When Emily’s grandmother passes away, she quits her job as a lawyer and returns home to run her fledgling bakery. Emily (Laura Bell Bundy) quickly learns that keeping the bakery going is likely to be an uphill battle, especially when esteemed French pastry chef Gerard (Brendon Zub) opens a competing bakery across the street (this town isn’t big enough for the both of us!).
Not to worry though: Emily’s got a pretty decent distraction going on. Some anonymous suitor dropped off a Christmas calendar to her bakery, and each day she’s drumming up business by opening up a little door to find a hand-written love note inside. The town’s women are swooning over them, the town’s men are laying bets, the town newspaper is following the story, but nobody knows who sent it. And don’t go assuming you know either, just because the secret admirer and the sexy French baker arrived in town on the same day. Purely coincidence. And the townspeople agree because every time they discuss potential admirers, a whole bunch of walk-on characters are mentioned but Gerard is constantly, conveniently left off the list. And Emily’s not going to jump the gun and find out too soon – this little mystery is good for business.
The leads are not charmless but you’ll notice that ‘Brendon Zub’ is not exactly French sounding and, well, neither is his accent – but it does manage to come off as unintentionally sinister. For a movie about competing bakers, there is a curious absence of food porn. None of the bakers ever bake. They do, however, handle the food barehanded and sell stuff that’s fallen on the floor. But perhaps it’s the editing that is most baffling. One moment the two bakers are feuding, the next they’re feeding each other truffles. Even considering the typical phony will they-won’t they of a Hallmark Christmas movies, this film feels like it’s missing a very important 15 minutes from the middle. Or maybe it’s the script, which sounds like it was written by someone raised in a locked closet. But no, let’s be real: the worst part is definitely that accent.
To cleanse your Christmas palate, here is my niece Ella, a 4 year old in pre-kindergarten, and her cousin Jack, 5 (nearly 6, he would want me to tell you), a kindergartener, both in the same class at school, singing you a little song – in French 😉