The penultimate Countdown to Christmas film coming to you a week or so after Christmas! I’m not sure why this particular film is the second-to-last when there have actually been some semi-enjoyable films in this year’s roster. But anyway, here we are.
As mayors of neighboring New Hampshire towns, longtime rivals Liam and Sarah are determined to best each other on their way to leading their hamlets to victory in the annual statewide “Christmas Spirit Competition.” When both towns unexpectedly advance to the contest’s final round, the mayors decide their best hope lies in working with, rather than against, each other. As they collaborate on a celebration showing what Christmas means to their communities, they discover their own holiday miracle: love.
The film kicks off with the history of a town called Riverton and how much it loves Christmas. However, it appears Riverton has a weird dark past.
It’s present day and both Rivertons are prepping for the annual Christmas competition. We meet Liam and Sarah, the mayors of the towns and our Hallmark leads. They list out their plans for making it to the finals.
The mayors attend the kick off event for the competition. There are three rounds that the Rivertons have to nail if they hope to make it to the end. The winner stands to earn a cash prize and bragging rights. However, there’s a rumor that the winner will also get a coveted Amazon distribution center, so the fairy light contest is high stakes.
Liam goes to dinner at his favorite restaurant with his family…and so does Sarah and her son. Unfortunately for Sarah, she hasn’t booked a table. Liam has though and his parents invite her to join, much to Liam’s chagrin.
The families talk about how competitive the two mayors are; even when they were kids and teenagers it was the same. So, there’s some tense history between them. Will it eventually become a sexual type of tense? Place your bets now.
The mayors meet the next day to add some spice to the competition. The losing leader has to buy the winning mayor a nice dinner. Actually it’s not that spicy. Generic Christmases appear to be their forte.
Meanwhile, Sarah’s son is helping West Riverton’s planning for some reason and the kid keeps asking Liam for advice for his Mom’s gift. Liam provides very little help.
It’s time for the first Christmas competition challenge: the most festive mayor’s residence. It’s basically a competition for who can be tackiest. In spite of their fears, both towns make it to the second round.
The mayors constantly meet or bump into each other at the café or the town’s break line.
At one of these serendipitous meetings, Sarah almost bites Liam’s head off for booking a string quartet she wanted. The café owner is fed up with their bickering and LOCKS them in a pantry to work out their differences. She essentially “seven minutes in heaven”‘s them. The mayors agree to spy on the other towns and then escape from their prison.
As time slogs onwards, the two mayors start thinking they might like each other. Even Sarah’s ex basically gives advice to Liam on how to get with Sarah. I mean it appears she has a healthy relationship with her baby daddy, but still, it’s kinda weird.
It’s time for the second Christmas Competition challenge: Christmas festival**. The Rivertons make it into the semi-finals.
Later, they hear that the other town that’s still in the running is doing a crazy fireworks display. This frightens both Riverton mayors. After brainstorming with their assistants and Sarah’s son, they decide to hold a joint Christmas dinner to showcase the true meaning of Christmas or some sort of crap like that.
It’s the night of the towns’ Christmas dinners a.k.a the final round. Liam thinks Sarah looks great in a dress. He then expresses his pleasure at having worked with Sarah and his displeasure with the prospect of not being able to work with her ever again.
They discover that the judges have cast a vote for each competing town, meaning it’s a tie for the win. The head judge will have to cast a tiebreaker.
The couple meets again after having some weird trust chat earlier where they found out they potentially couldn’t trust each other (?). In THIS meeting, they realize they CAN trust each other. Liam says he “needs” Sarah.
Their almost-kiss is interrupted by the head judge. His decision on who makes it to the end is then interrupted by the mayors’ assistants. The assistants inform everyone that East and West Riverton have come together outside to all be friends.
The head judge announces his decision: he cast his tiebreaking vote for Riverton – both East and West. The judge just straight up decided he’d lump a town together that notoriously has a long-term feud. Pfft. Anyway, the towns are happy and they also get that Amazon distribution center.
The mayors decide to make the town whole again. Looking forward to that paperwork. They kiss. FIN.
Well, that was boring. I fell asleep roughly three times while watching this (honest to God). The Riverton feud just gets solved when two people decide to bang. What a solution! This would make great foreign policy. I have some suggestions for nations that are having trouble reconciling their issues.
The feud also seemed more fueled by these two people who disliked each other in high school than it did by anyone else. Although it WAS reinforced by signage that pointed east and west. The people that began the original feud were petty petty people. I would’ve liked to have seen THAT story.
Rating: 1 out 5 well-adjusted ex-husbands
- Sarah has a son and is good friends with the dad who is alive and present in this film. This is crazy for Hallmark.
- What happens if a person from East Riverton sits in the West Riverton section?
- It’s not actually an Amazon distribution center. They just kept saying “distribution center” and this must’ve been inspired by Amazon.
- The reason the Rivertons split is because the towns had different views of what Riverton should be. One side wanted to marry their cousins, the other didn’t.
- **Full disclosure: I don’t know what the second challenge was. I think there was a festival involved. I’m very sleepy.
- So many town halls in Hallmarks are barns. And there are so many town halls just generally.
Last one, folks! It’s the Christmas special of When Calls the Heart. No longer starring Lori Loughlin!