Married By Christmas (original title) (2016) Movie Review

Also known as The Engagement Clause

By: Jenna Zine (Three Beers) –

Carrie Tate (Jes Macallan) is the top executive at her family’s massive grocery distribution outlet, Emerson Foods. She has no problem being single, as her focus is solely (and happily) on her life’s work. However, things change when her parents reveal that her grandmother put an antiquated clause in her will stating that whomever marries first gains control of the company. With her sister’s wedding right around the corner, can Carrie beat her to the altar?

A Toast

Carrie Tate is a powerful working woman who simply does not have time for love, because deciding where groceries end up is an all-consuming passion. (Sounds like someone needs a new vibrator!) Meanwhile, her sister, Katie (April Bowlby), is a sucker for Cupid – so much so that moments into the film, she is announcing her engagement to her boyfriend, Ethan. (Adam Senn of The City fame, who dated both Madonna and Lindsay Lohan. Researching this project has been a goldmine – I could write an entire post just about Adam’s dating life.) It turns out Ethan has a prospering organic farm and is diametrically opposed to big chain grocery stores. Fight, fight, fight! (Ethan says, “We’re harvesting Brussels sprouts right now. It’s a blast.”)

Katie and Ethan announce their engagement while the family is gathered for Thanksgiving dinner, and reveal that they will wed on Christmas Eve. Like, who in the hell does that? I would slap a bitch if they squandered my favorite holiday for their nuptials. There are 365 days to choose from and you’ve got to claim Christmas? Roll your shit back.

Surprise – your Christmas gift is our wedding! [Photo Credit]

Beer Two

The family is thrilled, but bad news is afoot, for the sister’s parents must sit down and reveal some distressing information. It turns out Grandpa Emerson left the company to Grandma Emerson (their mother’s parents, hence Emerson/Tate) – and before grandma died she created an ironclad provision: whichever granddaughter marries first gains control of the family fortune and will have the run of Emerson Foods. But wait – there’s more! While whomever marries first gains the company, the ownership of said business will actually be put in the name of her husband. Carrie & Katie’s mother, Elizabeth (Lee Garlington), weakly explains, “Grandma had strong feelings about gender roles.” Oh, did she now?! What in the fuck is wrong with you, Grandma Emerson? Have you ever heard of women’s rights? I’m about to dig you up and slap you myself.

Compounding the problem is Ethan, who perks up at the thought of getting to own the lucrative company. Spoiler alert: his allegiance to Brussels sprouts is apparently not as pure as we thought!

What in the actual fuck? [Photo Credit]

Beer Three

What ensues is the proverbial “comedy of errors,” as Carrie scrambles to find a mate. She’s a modern gal – unlike her bitch of a grandmother – so she naturally explores internet dating on (the fictional) (Coincidentally, the domain is currently for sale and can be yours for a mere $2,295. Pocket change!) Her delightful assistant, Zelda (Lauren Pritchard), helps with the ridiculous scheme, tartly challenging her boss with, “So… your plan is a corporate marriage takeover?” Zing! But she does help Carrie create a wall of dudes to choose from, and soon a montage of hilarious failed dates is taking place.









Wall of Dudes! Hipster or European is my new drinking game! [Photo Credit]

Not surprisingly, the online dating spree doesn’t work out. (Does it ever?!) However, she doesn’t have a lot of time, so she goes full retread and tries to reunite with an old flame, high school boyfriend, Paul Taylor (Ryan Caltagirone). The only problem? Paul is gay. And everyone knows Paul is gay, except for Carrie, who blindly tries to push ahead with her ill-advised agenda. Girl, his square peg is never gonna fit in your round hole!

Meanwhile, chicanery is afoot at Emerson Foods! Something about a small winery that Carrie wants to absorb (now we’re talking!); however, said winery is wary of joining the corporate world, and winery decides to get all legal with it. Enter smooth talking lawyer (and Jeremy Piven doppelganger), Dylan Courtney (Coby Ryan McLaughlin)! Carrie and Dylan immediately dislike each other – and you know what that means. Those two are gonna fuck like rabbits – as soon as they can get over that little speedbump called “hate.” But does that mean Carrie gets married before the arbitrary Christmas deadline? You’ll just have to tune in to find out!

Does she make it down the aisle? More importantly, does Ari bring his Entourage? [Photo Credit]


Yep, it’s another Hallmark holiday movie. And yes, you can practically see the plot points from space. But Married By Christmas is delightful – mainly due in large part to the sparkly presence of actress Jes Macallan. (Yes, the same Jes from the now defunct guilty pleasure Mistresses. Man, did that show go off the rails or what? Why couldn’t they let Harry and Joss stay in the bone zone? Why did they have to turn Joss/Jes into an MMA fighter? Ah, but I digress.)

Jes’s onscreen charisma is bolstered by a fun, not-too-sappy-by-Hallmark-standards script, courtesy of Alison Spuck McNeeley and Casie Tabanou. Who are they? I have no idea – but a little digging revealed that they also co-wrote something called Deadly Detention and now I want them to be my new best friends. This is a lot of fun for what it is, and is worth the few dollars to stream it. Very merry!

Married By Christmas (original title) (2016) Drinking Game

Take a Drink: every time Carrie’s righteous anger about the ridiculous circumstances her grandmother set forth rises to the surface.

Take a Drink: every time Ethan and Dylan (who happen to be best friends – surprise!) wear plaid. Seriously, I know it’s the holiday season, but… all plaid everything?

Take a Drink: every time Carrie goes on a failed date.

Take a Drink: every time Ethan acts like a dick.

Do a Shot: for Katie’s janky-ass Ross Dress For Less wedding.

Do a Shot: for missed opportunities to play with the title of the film. They include: Married by Christmas – literally getting married by Christmas. Where is Santa when you need him? Also Merried by Christmas – get in the holiday spirit by December 25th … or else!

About Jenna Zine

Jenna Zine is a writer, unashamed Bachelor franchise live-tweeter (@JennaZine1), lapsed drummer, and occasional standup comic. She's probably somewhere complaining about her bangs right now. Find more at

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