Well, now I finally know what it looks like when robots fall in love.
We open with a Christmas party held in some foyer of a mansion; Brie (Jessica Lowndes, previously crazy in A Mother’s Nightmare) is a student at NYU, and her ugly-haired boyfriend Eddie (Christopher Russell, previously charming in Midnight Masquerade) is an aspiring photographer. They met on the student paper and their editor, a dude named Phil, hints to Brie that Eddie’s got some big news about their future. Brie’s already mentally picking out rings when Eddie shows up to reveal that he’s been accepted to a master’s photography program in Paris for a year. Oh, and he’s leaving in January. With the most neutrally boring voice, he states, “This is big for us. A real game changer.” As Phil makes Eddie’s exciting announcement for the partygoers, Brie leaves the party altogether!
He shows up at her apartment later, barely perturbed by her sudden departure. He assures her that their relationship can survive a year apart, but she’s not convinced.
Jump to seven years later! Brie’s hunch was correct: they did not stay together. She’s now an art director for some stupid company, and has the most terrible advice for her assistant Megan (a super adorable Farrah Aviva): “Change it from ‘so much holiday fun’ to ‘snow much holiday fun’ and make it in that curly font you like.” Those are two of the worst art decisions I’ve ever heard.
Her boss Claudia needs her help: some modern bridal magazine needs a reshoot for their winter wedding digital cover story, which will go live Christmas Day. Brie’s not confident they have the time to get it done, but accepts the job, as long as they have the best photographer! Don’t worry; Claudia has managed to snag a top fashion photographer (“he’s big on Tumblr and Instagram!”), Eddie! Brie is visibly freaked. Anyway, Eddie’s flying in from Paris just for the reshoot; apparently, he’s doing it a favour for the CEO of the magazine, Isabella. If they like the reshoot, Isabella may offer them an exclusive contract for all their shoots. WHATEVER. This could finally mean a partnership for Brie! Then she can put everything in curly fonts!
At her parents’ house, Brie’s mom hounds her about balancing her work life with LOVE. They want to set her up with some dude named Jared, so she reluctantly accepts to meet him for a date the next night.
The next day, Brie is super nervous because Eddie’s coming into the office. She pretends she’s all atwitter for her date with Jared, but Megan clues in immediately that she was weird when Eddie’s name got brought up, on top of the fact that she contoured. Brie tells her about her boring past with Eddie, but makes her swear she won’t tell anyone so the office won’t judge her.
They all meet in the open area of the office, which is decorated with just the finest art you’ve ever seen.
Brie’s super awkward right off the bat, and mentions that she knows Eddie because they went to NYU together. Isabella’s excited about the shoot (and spends the entire movie just flouncing in, exclaiming she loves everything! and leaving again) and that Eddie will keep her looped in since she’ll be gone the next week.
Eddie and Brie talk shop about deadlines; she thinks they might be able to get everything wrapped up with a few days to spare, but he’s like, “But we have until the 24th!” That doesn’t mean you should drag your ass, Eddie! Anyway, this is us learning that he’s whimsical and carefree, qualities that are terribly annoying once that person has real world responsibilities. These two are soooooo boring! Our lifelike robots have a thinly veiled disagreement about keeping commitments and changing plans, until the female robot gets reminded by Megan that she has her date with Jared.
Jared (GLENN COCO IN MEAN GIRLS!!! HE’S GLENN COCO!!!) is super sweet and normal and funny and takes a genuine interest in this cyborg. She is clearly checked out and barely giving this guy the time of day, which is so fucking rude. He gives her a poinsettia because he knows how much she loves Christmas.
At some bar, Eddie runs into Phil, now dressed as Santa (he and his wife run a children’s charity house). They just talk about Eddie and Brie, so: nothing to report.
Back on this cyborg/human date, Brie’s Polite Switch has been turned the fuck off, because she’s just being blatantly rude and not giving this guy ANYTHING to go on. He cracks a joke about fate bringing them together (they knew each other as kids) and this is her reaction:
“Am I smiling?” the cyborg wonders to herself.
After the date’s over, her mom calls for a check-in and the cyborg gives her the brush-off, implying that Eddie’s back in town and is confusing everything with his ugly hair.
The cyborgs meet at a florist shop. Eddie asks Brie how her date with Jared went and she’s evasive.
They make hideous design decisions about photoshoot, which is supposed to show us that they’re secretly more in sync than even they realize. Also, the cyborgs connect limbs for a moment and get their wires crossed.
I hate this movie.
Outside at the tree lot, her bold and innovative design ideas include a Christmas tree decorated with LIGHTS, RIBBONS, AND A STAR! Get this cyborg her partnership already! Her vision is a photo of the newlywed couple hanging an ornament together on the tree. It’s never been done before! What would the design world say?!
Oh goodie, we find out that the cyborgs simply had miscommunications during their long-distance relationship, which is why they broke up.
Eddie and Phil meet up again. Eddie admits he came back in time for Brie’s favourite holiday to help soften old feelings (ew). Phil tells him that the year he left, Brie started a thing called the Wishing Tree at NYU, where people would create their own ornaments and hang them on the tree for the loved ones they were missing. And she started it for Eddie and his helmet hair!
Eddie shows up at Brie’s place unannounced with “chocolat le chaud” and a sugar cookie for her. He shows her his shitty design sketch for the shoot.
Wouldn’t that all be up to her? This looks like a bunch of sticks and moldy cheesecloth. I hate this movie! The cyborgs admit they’re happy to see one another again and hug their bodies together awkwardly.
They’re “working” the next day when Jared pops by, with an ornament for her for the shoot (which is never seen again, hilariously). She appreciates the gesture and rewards him with a mini coffee date. Eddie is clearly jealous and clearly reading his lines over Jessica Lowndes’ shoulder during this scene.
After Brie and Jared have left, Megan runs in and tells Eddie that they have a shot with the bakery to secure a cake, however he has to pose with Brie as an engaged couple set to marry at Christmas (she will only see couples, no media until the new year or some bullshit). Most importantly is that Megan, taking note of Jared as he was leaving, mentions that he’s cute.
Hi, camera guy!
The bakery sucks and the owner is somehow charmed by these cyborgs touching one another and pretending to be in love. She gives them cake samples, but robots don’t eat cake, so they smash it on one another’s faces (and um, if I were the bakery lady, I’d be fucking pissed?!) and have a good laugh about it.
This is the “perfect” cake.
They have the reception portion of the photoshoot with just two little kids dancing in front of a shitty wedding table backdrop (with the gross cake). There’s literally just the kids and nobody else in this photoshoot!
This movie is terrible!
Phil shows up unannounced and invites Eddie and Brie for a night of ice skating with him and his family. Eddie’s got a prior engagement, but after cajoling (and Megan sweetly offering to clean up), Brie accepts. At the rink, Phil asks Brie how things are going with Eddie. Who should skate up mere moments later: the ugly-haired robot himself! They skate around like dipshits, Phil takes photos of them, and then Eddie has the naïveté to ask Brie what she thought his SEVEN-YEAR-OLD surprise was, back at that old NYU party! Get over yourself, Eddie!
The Davenport, the place they secured for the ceremony photoshoot, has termites! Brie is immediately discouraged and even though Megan is trying to be helpful, offering alternate options, she shoots them all down and wallows in her negativity. She even asks Megan to keep looking for a place.
My main question: what exactly is Brie’s job? She has an overall vision for the photoshoot, but doesn’t actually do anything. Eddie provides the sketch, ends up doing the lion’s share of setup, and takes the photos. Megan secures all the locations and, I’m guessing, coordinates literally everything else for Brie. She is the least efficient cyborg of all.
Eddie comes through! Apparently, the mansion from that party years ago didn’t get torn down like it was supposed to, and he even knows the current owners! No kidding!
They show up at the mansion for some test shots and since this movie clearly didn’t have the budget to shoot the rest of the house, Brie and Eddie are satisfied with setting the ceremony in the foyer. “We’re nailing this wedding!” Eddie cries triumphantly, which…no. He then starts taking weirdo pictures of her and she pretends to hate it but you know she LOVES it.
They pretend to care about other people: they go to Phil’s charity house for some childrens’ Christmas party. She does a bad job of reading a picture book to the kids (and never shows them the pictures) and Eddie gets big ol’ hearts in his dumb eyes.
He takes her to the same restaurant that she went to with Jared, but they get rebuffed by a hostess and decide it’s not worthy of them, so he steals a bottle of champagne and they leave!
This is New York City. You walk into a fancy restaurant at the busiest time of the busiest season and you get picky when you don’t get a seat right away?!
Eddie: “Is this is a date?”
Brie: “Um, you tell me.”
Eddie: “I will.”
WHAT DOES THAT MEAN. They get pizza and catch a horse-drawn sleigh, but clearly did not have time to do their close-ups whilst on the ride, because it’s quite obviously a fake backdrop of the sleigh with interspersed sounds of a horse clip-clopping and neighing at random. I enjoyed it.
Anyway, he’s super into this maybe-date: he admits he’s jealous of Jared, encourages her to “savour the moment” (ew), and tries to kiss her goodnight.
She goes to her parents’ place, where (yay!) Jared is hanging out. They all make Christmas decorations, then her mom takes her aside to tell her she knows she’s still in love with Eddie, that this could be their second shot at love. A little while later, Jared tells Brie he knows they’re not exactly a love match. She doesn’t deserve you, Jared! Date Megan instead! You’re Glenn Coco, you can have anyone you want!
By the way,I should mention here that it’s been left purposely unclear whether Eddie and Isabella are dating. He constantly mentions her in conversation with Brie, and they are affectionate when she’s around, but that’s really all we get for clues. Brie obviously has no clue either, but never bothers to actually ask, directly or indirectly.
Brie, Claudia, and Megan are picking out dresses for the shoot (which would 100% be up to the magazine and not them) when Isabella flies in the room to announce everything’s perfect and she loves it all and that Brie’s work (lol) has possibly inspired a future engagement for her. Isabella expects to have her own Christmas wedding next year. BUT TO WHOM, YOU MAY WONDER. Our only clue is that her beau is “back in New York.”
Eddie swings by and invites Brie to his dumb photography exhibit. This is pointless because Isabella then immediately invites everyone in the room! Brie, thinking Eddie and Isabella are about to get engaged, leaves in a huff (which she does A LOT) but not before he can give her a folder of invoices and MEMORIES.
Well, memories mixed with a vaguely threatening note?
Brie tries to cry, but since cyborgs can’t do that, it’s mostly just an attempt at creasing her Botoxed brow and quivering her lip.
Art gallery: Brie shows up, dressed like the fanciest vodka brand ambassador of her region, and is pleased to see his photo exhibit is themed with “Christmas Around the World.” One picture is of some elderly lady being given a blanket by some dude, and Brie says aloud that she wishes she were there for the photo. Oookay. Anyway, Eddie has brought his friend, a famous film director named George, to the show. Megan has a huge crush on him and asks to be introduced. Brie is left out and watches as Megan and George meet, while Isabella clings to Eddie affectionately. Upset, Brie just leaves again. She is so unsupportive of him, it’s laughable.
The next day, Claudia stops by her office with great news. They’ve shown the early pictures to a “focus group” (lol), and the results were OUTSTANDING! Which means they’ll be meeting with Isabella’s media mogul dad in the new year, ensuring a partnership for Brie. Also, Claudia’s not an idiot and can tell that something happened or is happening between Brie and Eddie, however she’s vague about his relationship with Isabella. Just tell us!
Here we find ourselves at the NYU campus, where Brie hangs a dumb ornament for Eddie and SEES HIS ORNAMENT THAT HE LEFT FOR HER TOO (his initials are on the back, blah blah)!
Brie continues to be the queen of leaving scenes whilst emotionally distraught: she shows up at Eddie’s place when she sees him come out with Isabella. They’re celebrating! Celebrating what? Isabella’s engagement! BUT TO WHOM? Brie doesn’t wait to find out. In fact, she literally catches a cab and squeals outta there crying instead..
It’s the day before the shoot. Brie shows up to realize their light supplier has given them a short order (psst, it’s CHRISTMAS; I’m sure soft white lights aren’t super hard to find right now) and she FREAKS OUT. Eddie’s just stringing the lights they do have and tries to assure her that they’ll make it work. She literally scraps the whole interior portion and says they’ll shoot outside instead. It’s not possible to do all this work in just a few hours! She LEAVES. She is the goddamn art director and she leaves Eddie and the crew to just figure it out themselves. Outside, Megan catches up to her and slaps her with reality: it’s not Eddie’s fault, so why is she being such a major suckass to him? Brie explains the engagement and asks Megan to just help her survive seeing the “love of her life” (no) get engaged to another woman.
She stops by Phil’s charity for unimportant reasons, and Phil tells her he thinks she’s a perfect match for Eddie. Um, yeah Phil, they’re robots! She says a terrible thing: “We planned the perfect wedding. Too bad it’s not real.” CREEEEEEPY.
It’s the morning of the shoot. Okay, so remember how Brie lost her shit and ran away when Isabella told her about the engagement? And then took it out on Eddie? Well, that was all for naught: as it turns out, Isabella was engaged to GEORGE, a vaguely Beckham-y lookalike, but they had to keep it a secret for some dumb fictional reason.
Even Claudia knew, but was sworn to secrecy. Nooooooo. All it would’ve taken was Claudia telling Brie that Isabella and Eddie are only friends. THAT’S IT. NO DAMAGE DONE. But I kind of love seeing Brie get a shit end of the stick, so I’m not even mad.
Brie is super negative about the shoot, moaning that she hopes it’s not a disaster basically. She gets inside and Eddie has rigged that bitch up niiiiice (I mean, it’s truly the simplest of “lights and Christmas-y wedding” décor, nothing groundbreaking or exceptionally beautiful, but it’s fine). It’s exactly what she envisioned! All it took was Eddie working through the night probably. Oh, and Eddie’s moving back to New York from Paris because he misses cyborg companionship most of all.
The shoot is just embarrassingly bad and not remotely realistic, so I’ll skip over that. Santa’s there and I’m 99% sure it’s not Phil; it’s never explained why Santa is even around. They finish the shoot in minutes, and Brie has the NERVE to say she’s tired!
Eddie and Brie are near-canoodling in her apartment later that night. They toast for a job well done (don’t even get me started!). He starts in, like, life isn’t right without her, will she marry him, all the most boring gross things. She says yes, of course. Her gift for him is the keys to the mansion (the owners won’t be back until after Christmas, so they have it all to themselves, including the decorations! Ew, I’m sure they didn’t agree to having it be your fuck palace, BRIE).
By the way, Christopher Russell has the scariest eyes when he’s trying to convince Brie that he loves her.
Even though maaaaybe two nights ago she was bemoaning how different they are (they’re definitely not), she has decided she wants to be married ASAP. Like, before the owners come back. So they do. They get married in the fucking foyer of that house with family and friends, but also, their ring bearer and flower girl are the TWO KID MODELS FROM THE RECEPTION SHOOT!
Hilariously, during Eddie and Brie’s kiss, Eddie’s body language is like a person trying to protect their soul from being stolen through their mouth.
Hey, a montage mix of photos and video to round this out, all set to a terrible Christmas song that I still have stuck in my head DAYS later. Eddie continues to terrify me even in still image form:
But lest we forget the most important baby couple of all!!!
I love them. And to be honest, because they didn’t even try at all, I love this too. Our dead-eyed cyborgs found love!
Casting, casting, casting! Seriously, these two sucked the joy out of every scene. I was actively rooting against them, and it’s not just because I like to make fun of these movies.
Here’s the thing: Jessica Lowndes can play mean and devious very convincingly, which doesn’t mean she is those things, but cast to your strong suits! Jessica is a solid Lifetime Network candidate, but doesn’t feel like a really good fit for Hallmark. However, it’s possible that Russell wasn’t a great screen partner for her specifically. I liked him in Midnight Masquerade (I mean, look, he’s not being cast for his acting but he did a fine job there).
Hallmark tends to employ the same actors from a pool, and just mix-and-matching them as they go (which I actually like! New pairings of actors you liked in another movie can feel fresh and exciting). Both Lowndes and Russell bring this laidback, low energy approach to their scenes; if you have the time, watch the scene in the bakery. The scripted bit is pretty terrible, however, it follows up with a moment (where she quotes It’s A Wonderful Life) that feels largely unscripted and genuinely enjoyable for the two leads. I found myself smiling at it! Where was that in the rest of the movie?!