So, this weekend’s movie is the long awaited “A New Year’s Resolution.” It was in the Christmas 2019 lineup and then inexplicably pulled. As recently as March 2020, the lead actors were still scratching their heads as to what happened. Then, perhaps just as inexplicably, it is placed second in the line up of 2021’s “New Year New Movies” series. It was very clearly intended to be seen in the weekend between Christmas and New Year’s though. Just my opinion. Anyway, shall we?
Kelly produces a morning show in Milwaukee. I know I’ve seen the morning show host on a few Hallmark movies before. After the show, Kelly walks into a coffee shop that just says “GLUTEN FREE” on the window in giant letters. She changes up her order which throws off the poor barista. Then, she rejects a FREE SAMPLE. Tom, our leading man, is in line behind her and takes the free sample like a normal human. He propositions the barista, who actually may be the owner, to cater hot drinks for a New Year’s Day polar bear plunge his employer, Imperium Bank, is sponsoring. Well shoot. These crazy kids JUST missed each other.
Later, Kelly has a planning meeting for ideas for the show. She suggests following someone around for the month of January as they fulfill their New Year’s Resolution. Not a bad idea but probably boring to watch someone drive to the gym, eat salad, and go to bed early. Oh wait, I guess we could watch her friend…write his novel. Or, wait, are we not there yet? Never mind.
Tom gives a successful presentation and is quite pleased about it. Then he gets a frantic call from his sister, Sheila. WHAT IS HAPPENING WITH SHEILA.
At the TV studio, River, the host of the morning show, has a heart to heart with Kelly…I think about not working too hard? Or chasing her dreams or something? I don’t know. But it’s Christmas Eve and Kelly is grinding away alone.
Tom arrives at his sister’s house, which is all decorated for Christmas since it is Christmas Eve. So it makes absolutely zero sense to have this movie second in the line up.
KELLY’s friend calls to see where the heck she is. She will be there soon she says. But they know the truth. You would think this actor just found out his mom died by his reaction when he hangs up.
Tom ( I swear his nieces call him uncle Tony) and his sister chat after the kids go to bed. Then they work on wrapping gifts. What else has that girl been in? Is she in Love, Lights, Hanukkah? I can’t put my finger on it, and I’m not bothering to look it up.
Kelly finally arrives to the Christmas Eve party after everyone has gone home. She has a weird, (unhelpful in my view) conversation with her friend. She leads with telling her how stubborn she is and how she always says no….like where is she going with that? Her problem is actually that she overextends herself. She works long hours but yet still makes commitments to her friends and then ultimately flakes out. So she has poor work/life balance skills. But I don’t actually think she has a problem saying “no” based on the information I have presently. Then her friend gives her some nonsensical advice.
Then we flash forward to New Year’s Eve. Kelly is out to eat with her friend group and the other couple is still pretty punchy about Christmas Eve. I can’t believe how serious they are all taking this Secret Santa gift exchange. They are so…not understanding about the pressures of her job and are like, you need to hang out with us more. I mean, some jobs just don’t work like that all the time. I mean, that one girl is a police officer. She should be more understanding!
Tony and his friends are also out to eat on New Year’s Eve at the same restaurant. They talk about resolutions, naturally. Kelly’s friend group talks about resolutions as well. KELLY DOESN’T EVEN KNOW WHAT BOOK HER FRIEND IS WRITING IN HIS SPARE TIME. What a bad friend. He TOTALLY changed his idea and genre a few months ago KELLY. You would know if you had BEEN THERE. Kelly has a standard resolution of reading one book a week; which is pretty ambitious for someone who works so much they can’t celebrate Christmas Eve. Like, I think I read 30 last year and I was pretty impressed with myself. Then her friends suggest that she “say Yes” more since she LOVES TO SAY NO. I don’t really see her saying No that often though…it seems like she already says Yes too much and so she’s stretched too thin. But whatever.
Meanwhile, Tom is prompted by his friends to guess strangers’ resolutions. As one could do on New Year’s Eve 2019. He turns to the table behind him, which is Kelly’s table. Tom is actually quite good at guessing, since most people’s resolutions are PREDICTABLE. He easily guesses Kelly’s friends’ resolutions. Tom can’t guess hers though! And now we get a clarification on Kelly’s resolution-she is saying “yes” to EVERY SOCIAL INVITATION. So now we’re getting somewhere. Anyway, that sounds like my nightmare. And if this movie was supposed to take place in 2019-2020, boy, what a great year to commit to more social events.
After dinner, Tom invites Kelly out with him and his bros. Kelly declines because she already planned to hang out with her friends. Why didn’t they all hang together? Oooooh, is Kelly writing her number down for Tom? She slips it in his jacket pocket, presumably. Later, Kelly and her friends symbolically light their resolutions on fire. It would be fine, but then they make it weird. And then Tom finds Kelly’s number. And he texts her IMMEDIATELY. I think. Then Kelly’s friend asks her again to do the polar plunge the next day. She has to accept now that it’s New Year’s Day. Also, her friend starts this funny bit where they say her full name but use a ridiculous middle name. I believe she uses “Ezekiel” here.
Kelly runs into Tom the next day at the polar plunge. Kelly intends to prep Tom to be interviewed on her show, but they end up arguing about who should ask out who and when. Why did she give him her number if she didn’t want to go out on a date? What is happening? Kelly’s friend continues to be horrible by secretly wearing a wet suit for the plunge. OMG I’m freezing just watchin this. The friend’s hair isn’t even WET. Oh that would be it for my friendship with her.
Back at the office, everyone laughs watching Kelly on video. When they learn about her resolution, they decide to follow HER resolution journey.
Some time later, Kelly finds herself at another winter themed exercise event-the Blizzard Obstacle Course. Kelly gives a very depressing outlook of a potential future with TOM to her friend and he overhears the end. He is undeterred. The friend (who’s name I NEVER catch) was trying to encourage Kelly to ask Tom out. Tom points out that she is kind of a pessimist. Tom suggests they bet on who will win between the two of them. The winner buys coffee. HIGH STAKES, TOM. They are both pretty good at monkey bars, honestly. Have you tried to do monkey bars as an adult? I might do a themed obstacle course race like this, honestly. It looks kind of fun. Would I pay to do it? No. Kelly gives a little download to the show. She tries to catch Tom’s eye before she leaves with her friends but misses him.
The next day at work, Kelly notices that Tom left her a coffee. He leaves her a PUNNY note. Then Kelly’s friend drops some coffee off too. She invites Kelly to a speed dating event. Then Kelly goes on the morning show to talk about her resolution! Oh boy, Kelly reveals that her worst fear is MAGICIANS. WHAT. And so this morning show forces poor Kelly to be a magician’s assistant on the show.
At Tom’s work, there is a CHILI COOKOFF EMERGENCY. They need more money or something? Anyway, it’s a disaster.
Then Kelly goes to a spin class with her friend. The her friend gives her some “real talk” about her life or whatever but it’s too vague for my taste.
That night is the speed dating event. Guess who’s there?!! Tom’s friend plays wingman with Kelly on his turn with her. Tom tries to get info on Kelly from her friend during his turn. She “grills” him and basically admits that Kelly has much higher standards than she does. Then, when Kelly and Tom finally pair up, she asks him on a date! They have VERY BUSY schedules but finally agree to go to a hockey game the following week.
Wow the MUSTACHE on that waiter! The gang arrives to the BOX SEATS Tom got from the bank. Tom spills that he has 3 brothers and that one sister we saw earlier. Kelly is an only child. Then Kelly and Tom go down to the concessions to get cheese fries. HELLO that’s the point of a box! They bring that all TO YOU. Anyway, they are chit chatting. Then she invites him to…something. I don’t know what it is but he agrees.
Kelly gives another update on her resolutions on the morning show. We have some great clips of her trying curling. At the break, a producer tells Kelly that 20 people have had accounts opened under their name. MYSTERIOUS. River wonders if Kelly shouldn’t just confront Tom about it? Kelly is like, let’s just do some digging okay?
Later that night, Kelly and her friends inexplicably play LIFE with no children forcing them. Then her friends are like, wait, weren’t you supposed to move to Chicago? Why didn’t you do that? Her friend is like, you’ve done so much this month and without falling on your face! But she DID fall on her face….remember curling?
The next day at work, Kelly has a meeting with River and her boss (?). The bank story comes up again. They have three people willing to go on the record to say accounts were opened in their name without permission. Kelly pushes back a little. The boss thinks they need a whistleblower on the inside. River gives Kelly a LOOK and is like, GIRL. Kelly is like, what? It’s not like my boyfriend works at the bank. Kelly calls Tom and wants to meet up. Tom is busy at the chili cookoff. SO MUCH BANKING. He invites her to stop by.
At the chili cook off, Tom says “I want to write songs about your heroism” when Kelly agrees to take tickets at the event. I love that. Later he brings her a very empty paper cup of chili. He tells her how he has been feeling a little overwhelmed. Then Kelly just ASKS him about the accounts. Tom is skeptical. Kelly suggests they break up now because when the story breaks it would be an ethical nightmare. Tom is like, nah. Kelly finally agrees to keep seeing Tom. But then I think they get lost in some of their metaphors. Then Tom asks to kiss her but SHE SHUTS HIM DOWN.
Kelly’s next event is for the Chinese New Year. She does a little segment for her show and then Tom arrives. He thinks she should be in FRONT of the camera more. Then she shares about doing open mic nights in college or something? Tom invites her to be on a podcast but she says she can say no since it will be after her birthday. Then she invites him to her birthday party. They get some food and do more chit chat. They both say they want to go to Chicago. She asks why he didn’t ever go? He says that conversation has to wait until date four. She says, oh so there’s a date four? Like, hello? He has been the one saying he’s interested. As far as he’s concerned, there will be date four. They try to make plans to see each other again. They are very busy bees.
Kelly practices her story out loud when Tom calls. He invites her to hang out with him ALL DAY. She needs to dress casual for the family time-a niece’s birthday party. Then an EVENING GOWN for the Gala that night. Kelly says she needs to figure out what to wear so she will see him in 30 MINUTES. WHAT?
It’s birthday time. Kelly is immediately conscripted to help with the birthday cake, giving her an opportunity to have a heart to heart with Sheila. Then Sheila abruptly starts singing happy birthday without giving anyone any warning. Then Tom takes her on a really fun date! They go to a coffee shop that has a bunch of board games. Super cute idea. Oof. Tom says my thoughts out loud-all the board games in the world and she picks checkers. Everyone is keeping track of how many dates they’ve been on. Anyway, she asks him again why he didn’t go to Chicago. He says the idea of leaving his family was too hard. But where are the other brothers? We didn’t meet them. We just met Sheila. So what’s up? All in all, his answer to this question is VERY UNDERWHELMING. They chit chat more and no one cares.
Then Kelly gets ready and they have a shouting convo while she gets ready for the Gala. Kelly has more info about the fraud scheme at the bank. They talk about going undercover to find out what’s going on. Where did she get this evening gown? He calls her breathtaking. So that could be good or bad, honestly.
They have a lovely time at the Gala. Kelly gets an email from Casey about the bank fraud situation. That actually doesn’t come up again so forget I mentioned it. Then Tom asks her to dance. They chat about their fun day together. I can’t really bear to listen to this anymore. AND THEN THEY KISS. TWICE.
Some time in the future, Tom goes undercover to ask the sales team what’s up. The sales team talks about how stressed they are hitting their sales quotas. He all but admits they are creating fraudulent accounts to hit their targets and get commissions. Later, Tom talks to his sales buddy in private in his office. Tom tells his sales buddy that he has to tell Kelly first. WHAT. There is no way he should tell Kelly first. The right thing would be to just like try to fix things internally, not some salacious news story.
At some later point, Tom arrives out of costume to Kelly’s Great Gatsby themed birthday party. It is INTENSE and VERY FANCY. Then her friends make a little toast to her. Tom gives her a very sentimental gift. It’s lovely. To summarize her feelings about her resolution, she quotes the Great Gatsby. Of course, there is no opportunity to update Kelly on the whole fraudulent account thing.
The next day, Kelly hears that the bank closed all the faulty accounts. Tom tells Kelly all about how he did the right thing. Kelly is mad and emotional that she basically doesn’t get her “hard hitting news story”. Tom is like, well I think the bank can still do the right thing. YEAH DUH. But Kelly isn’t having any of this and says it’s over. Of course.
Later, Tom’s boss comes in and talks to him about the drama. The boss is pleased with his initiative and now Tom is up for a promotion. Tom asks what they are going to do about the fraud. Glen is like, how about you just shut it and take the promotion? So, there it is. The big, bad, Imperiam Bank is going to do nothing. This seems really short sighted considering the liability Tom is now and the fact that the news has already gotten wind of it. I don’t think merely closing the accounts would be sufficient for any of this.
So then Tom goes straight to Kelly to tell her that he quit his job and is willing to go on record to reveal what the bank is doing. But actually I think he would have whistleblower protections for revealing this info. He may not have needed to quit. Then Tom gives an interview on air. And also, how did Glen not think any of this through? Tom quitting creates a MAJOR liability for them. I mean, this is just silly.
Later, Kelly reviews the clip, which has “officially gone viral.” Whatever that means. So now everyone is covering the story.
At her home, Kelly paces back and forth in front of several bouquets of flowers and the board game “Sorry.” BUT HE SHOULDN’T BE SORRY. Why is she not already back together with him? Why does Tom want to even be with such a crazy person? Then her friends arrive and are like, you need to give Tom another chance. But she’s like, no screw Tom. I GOT A JOB IN CHICAGO. Her friends are like, you can figure it out with Tom still? It’s only two hours away.
Oh dear. Then Kelly gives her weird end of the Hallmark movie speech at a coffee shop open mic “story slam” night. Kelly just save it for your diary. This is not how story slams work? Tom sneaks in to hear it. Everyone applauds but they SHOULDN’T. Oh great. Tom is going to do a story slam now. He gives an allegory from the Velveteen rabbit. OMG HE GOT A JOB IN CHICAGO TOO. And then they KISS again. And that’s it.
Overall, I enjoyed this movie. It wasn’t the disaster I was expecting, considering the delay in it’s premiere. It is truly perplexing why this movie was pulled last year. I think it would have worked perfectly on the weekend between Christmas and New Year’s. So far, I still liked “Taking a Shot at Love” better because it just had more January/Winter feels… I think this one was weighed down a little by trying to blend in both holidays and cover about 6 weeks of time in 80 minutes. But, Michael Rady continues to be one of my faves! What did you think? Also, are we starting to see any tropes for the January slate of movies? I am starting to see a pattern for Hallmark movies, regardless of season so maybe I will put that checklist together.