“Jingle bells, jingle bells, I’ve got bills to pay.”

Emily’s family farm is in trouble – and her sister, Dorothy, is eager to sell it. Dorothy shows up with Charlie, who represents an investment group interested in property.

To avoid losing the farm, she’ll have to raise $400,000 by Christmas Eve. Will she get her Christmas miracle? It’s the Lifetime movie, “Christmas a la Mode” (2019).

Our Review: Christmas a la Mode

“Christmas a la Mode” is slightly better than your average Christmas romance movie. The story was engaging and never dragged. It had a good plot. The romantic leads were more likable than not and had decent chemistry.

So why didn’t we love it?

Well, for one, the sister. Dorothy is just such an unlikable character.

After forcing Emily to buy her out, what does she do with all that money? Help the family? Nope. She has her eye on a vacation home on the Cape.

They repeated the idea “business is business, but family is family” multiple times. But apparently Dorothy was immune to this idea.

We were hoping by the end Dorothy’s tiny heart would grow due to the Christmas spirit and she’d come back into the fold. But no. Disappointing.

Essentially, by the end of the movie, the family raised a ton of money, but they aren’t really any better off financially than they were. Thanks, Dorothy.

Also, you may have caught that we said the romantic leads were more likable than not.

Charlie was good. He really did have kind eyes. And his acting was good because we was able to soften what could be a hard-nosed take on “I’m coming in here to sell your property.” He never felt like the bad guy – just the guy in a bad situation.

As for Emily? Our main issue with her was she was quite rude and short (dare we say mean?) to some characters, especially near the start of the movie. This is more a slight on the writing than her acting, which was quite good actually.

One strong scene was when, at a difficult moment in the movie, she’s reading a paper and you can see her hands shaking. It was a subtle little detail most viewers probably won’t notice, but kudos to Katie Leclerc for really bringing it in this movie.

The Nice List

Our Favorite Scene

When Emily and Charlie dance at the barn dance. She tells him this is the most Christmas spirit she’s felt in a long time, and he tells her she looks beautiful. Well, the barn and her – we’re still a bit unsure why he said the barn first!

Also huge bonus points to Charlie for not turning around in a huff and leaving when he saw Emily dancing with another man.

You’ll Laugh…

  • When Emily sings her version of jingle bells (“I’ve got bills to pay”).
  • When Susan says, “We’re going viral, baby!”

The Naughty List

Contrived Conflict

So, the conflict around saving the farm was all believable and fine.

But the conflict between Emily and Charlie over the new offer (from a housing developer) to buy the farm was just kind of silly. During the barn dance at any point, Charlie could have given Emily the bad news.

Then, when Emily and Charlie are outside talking, he has plenty of opportunities to tell her. But she has to go to watch Gloria’s kid dance? Um, that news was far more important than watching an employee’s kid dance.

Not Super Christmasy

“Christmas a la Mode” was not nearly as Christmasy as a Hallmark movie.

Beyond the Santa collection, a few stockings at the ice cream shop, and the barn scene, there weren’t many decorations.

Also it was odd they only had one string of lights at the family’s house. Every time they showed the house exterior, it looked so minimal. Sure, they’re broke, but they never had any Christmas lights?

There also weren’t too many Christmasy activities. They chopped down and decorated a tree, had a barn dance, and had the Christmas ice cream flavor contest. That was about it.

The music was also underwhelming – we needed more of it! The low point was definitely the singer at the barn dance murdering the fa la la la las in “Deck the Halls”.

Unanswered Questions

  • Why are Dairy World people allowed to hang out for so long on the farm?
  • Did we really need more than one cow feeding montage? We get it. It’s a farm. That time probably could have been better spent on story or putting in a little more Christmas.
  • Do the main characters eat anything other than ice cream? If so, how to they get their nutrients? In the first five minutes alone, Emily is eating ice cream outside in the cold twice. There are so many ice cream eating scenes. They eat ice cream when talking about assets and liabilities. Emily even stress eats ice cream after a visit from a guy who wants to buy the farm.
  • What was Emily’s romantic backstory? We basically know she’s a farm girl – but we never really learned much about her relationship history. We knew secondary characters Trey and Dorothy used to date. Did she have a past big heartbreak? Are the pickings slim in town? Why is she single?
  • Why does everybody in the ice cream shop groan when Emily announces they are out of Christmas a la mode ice cream? They are all eating ice cream already!
  • Why did they have to call the ice cream Happy Cows? There’s already a Happy Cow Creamery. weird.

Missed Opportunity

We would have liked to have seen a scene with Charlie and his father. Something to give their relationship a bit more depth.

We knew Charlie’s father and brother ran the pie business. So it might have been nice if Charlie’s father could have told Charlie that he was so proud he used the family pies and acknowledge that he cares about the family business, even if he’s not involved with it.

The WORST List

Winter Storm Megan, R.I.P.

This was the first Lifetime movie we saw this year that had no mention of Winter Storm Megan.

The continuity police have been called! However, we’re hearing they may be late – oddly due to Winter Storm Megan.

The CGI Snow

It all looked so fake. None of the characters ever had any snow on their clothes or in their hair. And despite all that CGI snow, none seemed to stick on the ground. Weird, right?

C’mon! TWO Shooting Stars?

Early in the movie, Emily asks for a sign from her father (that everything will be OK) and gets it. She saw a shooting star.

But then when things were looking even bleaker near the end, she asked for ANOTHER sign. And she got another shooting star.

Wait, was the first sign not signy enough? Once was fine, but twice?

If You Liked “Christmas a la Mode” You Should Watch

  • Rocky Mountain Christmas
  • Christmas Land
  • Poinsettias for Christmas
Christmas a la Mode
5.5/10

Above Average

A certain ice cream chain offers three sizes: like it, love it, gotta have it. If we were using that rating system, “Christmas a la Mode” definitely fell into the “like it” category. “Christmas a la Mode” has just enough flavor to satisfy you while you’re eating, but it’s hardly the best ice cream in the world.

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