“You have to find that part of you that understands the meaning of Christmas, and then you make that into an ingredient.”
Holly returns to her hometown for Christmas and discovers that Mrs. Rose, the owner of her favorite bakery, is retiring. But that’s not all – Mrs. Rose is also holding a contest where whoever can duplicate her recipes the closest will become the new owner.
Holly is in – and so is Brad, a pastry chef who works at the local inn. Who will find the recipe for success – and love? It’s the Lifetime movie, “A Sweet Christmas Romance” (2019).
Our Review: A Sweet Christmas Romance
At one point of “A Sweet Christmas Romance”, Carson (the son of Mrs. Rose), tells Holly during the contest that he isn’t “feeling the magic.”
Well, that sums up how we felt about this entire movie. “A Sweet Christmas Romance” left us feeling sour.
“A Sweet Christmas Romance” is kind of like what you would get if “A Cookie Cutter Christmas” (2014) and the reality TV show “MasterChef” had a baby.
Seriously – they have three judges scoring them, one elimination per day (“so long, and don’t forget your basket,” mostly nameless contestants who we know have no shot of winning anyway), and they do “taste it now make it”.
The script is predictable, perfunctory, and shallow. As one example, Brad asks Holly to take him on a Christmas tour of Madison. Which is literally just them walking around and talking. They never do anything fun or Christmasy.
Also, when Brad and Holly were complimenting each other on their cooking, we called it: they were both going to win the competition and run the bakery together. And that’s exactly what happened.
Conflict? Tension? Nope. Which is odd considering the main story is a competition with an incredibly valuable prize – the bakery.
Here’s our breakdown of “A Sweet Christmas Romance”.
The Nice List
As has been the case this year with the bad movies, “A Sweet Christmas Romance” managed to at least look nice.
Everything was decorated nicely. We especially liked the street decorations.
Megan Disrupts the Competition
Yes, once again Winter Storm Megan played a role in the proceedings of another 2019 Lifetime Christmas movie. (For those keeping score, that makes all of them so far.)
We first felt Megan’s wrath in “A Sweet Christmas Romance” in the form of nutmeg! As in, there was none at the grocery store because Megan caused the shipment to be delayed.
Then, Megan put the lights out on the competition, by knocking out the power just as Holly and Brad put their final batch of cookies into the oven. (Oh, if only Megan had done that earlier, we could have two hours of our lives back.) Alas, It was only temporary, as they all moved to the bakery.
It’s a Brad, Brad World
One interesting Christmas movie connection:
Greyston Holt, who plays Brad in this movie, played another character named Brad in “The Christmas Secret” (2014).
The Naughty List
We Thought Romance Was Just Chemistry
“A Sweet Christmas Romance” tried hard to sell us on the idea that Christmas is the most romantic time of the year.
We guess Holly and Brad didn’t get the memo.
Holly’s sudden shift to liking Brad and being friendly toward him was so forced. Why? Because he wiped (yet more) flour off her cheek?
Holly was pretty awful to him for a long time in the movie. And yet he just kept trying to be nice to her. He paid for her cookies when they broke and even secretly slipped an egg into her mix when she forgot it.
The ending didn’t feel like the culmination of a romance. After all the buildup (or lack of, if we’re honest) we got the most perfunctory kisses possible from these two. There was zero passion here.
Nice ≠ Complex
They kept calling Brad complex. But just because you someone complex doesn’t mean you wrote a deep character.
Brad was nice for the most part. He wasn’t complex.
If you’re going to call someone complex, at least give them a complex backstory or have them exhibit complex behaviors.
Baking, Baking, Baking!
Most of this movie revolved around baking. Either that or going to the grocery store so they could get the supplies they needed to – wait for it – do more baking.
What was missing? Christmas activities!
Aside from baking Christmas cookies, the family trimmed a tree (which, for the record, already looked quite trimmed).
No carols. No events. And as we mentioned, the Christmas tour was a flop.
But on the plus side? Apparently the town beverage vendors are psychic and know exactly what drink you want and when you’ll be there. Because, at one point, Holly and Brad walk up to one such vendor and the person hands them two beverages – no ordering or waiting required!
But wait – Holly must also be psychic. Apparently, she not only knew that Brad would ask her to take him on a Christmas town tour, but also the exact amount of money she would need to hand to the psychic vendor person who prepared their drinks. In advance.
Madison is spooky, y’all.
What happened with Loretta and Carson? Seemed like something romantic might have been starting, but we get no closure by movie end.
When was Brad actually working at his real job as a pastry chef during the competition. After Holly and her sister have dinner at the inn one night, it seems like he never works at his job.
How is Brad literally everywhere that Holly is, before she gets there? It’s kind of creepy. Is HE psychic, too?
That Went Eggstremely Wrong
In the beginning when Holly puts an egg in her shortbread mix, she tells her family that she messed up and put an egg in it because she read the sugar cookie on same page that had eggs in it.
But then when she’s in the competition, the next day, she forgets the eggs for the gingerbread and she says she forgot the eggs because she mixed up the shortbread and gingerbread recipes.
Confused? So were we.
You’ll Fall Asleep…
If you didn’t just nap before watching this, for sure! (Even then? No promises.)
The WORST List
“I’m a Terrible Baker, I’m Covered in Flour!”
Holly is a bad baker. We know this because we are treated to yet another cliched scene where the person who can’t bake is covered in flour. Hair, face, clothes, apron – everything.
We’ve known plenty of people who can’t bake. This flour problem never seems to happen to them.
You Don’t Have to Hate to Date
At one point, Holly is talking (in a completely calm and rational way) that she’s worried about the future of Mrs. Rose’s is Brad were to win the competition. Why? Because his specialty is French pastries and he seems overconfident.
Her sister’s response: You find him attractive, then?
If someone says they don’t like someone, and there is zero evidence to the contrary, this doesn’t not mean that they actually LIKE that person.
Dear Lifetime/Hallmark/all movies: Please stop sending terrible messages like this!
This is lazy, stupid, and gross. And it needs to stop.
It’s like saying if a boy punches you, that means he likes you. Well, what if she gets into an abusive relationship later in life, and that “man” punches her. Does that mean he “likes her” or is maybe just an abuser?
We’re Super Late, D’oh!
So Holly really wants to win the bakery.
But during the competition, both Holly and Brad fail to notice that they’re really late for this super important contest.
And even then, he somehow decides it’s OK to go buy a scarf first.
So are they actually late? If so, why don’t they seem to care?
Or are we just looking for a transition out of another awkward scene here?
At Holly’s family. They are mean and terrible to her, multiple times.
After Holly announces she’s entering the competition. Her mom says, “Are you sure?”
They spit her food out.
After trying one of Holly’s cookies (“it has a good crunch”), her father then tastes Brad’s cookie. (Remember, this is the man who we’re supposed to believe brought her into this world and loves her.) Her dad then says, “Now that’s a Christmas cookie.” WHILE SHE’S STILL IN THE SAME ROOM WITH HIM!
After that, Holly storms out. And ONLY then, her mother says they should be nicer to Holly.
You’ll Yell at TV…
- “THAT’S NOT CHEMISTRY!” (When Brad tells Holly not to waste her time entering the competition. And pretty much anytime someone tries to explain why Holly actually really likes Brad in that special way.)
- “Mean family!” (Anytime cooking and Holly’s family are combined.)
What You Should Watch Instead:
- The Sweetest Christmas (2017)
A Sweet Christmas Romance
This movie tried to follow a recipe for the perfect Christmas movie. However, it forgot about the most important ingredient: the Christmas magic. We’re eliminating “A Sweet Christmas Magic” from our Christmas viewing rotation.