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TV Movie Goodness Preview: Hallmark Channel’s Surprised By Love [VIDEO and PHOTOS]

Photo Credit: Eike Schroter/Crown Media United States LLC

Photo Credit: Eike Schroter/Crown Media United States LLC

[Warning: General spoilers ahead.]

Hallmark Channel’s first movie premiere of 2015, Surprised by Love, is a sweet and funny romantic comedy that boasts crackling chemistry from Hilarie Burton and Paul Campbell, who play old high school friends who find each other again about 15 years later and realize the bond they had then, before life got complicated, is still very much intact when all those grown-up complications fall away.

Photo Credit: Eike Schroter/Crown Media United States LLC

Photo Credit: Eike Schroter/Crown Media United States LLC

Photo Credit: Eike Schroter/Crown Media United States LLC

Photo Credit: Eike Schroter/Crown Media United States LLC

Photo Credit: Eike Schroter/Crown Media United States LLC

Photo Credit: Eike Schroter/Crown Media United States LLC

Photo Credit: Eike Schroter/Crown Media United States LLC

Photo Credit: Eike Schroter/Crown Media United States LLC

The story is simple. Josie (Burton) is an exec in her dad’s home goods empire, who unwittingly fell into the life path her dad charted for her. When she runs into Gridley (Campbell), her high school BFF and prom date, he reminds her of the carefree kid she once was. Her boyfriend, Richard (Gracepoint‘s Aaron Craven) asks Gridley to attend her parents’ anniversary party, assuming that after a weekend his carefree personality, they’ll finally see him as a suitable suitor. Instead, Josie’s weekend with Gridley–where everything that can go wrong does, with surprising repercussions–rekindles their bond to each other, which somehow drifted away after high school.

Burton and Campbell are great together, and they’re joined by Tim Conway, who plays Josie’s grandpa, Leanne Lapp (Signed, Sealed, Delivered for Christmas) as her sister, Mindy,  and familiar Hallmark faces Wanda Cannon and Malcolm Stewart as her parents.

Photo Credit: Eike Schroter/Crown Media United States LLC

Photo Credit: Eike Schroter/Crown Media United States LLC

Photo Credit: Eike Schroter/Crown Media United States LLC

Photo Credit: Eike Schroter/Crown Media United States LLC

Photo Credit: Eike Schroter/Crown Media United States LLC

Photo Credit: Eike Schroter/Crown Media United States LLC

Photo Credit: Eike Schroter/Crown Media United States LLC

Photo Credit: Eike Schroter/Crown Media United States LLC

Photo Credit: Eike Schroter/Crown Media United States LLC

Photo Credit: Eike Schroter/Crown Media United States LLC

It’s a really charming story about looking at the choices you made, or the path you went down, and having an opportunity later as an adult to choose what the rest of your path will be. The script, by Neal and Tippi Dobrofsky, neatly balances Josie and Gridley’s relationship with that of her parents, who began somewhere much different than where they ended up. I adored it. It’s a great way to ease back into your real life this week if you’re heading back to work or school on Monday after the holidays.

Surprised By Love premieres Saturday at 9/8c on Hallmark Channel and repeats throughout the month. Here’s a sneak peek. Click here for our exclusive interview with Paul Campbell.

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