There has never been any bias for or against Hallmark Christmas films. Actually think there are a mix of good, bad (and worse in some cases) and somewhere between mediocre and decent, so it's a variable output really. One just needs to know what to expect and not to expect too much. Have always appreciated romantic dramas with touches of comedy, so yeah 'Christmas Wishes and Mistletoe Kisses' was hardly one of those doomed from the start sort of films. Also Jill Wagner is always watchable
'Christmas Wishes and Mistletoe Kisses' mostly lived up to and exceeded mixed expectations, as it could have gone either way of being charming and cute or being sickly sweet and cheesy. And it manages on the most part to be the former. Despite what the corny and somewhat sugary title suggests. A good lesson in not judging a film by its title, advertising or any previous exposure to Hallmark Christmas films whether positive or negative. As far as Hallmark Christmas films go, generally 'Christmas Wishes and Mistletoe Kisses' is around solid middle, uneven but decent.
Will start with the not so good. The predictability of the story does get excessive in spots, especially in the final third, and parts early on are on the forced side. Hallmark is no stranger to over-obvious and too hastily and neatly wrapped up endings, and 'Christmas Wishes and Mistletoe Kisses' is another one of those films.
Some of the dialogue is not so great early on, could have done with more spark but also more subtlety. It did take me a while to warm to Matthew Davis, his type of character is not an easy one to pull off as there is real potential to be dull and unlikeable in an uptight role and Davis did start out that way. Some of the music is intrusive, though other Hallmark films did this aspect a lot worse.
However, Wagner is a sheer charming delight, she always gives her all while not overacting and she never looks bored. Once Nick softens and becomes easier to warm to, Davis is a lot more relaxed and becomes more appealing. His chemistry with Wagner was unsure to begin with and didn't seem connected, but as the relationship did develop (and realistically) it became more natural and warmer. Donna Mills is an amusing and kindly scene stealer and the child is cute but not too much so.
It looks good, with some never drab or garish photography, editing that doesn't look sloppy and appropriately festive locations. While the music didn't have me completely sold in terms of balance, tonally it fitted at least and doesn't over-emphasise too much the mood. The script did get better later on and was sincere and not cheesy. Despite the story not being perfect, it is light on its feet and has a warm heart without being mawkish or sugary sweet. Tonally it clearly knew what it was trying to be. Nothing charmless about it either. The characters don't bore or annoy generally, with the only reservation being Nick to start with.
To conclude, decent. 6/10
Christmas Wishes and Mistletoe Kisses
Drama / Family / Romance
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1 hr 24 min