandma tries to convince Sophie to break up with Big City Boyfriend and get with that handsome neighbor with a heart of gold. Speaking of hot neighbor man, he arrives to pick up Troy and tells both Sophie and Grandma that he needs to take the kid to work tomorrow because the right nanny just hasn’t happened. Sophie volunteers to watch Troy.
The quartet (old lady, young lady, young man, even younger man) go shopping for a toy drive. The two that are in the right stage of life for procreating get all buddy-buddy. However, after noticing that Grandma is trying to hook them up, they openly acknowledge that they are not going to become a thing.
Troy, Sophie, and David go tree shopping, snowball fighting, and visit a Santa who has clearly smoked many a cigarette in his life.
Her Big City Boyfriend makes a surprise visit and joins the whole crew for dinner. Big City Boyfriend boasts about his cool life and pronounces Antarctica with a Spanish accent. After food, Troy comments to David that this guy talks a lot. From the mouth of babes.
If Troy doesn’t like him, nor should Sophie. Sophie breaks up with Big City Boyfriend, clearing the way for a certain app businessman to swipe right (is that the correct swipe action? I don’t use Tinder).
Sophie continues to bond with the boys. David shares how the passing of Troy’s DEAD PARENTS™affected him.
In spite of sharing this info which is typically an aphrodisiac in the Hallmark universe, he decides to go on a “date” with his old girlfriend. Turns out she’s engaged. They date turns into a gab sesh about Sophie. Just to keep tally so far: Grandma, Troy, David’s business partner, and David’s ex-girlfriend have all expressed interest in getting these two people to bang.
Things are coming together as expected. During the obligatory skating rink scene, Sophie tells David that she broke up with Big City Boyfriend. Later, the couple even dances in the living room to what I guess is a romantic Christmas song.
Thanks to all the love and Christmas warmth or whatever, David gets a big idea that will make his company billions. He presents a “Christmas Giving App” to The Board. Basically, it’s an app that helps people do nice things for others around Christmas. If you don’t celebrate Christmas, you can’t use the app.
While everything is coming up Milhouse for David, Sophie is torn. The photoshoot has been moved up meaning she has to leave on the 23rd. David is blue balled but understands.
Grandma tries to get Sophie to drop the career opportunity for David. She got her to dump the boyfriend, why not go for broke? Grandma even brings up the “I did it for my amazing husband” trump card, but Sophie tells her that there’s a kid involved in this particular relationship, so the Grandpa story can suck it.
Troy also learns of Sophie’s early departure. He sneaks over to say goodbye. Jesus, this kid is heartbroken. Later that night, David and Troy piece together a puzzle and Sophie sends an email to David.
The next morning, Sophie ubers to the airport without saying a proper goodbye to the boys. Life moves on and the rest of the crew goes to the Christmas pageant. Grandma nosily asks David about the email, but he never saw it. He’s not a good businessman if he’s not reading his emails every 30 minutes.
David steps out to get some air after his kid tells him that he asked Santa for a family. I genuinely wonder how difficult it is to be a mall Santa.
Thankfully for him, the beautiful photographer has arrived at the Christmas pageant. It better be a bomb ass Christmas pageant to turn down paragliding in the Swiss Alps. Sophie surprises the app mogul with a heartfelt speech.
Just as they’re about to kiss, Sophie gets a message that the photoshoot has been pushed back for her. David offers to go to Switzerland, too. Ah, to have money…
The film closes with the four main characters standing happily around the tree for they are now a family.
I still don’t know what David did. He made apps? He must’ve made some serious bank before doing the app thing because his house was spectacular and impromptu trips to Switzerland are not cheap.
Anyway, David was nice, Sophie was nice, and Troy was a nice kid. It was fine.
Rating: 2.5 out of 5 hip replacements for Grandma.
- I worked as the marketing person for a hotel. We had a photographer flown in from Dubai. I signed off on his $15,000 payment. This did not include the costs of his flights, room, and board which were comp’ed. Nice guy, but yeah photographers can make some money.
- When she replies that she is a photographer after he asks her what her profession is, David states loudly “ah, struggling artiste.” I’m not sure how to measure this level of rudeness.
- David looks like he’s the lead in a soft rock group.
- Sophie breaks up with her boyfriend for legitimate reasons. They’re never in the same place. He’s kind of douchey, but it’s refreshing to see how much he supports her career, often telling her how it’s taking off and there’s even more ahead.
- Too many people dance to Christmas songs in these movies.
- Troy’s parents died in a car crash which is grim as hell.
- Follow me on Twitter where I’ll probably live tweet when I can.
- Catch up with all of Hallmark’s Countdown to Christmas here.
The Mistletoe Secret starring Kelly Pickler and a dude that writes books and hates small towns!