A Christmas Detour
Paige is flying to spend Christmas with her soon-to-be in-laws, but her travel plans are detoured when a snowstorm leaves her stranded. Desperate to find another route, she teams up with a band of fellow travelers - including a cynical bar manager who has lost faith in love. Can they scramble to make it to New York in time for Christmas… and will Paige discover that her Mr. Right is really Mr. Right-Next-To-Me?
Opens w/ City Scene
Candace Cameron Bure
Hate Becomes Love
You usually can’t go wrong with a CCB Christmas movie (Candace Cameron Bure, for you Hallmark newbies). You’re guaranteed a strong-headed but likable leading lady opposite a handsome and handy costar. Mix in some dashes of Christmas and a slow build toward romance, and you’ve got yourself a solid film formula.
And you won’t go wrong if you watch “A Christmas Detour.” Using that CCB formula as its base, the story is honest about marriage, soulmates, crappy dive bar food, and how the “Perfect Christmas” isn’t always what you plan.
Writer for Radiant Bride, wedding-obsessed Paige (CCB, playing it ditzier than normal) is flying from LA to New York to meet her future in-laws for the first time. She’s seated next to Christmas-phobic Dylan (Paul Greene, dashing but a bit pushy), and even when a snowstorm grounds the plane in Buffalo, Paige can’t shake him from popping up and challenging her takes on soulmates or “The One.” A flirty Hate Becomes Love setup.
Befriending Frank and Maxine, a couple whose marriage is showing a few cracks, Paige tries every route to get to her fiancé (who is quickly revealed to be an Evil Fiancé in his refusal to stand up to his mother or in his subtle blaming of Paige for her delay—she can’t control the weather, Jack!). Only when Dylan rents “the last 4-wheel drive in Buffalo” is there hope she can arrive by Christmas Day to help plan her own wedding.
The SUV isn’t weather-proof, so Frank, Maxine, Paige, and Dylan end up needing repairs and spending Christmas Eve in Christmas-Named Town Christmasville. It’s there the movie finally gets into the season through discussions about traditions and how the holiday, and family, is what you make it.
The sub-storyline of Frank and Maxine’s 20-year marriage keeps the movie from being all about Paige and her quick change-of-heart. Their sweet reconnection might be the most realistic portrayal of a relationship Hallmark has put on screen. From separate beds to a Christmas Eve slow dance, it’s practically a double Hate Becomes Love plot device.
There is a just enough Christmas in this one to pass Rob’s high bar, but it comes a little late into the movie. And the biggest reason it doesn’t rise to our Very Merry list? Paige herself. She goes from a woman who would bring a romance vision board on a plane (seriously? Who does that?) to someone who can be “carried away” by mistletoe and a practical stranger. She seems to only have surface-level values, which doesn’t evoke those warming feelings of Christmas that we want from a holiday film.
There is a road trip discussion in the movie about Paige being “eager” vs. “anxious” to meet her future in-laws. We’ve adopted that language designation in our own house since this movie came out in 2015. Using those definitions, we would be “eager” to watch this one again next season.
Rob's Final Take: Merry
CCB, travel disruptions, family baggage, and a couple fun sidekicks. The kindling was there but it just never caught fire. Nothing more than a middling merry movie.
Jess's Final Take: Merry
There is just enough Christmas to hit the mark, and Frank and Maxine keep the story lively. But our leading lady is too flakey for me to root for her “Perfect Christmas.”