Plot: Belinda (Kim Shaw) is about to head home for the holidays, but she’s going solo as her beau Logan (Jon Welch) is swamped at work. While she is excited to visit her family and enjoy the local holiday events, she also has some work to do and if she wants a promotion, she needs to close a big sale. Once she arrives, she expects Logan to follow soon behind once his work is caught up, but his delays force her to enter her town’s biggest event alone. The Christmas Scavenger Hunt is a local favorite and while she is by herself on the trip, she winds up paired with Dustin (Kevin McGarry), to be her partner for the hunt. The two have history however, as they dated before Belinda left for college and the big city, a trek Dustin had promised to make with her, but instead he stayed behind in the small town. Can the two work together and put their arguments aside for the greater good of the scavenger hunt?
Entertainment Value: This is a fairly routine Hallmark holiday romance, harmless and brisk, but not all that memorable. The narrative crosses off a lot of Hallmark tropes, which means Christmas Scavenger Hunt is quite predictable, but that’s not a concern with these kind of movies. Hallmark has built a brand and has a substantial fan base established, so films like this one rarely try to reinvent the wheel and instead, offer up comfort style cinema. I found some things to like about this movie, especially Kim Shaw in particular, but even compared to other Hallmark holiday romances, this one seems to be a little too bland. Shaw is colorful and fun watch, but the story fails to spark much and the romance is rather cold. The leads are likable, but chemistry just isn’t there and even as a light romance, the two don’t seem to connect as needed. That’s a shame, as there could have been some fun banter and both leads were capable, they just didn’t have that spark present. That’s not to say Christmas Scavenger Hunt is bad or dull however, I just wouldn’t rank it with the most fun or romantic of Hallmark’s myriad of holiday pictures. But if you’re a Hallmark fan in search of a brisk romance, this one will likely keep your interest for a couple of hours.
This is an interesting scenario, as I think both leads here are likable and perform well, but the dynamic between them falls flat in most scenes. The lack of chemistry is always evident and while Hallmark movies don’t call for intense passion, some back and forth or spark of romance can enhance the experience. Kim Shaw is fun to watch regardless, as she brings a lot of enthusiasm and attitude to the lead role, carrying the movie in most sequences. I like that she can do so much with a snarky look or humorous reaction, she has more spunk that most Hallmark leads and I appreciated that, I just wish it was given more chance to shine. Kevin McGarry is a competent romantic interest and he performs well enough, but doesn’t have the energetic presence or snap to his dialogue to keep pace with Shaw. I know Hallmark is more likely to embrace warmth over snark however, so I can understand his approach. In any event, I had fun watching Shaw’s character here and I think she is the brightest part of the picture. The cast also includes Tom Arnold, Jon Welch, and Kathryn Kohut.
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