Window Wonderland (2013)

  • Year: 2013
  • Released: 23 Nov 2013
  • Country: United States, Canada
  • Adwords: 3 nominations
  • IMDb:
  • Rotten Tomatoes:
  • Metacritics:
  • Available in: 720p, 1080p,
  • Language: English
  • MPA Rating: TV-G
  • Genre: Comedy, Drama, Romance
  • Runtime: 86 min
  • Writer: Tippi Dobrofsky, Neal H. Dobrofsky
  • Director: Michael M. Scott
  • Cast: Chyler Leigh, Paul Campbell, Naomi Judd
  • Keywords: holiday, romantic comedy, family holiday, christmas,
50% – Critics
false% – Audience

Window Wonderland Storyline

It’s no holds barred when two Manhattan department store employees vie for the same job during the busy Christmas season. Sloan Van Doren is a driven young woman determined to become the next window dresser at McGuire’s department store and to uphold a 95-year-old artistic holiday tradition. Serious and professional, she’s the polar opposite of the happy-go-lucky Jake Dooley, who also wants the job. When Mr. Fitch, the head of advertising and promotion, gives them a challenge, the competition is on: each will create a series of seasonal storefront windows twice a week until Christmas. The creator of whichever window display gets the most attention from passersby will get the job. As they go through their paces, with Jake’s obvious talent grabbing the public’s attention, a silent but mutual attraction develops between the pair, hampered by the contest and the presence of Kenneth, Sloan’s blueblood boyfriend, who can’t understand the importance Sloan is placing on this job. Supporting the efforts of the window dressers are McGuire’s veteran window washer Mac (Terence Kelly) and brassy bathroom attendant Rita who have eyes for each other but haven’t done anything about it yet. Love is in the air at McGuire’s, but things aren’t exactly what they seem. Who will win in this love triangle?—Anonymous

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Window Wonderland Movie Reviews

A good Christmas story

This is a story about a young woman struggling with insecurity. At one point, referring to what they do as window dressers, she says “We create perfect images for people to admire”, but her deeper meaning is about her own facade. Chyler Leigh plays this part so well. Early in the movie she is sitting in a restaurant with her successful boyfriend and I looked at her and thought – “she looks like a little girl with this man way out of her league”. Not that Kenneth, not Kenny, is a catch.

Meanwhile, Jake Dooley’s façade over his insecurity is his witty, but insincere response to almost everything. This is not a new character for Paul Campbell, but you can’t argue with how well he does it.

Leigh and Campbell’s chemistry progresses brilliantly from disgust into what you’d expect for the leads in the movie. And there is plenty of wit between both of them. Campbell is a go-to for Hallmark movies, but Leigh more than holds her own with him.

The story is not another typical Christmas romance. We think we know where it is going, but things go a little differently and the ending is a surprise.

One of Hallmark’s best yet

I’m a sucker for a good Hallmark TV movie, especially romantic comedies and even more especially ones that take place at Christmas. I’ve seen quite a lot of them over the last few years and, while there are some standouts, most tend to be of the “watch once and forget about it” variety. I’m happy to say this one is one of the standouts. As a matter of fact, I might go so far as to say it’s the best movie I’ve seen from Hallmark yet. The story is a very simple one — a woman and a man are both competing for a promotion as a department store’s window decorator. He’s an aspiring artist who’s struggling to make ends meet in the big city and she’s driven and ambitious to the point that she’s lying about her background and pretending her bathroom attendant mom is a stranger. As they work alongside each other they grow closer and eventually…well, you know where it’s going. But knowing that doesn’t lessen the journey.

It’s not perfect, of course. As always, Hallmark finds a way to bring wealth and status into things even when it’s not necessary. I think someone should do a study on how often this occurs in Hallmark movies. It seems pretty common, particularly in the seasonal romcoms. There always has to be at least one rich guy. Sometimes he’s a knight in shining armor and sometimes he’s a villain. Anyway I have no quibbles with how it figures into this movie’s plot but it did strike me as one of those familiar elements you see in virtually every Hallmark movie. Another slight negative is that the window decorations that are such a big part of the plot are just terribly unimpressive. I can’t imagine any major department store in New York City allowing those cheap and lazy designs. Also a painting we’re told is a great work of art is strictly amateur hour.

Those are minor issues in the grand scheme of things. They likely won’t stand out to the average viewer who hasn’t seen a ton of these movies. The strengths of this one far outweigh the weaknesses. The leads, Chyler Leigh and Paul Campbell, are absolutely perfect with an amazing chemistry that makes them easy to root for. It helps that the movie never pushes too hard for them to get together. We all know from the very beginning it will happen but the movie lets it play out naturally and without a lot of manufactured drama or angst. The tone of the whole movie is light and pleasant, which is another major plus. Naomi Judd is adorable in her supporting role as Leigh’s mother. She steals every scene she’s in. The biggest plus for Window Wonderland is the script, which is so much better than you usually get with these things. The characters are likable and three-dimensional, not just wooden clichés. The dialogue is really good. I love the playful banter between the lead characters. It’s just such a good effort from Hallmark. Funny and touching with some great characters and a story that, while mostly predictable, is extremely satisfying.

Some Variations

This looks to start out as a standard Hallmark romantic comedy, where she is a brittle and uptight urban girl and he is a relaxed and casually brilliant guy. However, it quickly becomes apparent that they are both facades, come-ons to get people to buy the merchandise they offer, just like the windows they decorate in this good Hallmark Christmas romcom.

The essential plot points are all in place: the woman who has been decorating the store’s windows for twenty years has left, taking her senior staff with her, leaving only Chyler Leigh and Paul Campbell to battle for the top spot.

It’s a well-assembled romantic comedy that mostly works, even with Vancouver standing in for Manhattan and a mall standing in for what is, judging from the facade shown in the establishing shots, Bloomingdale’s. While I have some issues with the flat, grey light that much of this movie is shot in and the usual overwhelming music, in sum total this is a good Hallmark TV movie.