Now that I have watched a Netflix movie, a Hallmark movie, and a Lifetime movie, I’m pretty sure that all the terrible movies will be on the Lifetime channel. Before I jump into the review, there are a few things you need to know about this movie. It’s not actually titled Love For Christmas. This is actually a 2012 movie titled A Golden Christmas 3 that has been repackaged as Love For Christmas. (Apparently, it’s also known as Home For Christmas. I’m not sure why one movie needs three names….) You should also know that this movie is quite terrible.
How do you know that a movie is going to be terrible? If the movie starts out with an awful song over the credits that goes on for too long, drowning out the first lines of the movie, you have walked straight into a terrible movie. Though, to be honest, we don’t really need those beginning lines because they are just a woman yelling for her dog.
Before we get to the dogs (even though the movie is kinda marketed as a dog movie), let’s talk about the actual people. Our heroine is Heather Hartly (Shantel VanSanten) is a community theater director who runs into an old friend from school, Bobby Alden (Rob Mayes). Bobby has just returned home from a stint in the Navy. However, Heather is currently dating her terrible boyfriend, Roger (Mark Famiglietti). Blah, blah, blah. Heather and Roger end up married.
Sadly, the actual plot of the movie is absolutely meaningless. Heather is supposed to be a theater director but she frequently lets the star of her play walk all over her. Mr. Cole (Orson Bean) straight up insults Heather every moment he gets. (Until the end of the movie, of course, when he turns out to have a heart of gold.) She also doesn’t seem to spend a lot of time in the actual theater. (I was a stage manager in college and my early 20s. You spend quite a bit of time in the theater. Especially right before the show opens.)
Heather also lets her drip of a boyfriend walk all over her. Supposedly, Roger and Heather have been dating for six years. SIX! Yet he doesn’t listen to a word she says. Every time she tries to have a conversation with her, he talks on his cell phone. He actually admits that he thought the theater was doing “Brigadoon” instead of “A Christmas Carol,” despite Heather talking about the play AND all of the signage on the theater building. (We see the signage frequently.) When Heather breaks up with him, he just brings her a second golden retriever puppy. Then he crashes her play rehearsal with terrible carolers (singing “We Wish You A Merry Roger”) in order to propose to her. Thankfully, he just disappears from the movie about halfway through.
Now. The dogs. There are three dogs in this movie: Heather’s puppy (maybe named Bandit? She stops using his name after the first 15 minutes.), Bobby’s sister’s dog, and the puppy Roger gives Heather. At no point are any of the humans in control of the dogs. The movie actually starts out with a montage of maybe-Bandit running away while Heather yells for him. Bobby’s niece, Myra (Alexandra Peters), tries to walk their dog but ends up getting pulled so badly that she needs Bobby to save her. Once Heather gets the second puppy (which stays unnamed until the end of the movie), both puppies run rampant in the theater. Does anyone really think this is cute? It’s not cute. It’s irresponsible dog ownership.
Usually, I can find one or two decent things about a movie. Something, typically the plucky best friend, that keeps me from thinking I wasted my time. But I don’t think there is anything redeemable in this movie. There is, legit, a 12-year old girl that says “I have had a lot of experiences with love.” That’s right! Not even the KID can save this movie! When Heather moves to New York on Christmas Day, people are walking around behind her in light jackets. Guess what, it’s really cold in New York in December. Not even NEW YORK can save this movie!
With a heavy heart, I cannot recommend this movie. I’d even recommend covering your dog’s eyes so they don’t see it either.