The Murverse

Review: Christmas Wedding Baby

I have many complicated feelings about this.

What’s interesting is I just found out this was a Kickstarter movie. They raised $50k, shot a good movie, and got it on Netflix. Impressive.

This is not a romcom, although initial description says it may be. Three sisters reevaluate their lives when the youngest discovers her ex-boyfriend is her wedding photographer. But it’s more of a ro-dram. Dramcom? No, that doesn’t work. Ro-dram it is.

This will have to have lots of spoilers if I’m to go into the complexities of this movie. Sorry.

In short, I enjoyed it a lot. I cried when the oldest sister has the baby, I ached when the middle sister was taking her family for granted. I was outraged when I discovered how their mother had sabotaged their lives and loves. Even as I saw the flaws, I enjoyed it.

Two characters loomed large, but only had tiny roles: The mysterious fiance who only shows up at the wedding, and the mysterious father of Lori’s baby. Consider the other character who didn’t show up till the end was the music star that apparently stole a song from Zac, the stay-at-home dad/boyfriend of the middle sister – he was the only male that was constantly referenced, and someone apparently the whole family knew, I pretty much figured out that he was the father of Lori’s baby early on. She never told him that she was pregnant, and just told her family it was a one-night-stand. Considering how happy they are when they see each other at the wedding, that reason for subterfuge seems to be PLOT.

Also, Zac lost an engagement ring, and that was never resolved. You’d think he’d be more upset.

But it’s a good story and I liked it. So I’m forgiving.

The real problem I have is with tropes.

I admit I, once upon a time, didn’t appreciate the tropes in a lot of genre fiction. That romance has to have a Happily Ever After, specifically, is what I’m talking about here. “Romance readers will not appreciate a non-HEA,” fellow writers tell me. What’s the point of that if you know the ending?

When watching the movie, I was already composing my review, but then the very end came, and it hit me hard.

Drea is about to get married, but Charlotte (middle sister) is sitting with her co-worker whom she almost cheated with (Zac doesn’t know it was “almost”) so Zac runs up and punches the guy. The chaos puts a stop to the wedding, so as they are regrouping, Drea decides she can’t marry Mr. “I’m just here for the wedding”. Charlotte realizes Zac does love her, and she actually proposes to him. Drea won’t use this wedding, so Charlotte and Zac do. It’s very sweet. Then, of course, Lori goes into labor and the baby is coming now. Evil Cougar Mom steps up and delivers the baby. Drea gives her honeymoon tickets to Charlotte and Zac (despite this being a post-9-11 world and you can’t just hand someone your plane tickets. Also who has paper tickets anymore?) Everything is working out.

Then cute photographer boyfriend says OK, we can get together now, and Drea says she’s leaving to go back to NYC to finish her degree. He pushes, she says no. She’s walking away, and he runs after her. One more try to win her.

This is the Scene, the boombox above the head scene. SHe laughs, hugs him, says, “You haven’t changed.” Beat. “But I have.”

Walks away.

End credits.

And Mur feeling like she has been kicked in the stomach. Admittedly, not as much as the broken hearted boyfriend, but still. Where was my happy ever after? Yes, Charlotte and Zac are married, and it looks like Lori and mystery rock star baby daddy will make the family thing work, but the main person we’ve thought of as the protagonist leaves, alone.

It’s a strong move. It’s a feminist move. But narratively it bugged the shit out of me. This was a romance, right?

Then the questions began. Was I disappointed because I was expecting a HEA because it was a romance? Was I expecting the HEA because the story had led itself to point to one? What led me to believe she would take him back? Because if a woman leaves a man

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