“This Christmas, you did something that no one else in this family has ever been able to do for generations. Bring us all together.”

Julia Crawley returns home to the family inn for Christmas. In addition to finding that the long-running feud between her family and the family that runs the town’s other inn, the Masons, is still going strong, she finds herself in a “forbidden” romance of sorts with Ryan Mason.

But when the feuding families need to come together to fight a common enemy, it’s up to Julia and Ryan to convince them to set aside their feud. It’s the Hallmark movie, “Check Inn to Christmas” (2019).

Our Review: Check Inn to Christmas

Forget the Capulets and the Montagues. Meet the Crawleys and the Masons.

These two families, each owners of small-town inns, have been feuding for generations. Apparently because the Mason’s lodge is in such an awesome location – mere steps away from the train station. (Yes, come for the rest-and-relaxation and the insane Christmas light displays. Stay for the being woken up in the dead of night by loud rumbling and train whistles!)

This feuding family elements were pretty fun and resulted in some unforced situational humor – giving “Check Inn to Christmas” a unique feel from other Hallmark Christmas movies this year. All with the subtle message that we all have more in common than we think.

Though, it’s Hallmark so you know some parts will feel formulaic:

  • Woman (Julia) “can’t get attached” because she lives so far away and a relationship with local man (Ryan) would never work.
  • Woman (Julia) has to choose between promotion in big city or true love in small town.
  • Son (Ryan) just wants respect from his father.
  • Corporation bad! (Boo, Edgestone, for putting other inns out of business and giving people amenities they actually want and are willing to pay for, like spas and gyms!)
  • Small town family-run business good! (Hooray, for not being cookie cutter!)

What could have helped “Check Inn to Christmas”?

A bit less focus on business details (a problem that has plagued a few other Hallmark movies this years, such as “Merry & Bright” and “A Godwink Christmas: Meant for Love“).

Business plans? Business talk? Zoning laws?

Pretty boring stuff. Don’t need it in our Christmas movies. We need a bigger focus on characters and relationships next year, Hallmark!

As for the romance, Julia (Rachel Boston) and Ryan (Wes Brown) find themselves bumping into each other and then, later, meeting in secret to scheme. And both quickly realize they have feelings for each other and could be great together.

Julia and Ryan had good chemistry together. They had good banter, and Ryan looked legit smitten with Julia – especially when she was in her amazing red dress.

We liked that their sizzle couldn’t even be contained until the end of the movie – a fall off a ladder leads to their first kiss with more than two full segments left to go!

As for the rest? Let’s break it down.

The Nice List

Our Favorite Moment

When Ryan sees Julia in her red dress across the room at the dance. And the dance.

Great moment!

You’ll Laugh…

  • When Julia and Ryan agree to meet for secret cocoa.
  • When the power gets knocked out… on purpose.

SO MUCH CHRISTMAS!

The Crawley’s inn was insanely decorated. Both inns went overboard, competing on lights and decorations.

Forget decking the halls – the Crawleys PUMMELED the halls of their inn – with Christmas lights hanging everywhere!

And wowzer! Her New York City office was also crazy and over the top. Should’ve known what we were in for when they had festively decorated doughnuts in the first scene.

There were also plenty of Christmasy activities – the snowball toss was fun in particular. They also made Christmas wreaths, had a dessert bakeoff contest, and the big dance.

Acting

Overall, the acting was good. Rachel Boston was very likable, as always.

Both of the dads (Richard Karn and Christopher Cousins) were also good. The siblings, Lexi (Anna Daines) and Frank (Logan Donovan) were pretty funny. And Julia’s grandmother also had a couple of good moments.

All Feud, No Contrived Mixup

So, we liked that this lacked the contrived mixup to drive Julia and Ryan apart. It would have undercut the entire idea of bringing the families together.

In fact, all the conflict was either the feuding families, or the families fighting together against the big corporate resort.

We also liked that it took the majority of the movie for the families to let go of the grudge. Their union didn’t feel forced or too fast.

Christmas Trivia!

“Frosty the Snowman” was referenced during the Christmas trivia. (What item brings Frosty to life? SPOILER: A hat.)

If You Liked “Check Inn to Christmas” You Should Watch

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Check Inn to Christmas

Super

“Check Inn to Christmas” is a fun watch, with more Christmas visuals than you could ever hope for. While it got a bit bogged down too much in some worn out tropes and business talk, it’s still one of the stronger Hallmark Christmas movies of 2019. We’ll be checking this movie out again in the future.

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