Movie Review: 'A Christmas Detour' (2015)

Candace Cameron Bure stars as an uptight writer, who is heading to spend Christmas with her fiancé and meet her soon-to-be in-laws for the first time. Of course, things can never be that simple or we would not have a movie to watch. So that means Bure’s Paige finds her New York-bound plane ride thwarted by a blizzard.

In a desperate bid to get to her destination in time, she joins three strangers on a road trip to New York. Of the trio; two are a long-married couple weathering a rough patch in their marriage and the other is a laid-back bachelor; who the type-A Paige immediately locks horns with.

According to movie law; opposites attract and it is not long before Paige is questioning whether her picture-perfect beau is the answer to her dreams.

Having a foursome of characters gives the movie an interesting dynamic, which allows for two conversing narratives on marriage and romance. Representing the negative viewpoint are bickering marrieds, Maxine (Sarah Strange) and Frank (David Lewis) and the wounded Dylan (Paul Greene), all of whom are romantically disillusioned.

Countering their side is the overwhelming excitement of the hopelessly romantic, Paige. There is a commendable aspect in “Christmas Detour’s” dose of real-world cynicism and it is a welcomed voice. However, the three strangers seeming desire for Paige’s relationship to implode appears to be more motivated out of sour grapes than caring about her ultimate welfare.

[Image by Marcel Williams/Hallmark Crown Media]
The thing is, Paige’s fiancé may be guilty of being emotionally aloof but he is not a bad person. When the movie tries to toss him into the likability wood shredder towards the end, the damage of Paige’s wandering eye and indefensible lapse of passion with another man has already been done. Despite Bure’s best attempts at making Paige likable, the character’s scripted actions make it impossible to salvage a likable heroine.

The movie tries to earn her good will in the form of her foils: her fiancé’s omnipresent parents, who suffer from the storied cliché of emotional frost that envelops the portrayal of most blue bloods. The gratingly unlikable parents serve as a giant red flag when it comes to why Paige would want to marry a man, whose parents she has never met. That whole aspect of the storyline is well…odd.

Through a series of misfortunes, Paige and company come to a respective crossroads in their relationships and the message on the married couple’s front is heartening. In contrast, the falling in love portion of the program is underwhelming.

With the aid of some softer scripting, both Paige and Dylan could have been made more agreeable by leaps and bounds. The question arises as to why that did not occur. Paige is engaged and flirting with a man who is not her fiance.

While Dylan is hunting a woman he knows is committed to another man and when the third act reveals the reason behind his single status; his behavior is made all the more puzzling. The whole scenario is a whiplash of seismic proportions. 

As a whole, the ensemble gives a respectable turn that remains compelling throughout and Bure is as endearing as possible as the frenzied Paige.

In terms of Bure’s other Hallmark Christmas movies; “A Christmas Detour” does not shine as brightly as 2015’s fish-out-of-water dramedy “Christmas Under Wraps” or the outstanding “Let It Snow”. Albeit, "A Christmas Detour" does provide an entertaining detour of holiday time. Rating: 6.5/10

[Images by Hallmark Crown Media]

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