Monday, December 05, 2022

Tonight's Movie: Mingle All the Way (2018)

I was drawn to watch MINGLE ALL THE WAY (2018), a Hallmark Channel Christmas film from a few years ago, by the two top-billed actresses, Jen Lilley and Lindsay Wagner.

I've reviewed Lilley in a few other Hallmark films, which are linked at the end of this post, and I've loved Wagner since her days as THE BIONIC WOMAN (1976-78) and a star of classic TV-movies.

Lilley plays Molly, who with a partner (Casey Manderson) has created a new kind of networking app; named Mingle All the Way, the app is for busy professionals who would like to have a "plus one" to accompany them to social events without mixing in romance.

A potential investor (Rebecca Staab) wants Molly to personally test out the app during the Christmas season, and Molly is matched with Jeff (Brant Daugherty), an advertising executive.

Although they had previously had an unfortunate chance meeting in person, Molly and Jeff end up hitting it off, and Jeff is a particular help as Molly deals with the expectations of her prickly mother (Wagner).

No one will be surprised that romance soon seems in the offing for Molly and Jeff...although things could become complicated by the fact that Molly has not disclosed to Jeff that she's the woman behind the app that matched them.

Other than the referenced relationship complication -- I never like plots where a lot would be easily solved if characters communicated -- I quite enjoyed this film. It moves fast and the lead actors have nice chemistry, making their transition from annoyance to affection believable.

This is a different type of part for Wagner, whose most memorable characters of the past had a great deal of warmth and vulnerability. Chilly Veronica is not a supportive mother, and she also doesn't have a good feel for social cues, creating awkward moments.

However, like Molly and Jeff's characters, the script gradually transitions Veronica so that we see her reactions in a new light. The fact that her character possesses the ability to act as she does in her early scenes remains a bit alarming, but by movie's end we've come to like her.

I also particularly enjoyed Manderson as Molly's fun business partner, who provides her with the support she doesn't receive from her intimidating mother.

MINGLE ALL THE WAY was directed by Allan Harmon. It was filmed by Chris Kempinski in Vancouver, British Columbia.

MINGLE ALL THE WAY is available in a three-film DVD collection just released by Hallmark in November 2022.

Previous reviews of Jen Lilley Hallmark films: HARVEST LOVE (2017), USS CHRISTMAS (2020), and SNOWKISSED (2021).


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