“If it’s something that you love, it’s worth fighting for.”

Corey is stuck in her comfort zone, working in an antique shop in the small town where she grew up. That is, until Ryder, Los Angeles’ hottest bachelor and a real estate tycoon, shows up in her shop.

Will she follow her dreams and join Ryder in Los Angeles – or will she once again run away from her dreams? Find out in the 2019 Hallmark Movies and Mysteries movie, “A Merry Christmas Match”.

’Twas A Merry Christmas Match

Ryder is in the ski resort town with his best friend, Davey, who is dating Jillian, Corey’s best friend. After he wanders into Corey’s antique shop, and we have a “meet cute” that is more like a “meet hostile.” He drops several hundred dollars on a broken clock and chair.

And, for some reason, this instant hostility apparently means Corey likes Ryder. So, later, she shares some fun reindeer facts with Ryder and goes on an evening walk with him to share hot chocolate (with candy canes).

After knowing her for all of two days, Ryder wants Corey to come with him back to Los Angeles to figure out what this thing is between them. Naturally, she resists and he leaves.

Corey refuses to visit Jillian in Los Angeles – until Ryder sends her and her mom some necklaces. Suddenly, she’s ALL in. Corey and Ryder finally reunite and dance at a soiree at the home of Ryder’s parents.

The next day, they dress up in Christmasy costumes and everything seems to be going well until it is revealed that *gasp* Ryder had a friend, who is a girl, named Victoria who causes a major scene and flips her red hair a lot (because she’s angry). Suddenly, Corey realizes she shouldn’t be in L.A. anymore.

The clock becomes a metaphor for Ryder’s relationship with Corey, because the Ryder who Davey knows would never stop trying to fix something. Even if that something hung up on him 20 times and won’t return his calls. And, by some Christmas miracle, Ryder then fixes the clock!

Meanwhile, he has also had one of his friends buy most of the valuable antiques in Corey’s store, which will keep them in business for another six months.

On pageant day, Corey receives a gift bag containing the once-broken clock. Then, suddenly, she announces on stage after the pageant that this will be her last one because it’s time for her to “dream big.”

After the pageant, Ryder tells Corey that he’s “100 percent certain that you’re the only person I want to spend my Christmases with for many years to come.” Her response: “Then I guess it’s Christmas here and a lifetime with you there.” They kiss and we’re done.

Our Review: A Merry Christmas Match

Well this movie was a mess.

The biggest issue was Corey’s motivations for doing things were ridiculous. She goes from never wanting to talk to Ryder again to basically promising to spend the rest of her life with him because, why? He fixed her broken clock?

It seems like she’s basically motivated by gifts from the rich guy, who she at times detests for being rich because money has been a huge struggle for her, but she still likes (not loves) him anyway.

Basically, the writing is so unfocused that we never figure out where any of the characters are going or why. It’s basically: “I got a gift, I must see him now!” and “Oooh, I got a clock, I want to spend the rest of my life with him!”

In general, the pacing felt OK, but the ending was so rushed and felt very anti-climactic. Corey’s speech after the pageant (which itself was fairly bad and probably could have been cut in favor of, maybe, some actual story) seemed to come out of nowhere.

Also, it was weird that “A Merry Christmas Match,” inverted the typical Hallmark formula, making the rich guy the hero and love interest, rather than the villain. Usually the female lead rejects the rich boyfriend and the big city, but the opposite was true here.

And poor Cole, the nice guy who lives in the town and does basically anything she asks him to because he has a giant crush on her, is permanently confined to the friend zone. In almost any other Hallmark film, he would be the hero who wins her heart.

Overall, the acting was solid, but nobody stood out – at least not in a good way (keep reading, more on that shortly).

At the start, Ryder came off as very unlikeable and shallow. Thankfully, we warmed up to him. But it did feel at times like most of his story was “Ryder learns it’s hard to be rich.”

The Nice List

It Felt Christmas-y

So there was a lot wrong, but one place “A Merry Christmas Match” succeeded was making it feel very Christmasy from the start.

Every scene featured nice decorations. Plus, Corey’s shop featured some cool Christmas antiques.

The broken Christmas clock became part of the story. There was Santa’s sleigh at the soiree. The romantic leads shared hot chocolate, and Corey and Jillian shared frozen hot chocolate (which begs the question, can hot chocolate eve be considered hot chocolate if it’s frozen?).

The cast all got dressed up in Christmas costumes. And, of course, the reindeer necklace was a winner.

Another nice touch was that the town had a slogan: “Santa’s favorite final pit stop in the snow.”

Music and sounds were also on point mostly, aside from Jillian singing that one song that was definitely not a holiday song. But bonus points for including “Good King Wenceslas.”

Did You Catch That Christmas Reference?

Corey talks about “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.” But more specifically how Comet is more special than Rudolph because she knows the star system best.

And the fun facts about reindeer were fun as well, with Corey explaining to Ryder why all the reindeer on Santa’s sleigh are actually female.

The Naughty List

Scene Wreckers

Favorite scenes? How about none. Everything felt off.

It felt like something wrecked pretty much every scene in “A Merry Christmas Match”, whether it was some general awkwardness between the romantic leads, poor dialogue, the acting of Dorothy or Victoria, or something else.

The Perfect Love Story: Is it All a Lie?

Dorothy, Dorothy, Dorothy.

The mom of this story says “There’s no such thing as the perfect love story.”

WHAAAAT??!!

This is in a movie. On Hallmark!! This is kinda their jam. All. Year. Long.

Hallmark is all about convincing viewers that there is a perfect love story – and they air pretty much every two hours!

Wow. How did this dialogue get approved and this line not get cut from the movie?

Overall, Dorothy was a major low point in this movie. Much of her delivery felt robotic and just off.

Hair-Flipping Mad

Oh, Victoria’s acting was also so terrible. The hair tossing alone.

She also set up the fairly contrived conflict that sent Corey running home to set up the inevitable and super rushed happily ever after ending.

Corey’s fleeing was, technically in character for her, because she is constantly fleeing. But this still felt like a huge over-reaction over a nothing burger.

Unanswered Questions

Why would Corey give the shop to Cole and the pageant to Mindy and Cole?

Does Cole even want any of this, especially if Corey isn’t there?

It would have been better if Mindy and Cole got together, but that didn’t happen.

Misnamed?

From the title we were expecting something to do with match making. But it really didn’t have anything to do with that.

Perhaps “A Star-Crossed Christmas” would have been a better title? Considering how the shooting stars played into it.

The WORST List

You’ll Cringe…

  • As you watch Ryder move really fast. He asked her to come to Los Angeles after two days. His parents knew about her. Ryder got very attached to Corey very fast. If he wasn’t rich, he’d pretty much be a stalker. This kind of gave “A Merry Christmas Match” a “50 Shades” vibe.
  • While Mindy brought a couple moments of comic relief, in some other parts it felt like Mindy was the joke, which was not cool. There was some really terrible and cringey dialogue about how they “hope he’s not refundable,” and Corey jokes about passing Ryder off to Mindy. As if Mindy doesn’t have a chance because she’s big?

You’ll Yell at TV…

Three things had us yelling at the TV:

  • The Mom: Her terrible acting, and her line about the perfect love story. (“Whaaat?”)
  • Ryder: Whenever he has problems (“It’s hard to be rich!”)
  • The ending. (“That was it?”)
A Merry Christmas Match
4.5/10

Meh

While “A Merry Christmas Match” looked amazing and there were a few fun moments scattered throughout the movie, the story just wasn’t there – and neither was the acting. This is a forgettable movie, one we don’t plan on watching again and you can easily skip.

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