Christmas has come to Lifetime early, and you can either grumble about it (like I used to) or submit to the new wave of cheesy Christmas flicks (like I have). Lifetime has dived right in with new Christmas content for our viewing pleasure.
No Time Like Christmas isn't even the first new Christmas film of the season, but if you happened to catch this one starring Kyla Pratt, then we have you covered with a review.
It had the usual formula. Career- obsessed woman working on a high-stress project that would make and break her career? Check.
A small-town where everyone knows everyone and our protagonist returns home after years of living in a big city to be charmed by how quaint small-town life is? Check.
A mysterious, angelic stranger who gives fate a helping hand? Check.
A meddlesome sister, mother, and pre-adolescent who want their respective relatives to be happy? Check. Check. Check.
Coming together to save a small community theater, and a snowstorm nearly thwarting everything? Check and check.
And that's not including the second-chance love story, singing, and heaps of hot cocoa.
Emma: Do you think I put my career over relationships.
So grab the latter, spiked if you like, and let's discuss it. Penny Proud is all grown up and in advertising.
Thirteen years since college and Emma was waiting for her big break to get promoted to partner at her ad firm.
You know how it goes; one huge account can be life-changing and set a person's career.
In this case, Emma needed to come up with the perfect pitch for a watch company, and watches and messages about time continued to pop up throughout the movie from that point forward.
As fate or luck would have it, a shiny pocket watch she had engraved for her first real love found it's way back into her life via the mysterious man with many names.
We found out about Fletcher Conroy. You knew he was the guy because of that most pretentious name.
It carried over into his trademark scarf he wore in damn near every scene.
Fletcher was a hotshot director, and the years since he and Emma parted ways, not so amicably; he became a bit of a celebrity in the theater world.
He was handsome, it's true, and he had a lovely daughter to give him extra points in the likable leading man category. Except, Fletcher was kind of an ass.
Career-oriented women who with the help of loved ones, a community, and a hot guy discovers she wants more in life than just a career is a staple for these movies.
It comes with the territory, but Fletch, bless his heart, didn't know how to be the guy encouraging Emma to enjoy all parts of life without coming across like a jerk.
He was carrying around 13 years of heartbreak, and he didn't hide it.
Emma: It's crazy how time flies by and things stay the same as if they were immortal.
Fletcher: Yeah, and some things disappear like they were never there.
Fletch was upset that Emma broke his heart by choosing her career over their relationship years ago.
We found out Emma broke up with him, but because of a lack of love, but because she loved him enough to want him to chase his dreams.
Too bad he resented her instead of extending the same courtesy.
He had an opportunity in London, and it was to do what he had dreamed about all of his life.
Emma had a job offer in Los Angeles she didn't want to miss. They both parted ways in Vermont to go in different directions.
She thought if she didn't break up with him he would give up his dream to follow her to LA.
Emma's thought process made sense, and so did her decision. She gave him a specially engraved watch that said she loved him.
Call a girl emotionally repressed, you wouldn't be the first to say it, but hell, Emma's actions were sensible to me.
Fletcher: Everything is about work for you, isn't it?
Emma: You know that's not true!
Didn't the watch say enough about her feelings? Did he need her to say the words on top of that to understand how she felt about him?
What happened to "actions speak louder than words" anyway?
Fletch spent most of the movie enamored by Emma but also making constant digs about her only being work-oriented. And yeah, Emma focused on her work and wasn't in a relationship, but she had gotten out of one a year ago.
Maybe Fletcher's bitchiness would have made more sense if Emma did come across like a woman lost in her work with no regard for everyone around her, but she wasn't that person at all.
She stopped everything with ease to help Lola and Fletcher with their play.
She put her work off often for the two of them, and she never a big stink about it.
She never came across like someone who couldn't grasp work-personal life balance.
She simply didn't have as much happening in her personal life at the time.
And her love life may have suffered because of how much she still felt for Fletcher, so that part was inevitable.
Every time Fletcher made a dig about Emma being too focused on work, usually, while she was with him and helping him at the expense of her work, it didn't ring true.
What we saw and what he said was different.
Fletcher: Why are you so afraid of your feelings?
Emma: Because you're in tune with yours?
And it seemed as though he was willing to pursue his career, but he wanted to hold it against her for choosing to pursue hers.
She didn't lack passion for her job. The ending showed that she didn't plan on giving it up.
It's something she loved doing, so she didn't need someone to show her the light and push her into her real passion for music and performing.
Fletcher also proves he is good at jumping to conclusions and assuming the worst.
He didn't even consider giving her the benefit of the doubt at first when she made the mixup with the script and flier.
Everything she showed him suggested she was prioritizing the Christmas play at the expense of her project.
As time winded down, it was a surprise she didn't consider using the ideas she came up with for the play for the Frost watch campaign in the first place. Fletcher's scarves were wound too tight, and he wasn't thinking logically.
Even if she had deliberately sent Eamonn the information, it was to Fletcher's benefit too. Good old Fletcher kept missing that. If he didn't have his mother, Lola, mystery man, and Thomas putting in the work, he would have lost his shot Emma again.
They were two disasters that failed to communicate properly.
It worked out for them, with some work.
They worked well together on the play.
Emma was talented at writing songs on the fly. She was great at designing graphics for the play. She could play instruments and sing.
Ok, the singing needed some work, but the fine-tuning made her final performance sound lovely.
She also looked beautiful filling in for Sara when lo and behold a freak snowstorm almost caused Fletcher to cancel the whole thing.
Fletcher's signature ambiguous ending became much happier when Fletcher and Emma improvised.
They confessed their love for one another in front of the whole town and Eamonn's half a million followers who live-streamed this small-town play.
It was cute. It would have been much cuter if Fletch was a likable male lead though.
He wasn't. Lola and Catherine made him more appealing than anything he did on his own.
The single dad and widow status made him sympathetic but only marginally.
And sadly, while the Christmas spirit was felt throughout the movie, the chemistry between Pratt and Ruttle wasn't.
Catherine: Life is messy, Fletcher, but that's the fun of it.
Catherine and Thomas had a love story that could have run parallel to Emma and Fletch and been more intriguing.
You had to love Thomas. He was a renaissance man.
He did some of everything, including Catherine probably. Did they ever become something more? The sparks were flying, dammit!
No Time Like Christmas had some classic staples and a cuteness factor. The time theme was heavy-handed but meaningful.
Lifetime dipped a toe into the Christmas well with this one. It served the purpose of scratching an itch, but who else is ready to dive in?
Go big and cheesy as hell or go home, right?
What did you guys think? Hit the comments below!
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Jasmine Blu is a senior staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.