Christmas Waltz (2020)

Hallmark Summary: “After Avery’s storybook Christmas wedding is canceled, a dance instructor helps her face her fears in life and fulfill her dream of learning to dance. Stars Lacey Chabert and Will Kemp.”

My Reaction? Standing ovation! This movie is a refreshing SPIN (intentional dance pun) on love in the time of modern ballroom dancing. Kudos to Hallmark for pairing Lacey Chabert and Will Kemp in yet another delightful TURN together. (See how I did that?)

All dance puns aside (maybe), this is the Hallmark movie I’ve been anticipating for months. I adored Chabert and Kemp in Love, Romance & Chocolate, a tasty treat I sample frequently. (Since I’m allergic to chocolate, I consider LR&C the next best thing.)

In “Christmas Waltz,” Chabert is her classic, adorable self as the reliable, relatable Avery.  Despite Chabert’s star turns in so many Hallmark films, her character in this feels unique. Avery is a type-A only child who doesn’t “do failure as a hobby.” I’ll confess, there were moments when I was legitimately concerned about Avery’s stress level. And I loved her best friend Molly (played by Katrina Reynolds). I’m not sure Avery could cope without her. One more thing: Avery’s wardrobe! Another standing ovation, if you please, for Costumer Niki Chung.

This time, Kemp gets to demonstrate his real-life dance skills as Roman who teaches a recently dis-engaged and anxiously uptight Avery how to waltz. Kemp once again delivers his magnificent blend of clever and cheeky.  Nevermind that he can dance like a champ.  He also brings the zingers! As Roman, he channels a gentle empathy which Avery’s former fiance does not possess.  The Curse of the Obvious Choice is fully in play when David (played by Hallmark pro Jeremy Guilbaut) reenters the picture.

Michael Damian of “The Young and the Restless” fame is the director and co-writer on this one. The script (co-written with wife Janeen Damian) crackles with sparkling banter between Avery and Roman. It feels different from so other Hallmark films, and honestly, that’s not a bad thing. Between the witty repartee and the organic dance numbers, this was the 2020 Christmas gift I needed.

Added Bonus: JT Church earns our third standing ovation! I’ll admit, kids in Hallmark movies can go either way for me. But Church owns every scene he’s in, and he’s a jaw-droppingly awesome dancer. (What was I doing when I was 14? Uh, not this. So impressive!)

Festival, Wedding, or Ball? Mega Important Ballroom Dance Performance in NYC. So, we’ll call it a festi-ball.

Teachable Moment: How to waltz. With a cute guy. After being dumped by a schmuck.  Yes please and thank you.

My Verdict? LOVED IT! Pairs well with dry white wine and Chinese takeout.  I’d also like to get the recipe for those cookies that Roman’s mother made. They looked like pie crust! Yum!