Katherine, a high-powered executive who believes men are intimidated by her career, is persuaded by her friend to create an internet dating profile claiming she is an executive assistant. Meanwhile, Jack, a male nurse, creates his own internet dating profile without realizing his best friend has secretly changed his profession to be a doctor. They are matched and find themselves falling in love, but hiding their true identities proves far trickier than expected when Katherine’s ornery and controlling father ends up in the hospital under Jack’s care.
At the heart of the misunderstanding that permeates the entire story is Ryan as Dr. Cooper. With his signature look and style, he fits the part quite well, even though the viewers only see him momentarily. While I have seen him in nothing else, I doubt I’ll forget him in this role.
As unforgettable, unattached singles, it is a delight to see Jordana as Angel and Nicole as Brooke. Neither girl is new to acting, and again, their scene is noteworthy and fraught with entertaining comedic timing. I had not seen Nicole in anything else, but Jordana has been seen in a variety roles, and Hallmark Channel fans may remember her from A Bride for Christmas. Both capably play these shallow females that are more concerned with wealth and prestige from dating prospects rather than a down-to-earth guy who helps others for a living (even if what he does is unusual). While neither gets an opportunity to display their acting chops, viewers will not soon forget these beautiful, vivacious, pretentious ladies.
When I looked at this young actor, I was certain I would find a small list of credits attached to his name, but was I ever wrong! Dylan has been acting since he was six, and the credits go on and on. While I haven’t seen him prior to this, he is again a significant part of the action, principally because of his interactions with Paul Greene’s character (whom I will discuss in a moment). He plays the teenager who tries to act tough, but is frankly scared for his life. I hope to see networks give Dylan more substantial parts in the future because I believe we have only scratched the surface in this role, and since Dylan is maturing, it boggles the mind to attempt to fathom the new heights this young man could reach in his acting career as the years go on.
Where to start with BJ–she has been involved in so many works, and I recognized her the moment I saw her on the screen. Most recently, she was featured in The Christmas Note, but I would invite you to check out her resume. As Mildred, she suits the role impeccably. She has such a warm and winning smile that illuminates the screen, but don’t get Mildred mad for BJ will lend her steely gaze to this “tough as nails” nurse. Indeed, another triumphant performance for her, and here’s to many more works with outstanding roles for her to portray as she is truly a living treasure.
Another consummate casting choice–Antonio plays one “mean” spoiled brat in the character of Charles. In keeping with the Hallmark brand, Antonio plays the sleazy, almost-fiance of Erika’s character, and to look at him is to hate him–that is, hate the character. Sure, Antonio lends his handsome face and physique to this guy, but we know he’s the wrong guy for our lovely heroine. Antonio is no stranger to the Hallmark channel and other networks, and chances are that you will have seen him in at least one of his varied roles (maybe you remember him in Hats Off to Christmas or Love at the Thanksgiving Day Parade). Antonio’s character has to pull a few shady deals out of his proverbial hat, but he’s got this character down. I hope we get to see him in a role where he wins the affections of the leading lady again, but he certainly has displayed his acting prowess and versatility in this role. I don’t even know if the viewers will “love to hate him” since he’s pretty despicable.
As the sidekick of the leading man, Patrick certainly livens things up in his role as Reggie. You might remember him from Color of Rain, but his list of credits is rather lengthy, so it would behoove the viewer to check him out. In this film, Reggie is mischievous and typically acts without considering the consequences. In many ways, Patrick has made his character so engaging and nutty that I found my eyes focusing on him even though Paul is such a handsome guy who often demands my full attention. Patrick has made Reggie such an entertaining character with his wild, assorted facial expressions and zany gesticulations not to mention clever, witty lines, that viewers will definitely remember him. Personally, I would love to see him play a goofy leading guy because all too often, Hallmark’s leading men are sober and low-key. Imagine Patrick in the lead–that would spice things up. Don’t ever doubt that Patrick has the skill to handle any role. I am convinced he plays serious roles well too, but I must admit it’s a treat to see him in an offbeat role like this.
For the record, Ali kind of steals the show in her role as Debbie, Katherine’s best friend and co-worker. Having seen her in The Unauthorized Full House Story and Ring By Spring, this is my favorite role for her so far. Ali is one of those actresses who will not be overlooked, and her counterpart, Patrick’s character, is a perfect match for her. Although nothing is certain, there is no doubt these two belong together, and I think Hallmark could make a hilarious sequel to this featuring these two. As Debbie, she is the typical blonde stereotype who is dating several men at once, and spontaneity is her chosen way of life. She is fiercely devoted to the happiness of her friend, Katherine, and she has no trouble with bending the truth to provide ultimate fulfillment for her. Ali has fully immersed herself in such a profound and engrossing way that I found myself looking at her instead of Erika’s character because she just brought that necessary element of carefree winsomeness and frivolity that I feel the viewers will appreciate in the extreme. I adore Ali’s interpretation of her character, and I hope that she takes the lead in a Hallmark film soon as her natural effervescence saturates every scene in which she appears. She and Patrick truly made this a lighthearted comedy, and I applaud them both for causing the viewers to notice their characters in such an unpretentious way.
Hallmark is being so kind to us Cedar Cove fans. Tom Butler graces the screen again as the father of the leading lady. As Edward, he is unimpeachable, and he infuses everything into this role that a single father should. He had to raise his daughter since his wife died, and he longs for his daughter to be happy but also cared for. His own mortality is staring him in the face, and he wants to ensure a successful future for the little girl who has grown into a woman who is self-sufficient but still needs someone to lean upon. And Edward believes Charles is the right one for his girl, but as the story goes on, his own prejudices are faced, and in the end, he couldn’t more pleased for his Katherine. Tom just seems to be a favorite Hallmark father whether kind, but stubborn like this film and Love in Paradise, or whether austere but charming, like Warren’s father in Cedar Cove. He can play down home or wealthy with the same commanding performance we have come to expect from his caliber of acting. Long may the networks adore Tom, for this “Cover” does not tire of seeing him.
Of course, the unquestioned stars of this film are the “accidentally” deceitful Jack and Katherine portrayed exquisitely by Paul and Erika (who are no strangers to the Hallmark brand). We last saw Paul in A Christmas Detour (I absolutely fell in love with his charm as a result of that film), and Erika was last seen in the fan favorite My Boyfriend’s Dogs. As with all Hallmark films like this, it is imperative that there be chemistry between the two that is believable, sweet, and hopefully tinged with a bit of well-placed humor. And in this couple’s case, there is no doubt that viewers will enjoy the unfortunate events that occur between them–just enough to remind us what is genuinely important in life and comical enough to give us a good chuckle now and then.
Right from the beginning, these two click in spite of the fact that what appears to be a mild subterfuge keeps them from revealing exactly who and what they are. Jack has nothing but trouble due to his chosen profession (nurse), and Katherine is always under her father’s thumb (albeit sometimes unwillingly). Both are tired of searching for true love, but it is thanks to their best friends and co-workers that a simple falsehood is told to an online dating service. Harmless, right? The antics that follow are so much fun to savor on the screen–everything from bowling ball injuries to mistaken identity and so much more.
Throughout all their adventures together, the viewers never doubt how they feel about each other, and we know they are meant to be together. Paul and Erika have an easy way of relating to each other, and thankfully we know that the physical intimacy will never be inappropriate nor cause anyone in the household to have to shield their eyes nor look away. They maintain the sweet, innocent, and fun-loving chemistry for which Hallmark is famous. And yet we never doubt the fervent and unspoiled passion they share as they have mastered the appearance of affection through facial expressions and body language, not to mention the ideal way in which they deliver their cleverly-written lines.
I mean, is there any doubt? Talk about a sweet kiss–I love that about Hallmark.
And regardless, they never fail to demonstrate the absolute joy of being in love and celebrating their time together. I cherish this about Hallmark. It is a great reminder that being in love is immeasurably more than jumping in bed together or spending a night “making out” on the couch.
There still are true ladies and real gentlemen in this world.
And a smile…
…and a look can say so much.
I don’t think Katherine’s dad needs to worry about having found a protector for his daughter. No doubt, Jack is up to the task.
Jumping head first into the role of Katherine, Erika immediately convinces the viewer that no one else could play this role with the beauty, grace, and capability that Erika does. She is a workaholic who never seems to find the time for dating and love, and furthermore, she’s had it with men who just don’t seem to get over the fact that she is a wealthy executive who controls an entire company with veritable skill. Men tend to be scared off, and the man her father wants her to have is just not right for her, but she doesn’t have the heart to tell him that.
In fact, truth be told, she doesn’t have the heart to tell either her father or Charles. She merely hopes that she can keep Charles at arm’s length and continue with her career. Maybe she’ll eventually feel something for this man who appears to have so much in common with her, at least on the surface. But she is merely placating him and her dad.
We sympathize with Katherine’s plight, but we know that it will not end well for her. Interestingly enough, although the viewers cannot necessarily agree with her outright deception, I think we tend to understand where she is coming from. Everyone wants to be loved for who they are, and sometimes strong women like Katherine are the very thing that so intimidate men that they tend to stay away. Erika is able to cause the viewers to want a happy ending for Katherine, and we are even willing to forgive her error. Erika demonstrates that Katherine has a trusting heart that only wants to genuinely love someone and be loved the same way in return. I think we are even hoping that when the truth is told, it will make no difference to the relationship that has been brewing between her and Jack.
But, of course, in true Hallmark fashion, the situation does not go as planned. Truth must be unveiled, and how can she trust a man who lied to her (even though she is guilty of the same transgression)? Viewers are devastated right along with Katherine when everything goes south, but we know this is Hallmark, and a happy ending is ensured, right? We cannot censure her too much because all of us have told a lie or two in our day, but we are all expectant that in the end, the truth will set Katherine free. Even if in the end, she has to make a bit of an idiot of herself (isn’t that what all people in love do at some point anyway?).
As for Jack, I admire the fact that Hallmark has challenged the stereotypes yet again and given him a profession that is not seen as “sexy” nor “masculine.” After all, a male nurse seems so unusual, and no man would choose that profession, right? Of course, Jack wants to be a doctor eventually, right? But, no, Jack finds intense fulfillment in his job and genuinely connects with his patients. And Paul is able to insert himself in this role in such a way that he comes across as being sensitive, comfortable, and confident in who he is–except when he is around other women who just don’t agree with his choice of professions. That is when he decides that he has had enough of this dating game. Until his friend steps in and tells a little white lie about him.
Because Paul adds his customary charm and wit to his role in his signature way, it is easy to be on his character’s side. After all, he didn’t mean to lie about his occupation. But he also decides that he won’t set the score straight until later. After all, Katherine seems to be truly falling for him, but once her father enters the picture, things get even more complicated. Then Charles puts in his two cents, and there is no doubt that the entire situation is escalating out of control. But no matter what, we know that Jack and Katherine are intended to be together, and it appears that Jack wants to set things right.
Because Erika and Paul add so much warmth and congeniality to their respective characters, it’s hard to know whose character deserves our support. Both are equally at fault, and in the end, we only want them together.
What I value about the story is it not only shows a tender love story on this most romantic day of the year, but it teaches a moral lesson as well. Honesty is always the best policy no matter what–especially when it comes to relationships. Don’t ever apologize for who you are because those who genuinely care for you won’t care that you are in an unusual profession nor in a unique position of influence. Find that person who will love you for who you are, and suddenly all will be right with the world. And there is no doubt that both Erika and Paul portray these characters with sincere humanity, pragmatic comprehension, and luscious wholesomeness. Certainly a feast for the eyes and heart.
Be sure to catch Anything for Love on February 14 on the Hallmark Channel.
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