To start life anew a few years following a personal tragedy, Gia Summers moves across the country to the lakeside town of Maple Plain to begin work in the town’s Parks and Recreation Department. She soon discovers that her boss, Don Hamilton, who is running for Mayor, is a “I’ll scratch your back if you scratch mine harder beforehand” kind of guy, and that her work, which includes park planning, is not evaluated solely on its merit but what Don can get out of the deal in return. She learns as much from the town’s firefighters, who she befriends, they who have been trying to convince Don to arrange for the transfer of the fire hall’s parking lot – city property – to the fire department so that they construct a gym, they currently using wherever they can find in the hall as a makeshift workout space. He has so far been unwilling to do so solely because Fire Chief Greg Reed refuses to endorse him for Mayor. Her friendship with the firefighters also influences Gia to make her latest park plan feature an inclusion playground to accommodate such children as firefighter “Big” Mo Wagner and his wife Karen Wagner’s six year old daughter, Julia Wagner, who is stricken with cerebral palsy and thus cannot access conventional playgrounds. With no guarantees that either will move forward regardless, Don informs Gia that she will need to fund-raise for even a possibility of the more expensive inclusion playground, she also helping the firefighters’ fund-raise concurrently for the gym. Through the process, Gia makes a connection mostly with who is her next door neighbor, widowed Jim Dunlap, single father to six year old Lizzy Dunlap. Tapped as the heir apparent to the Chief’s job, Jim is contemplating going in the opposite direction solely in how the danger of being a firefighter is affecting Lizzy, especially as another firefighter was recently killed on the job. Gia and Jim’s initial connection is their shared loved of outdoor grilling, Gia challenging five time Labor Day BBQ champion Jim to a grill off, which will be at this year’s competition, also marking the Chief’s retirement by when Jim has to make a decision about his professional future. But that friendship turns into more on both sides, for Gia which includes the entire package of Jim and Lizzy. What happens between these neighbors will be affected by the success and/or failure of both the gym and the playground projects. —HuggoA feel good movie. Very refreshing to see multiple non-stereotypical ethnicities represented (all in a positive light) including multi-racial relationships and the addition of special needs characters. It’s about time! Would have given the last star had multiple sizes been represented, however otherwise exceptionally relatable in today’s climate. Multiple talented cast members in both main and supportive roles; great to see big names of the likes of Devon Alexander and Christopher Russell – in the same movie first off(!) – but also portrayed in a positive, non-competitive ‘friendship’ role, instead of traditional antagonistic roles of males. And the female characters lift each other up instead of the petty drama characteristic of far too many Hallmark movies. Both main characters have depth apart and together, growing their friendship over time into something stronger. So much better! The associated ‘misunderstanding’ at the climax of all romance movies was surprisingly not drawn out with escalation of overinflated feelings, but instead talked out when confronted. Far more balanced and relatable than typical. Love that the dominant female was not a wedding planner or fashion designer. Thanks for thinking outside the box JPG 😉 And as much as I loved the Wedding Veil Trilogy and the camaraderie of big female names supporting each other in the same movies, this movie alone goes further and puts big names together in real-time, not mostly phone & zoom calls, which made the former seem far more choppy. Check it out and see for yourself! Nicely done.
Stars : Tegan Moss, Devon Alexander, Christopher Russell, Tegan Moss, Devon Alexander, Christopher Russell
Genre : Comedy, Romance
Country : Canada