With Hallmark movies it’s always hit or miss – and usually it’s either a spectacular hit or a big, big miss. On The 12th Date of Christmas is more hit than miss, though I’m not exactly sure I’d call it a grand slam. It’s more like a ground rule double. Good, dependable, and kinda fun – if a little safe.
The synopsis kinda gives the game away: Two seemingly incompatible game designers team up to create a romantic, city-wide scavenger hunt themed for the “12 Days of Christmas” and start falling for each other in the process. When they learn that they both have their hearts set on the same promotion, their growing feelings are put to the test.
And, of course, this is Hallmark, so there’s no big twist to this story. Just two people who you can see are starting to develop feelings for each other.
If anything, that’s how the movie succeeds. First, because it’s actually a clever way to showcase a city, and most people who love Christmas movies will enjoy a good Christmas-themed scavenger hunt, but also because the way the relationship progresses is actually …believable.
So let us go into why On the 12th Date of Christmas works, what the movie does best, and what we would have liked to see instead.
These Hallmark Christmas movies live and die by the strength of their main couple, and these two actually have chemistry. You’d think that was a given, but I’m not sure the budget for these includes chemistry tests, because sometimes you have two very beautiful people who just do not work together.
When I say sometimes, I mean way more often than it should really happen.
But that is not the case on On the 12th Date of Christmas, where the two actually work not just within the context of the couple we’re rooting for, but work as individuals. The troubles Hallmark throws people’s way never feel truly insurmountable, but in this particular case they feel real, and you actually want these characters to find a way through them.
Christmas is, after all, the time for meddling but ultimately loving family members who truly just want the best for you.
Not to mention they work as a couple. It’s the looks, it always is. For a romantic movie to work, the two main characters have to be believable as two people who have feelings for each other. Now, Hallmark never truly gives us enough of them once the feelings are declared, so everything has to be said with looks before those feelings are declared.
You know, as we go into the “plot.” Whatever that plot is.
In this case, the plot thankfully doesn’t include lying, and even though they’re both vying for the same job, in the end, there’s still a happy Hallmark ending, because apparently there are enough jobs for both of them to be happy! Yay to fiction!
But I’m not complaining, I’m not. That’s exactly what I always expect when I put on a Hallmark movie, and this one delivered.
WHAT WE WOULD HAVE CHANGED
Typically my issue with Hallmark movies is that we get one or sometimes half a kiss in like, the literal last frame of the picture, and that’s IT. That’s all she wrote. We don’t even get a couple of seconds of the couple looking longingly at each other, which shouldn’t up the budget that much!
On the 12th Date of Christmas isn’t the exception to the hard and fast Hallmark rule, but it does feel a tad more romantic than some other movies in that respect, maybe because we did embark on a pretty romantic scavenger hunt as part of the plot. I would still love for Hallmark to change this notion that we don’t need more romance, when this is a ROMANTIC Christmas movie, but I guess I can’t complain that much.
Not this time, at least.
Did you enjoy On the 12th Date of Christmas? Share with us in the comments below!