Previews / TV Movie Goodness

Dater’s Handbook Preview

Photo Credit: Liane Hentscher/Crown Media United States, LLC

Photo Credit: Liane Hentscher/Crown Media United States, LLC

[Warning: General spoilers ahead.]

Meghan Markle returns to Hallmark Channel Saturday night for her second film (following 2014’s When Sparks Fly) in Dater’s Handbook, a romantic comedy about Cassie, a successful marketing exec who realizes her love life has been a series of repeated (and doomed) missteps. At the urging of her sister, she casts the latest, future-less boyfriend aside and hands her dating life off to a series of steps outlined in a bestelling self-help book about relationships.

As it happens, this coincides with the simultaneous meet-cute with Robert (Kristoffer Polaha) at a wedding when they are the only adults at the kids’ table and the sudden romantic interest of one her clients, George (Jonathan Scarfe). In a fun little bit of reverse casting, Polaha’s Robert is the easygoing free spirit and Scarfe’s George is the button-downed, staid alternative. While it’s obvious to everyone at home, and Cassie’s mom (Republic of Doyle‘s Lynda Boyd, who’s been in regular rotation on Hallmark lately–yay!), who’s the best man for both Cassie’s head and heart, it takes her a little while to catch up.

Photo Credit: Liane Hentscher/Crown Media United States, LLC

Photo Credit: Liane Hentscher/Crown Media United States, LLC

Photo Credit: Liane Hentscher/Crown Media United States, LLC

Photo Credit: Liane Hentscher/Crown Media United States, LLC

Photo Credit: Liane Hentscher/Crown Media United States, LLC

Photo Credit: Liane Hentscher/Crown Media United States, LLC

That meandering journey means we have to watch her test and deceive both suitors, which is a little uncomfortable to watch because they’re both genuinely good guys. She finally realizes that who they are is secondary in importance to who she is when she’s with each of them.

I love Markle (who continues to kill it on Suits) and I’m a sucker for Polaha (I need Backstrom on DVD immediately) and Scarfe, so I really enjoyed the film. I’m happy to see Polaha pulled into the Hallmark family (more of this, please). And this is Scarfe’s third film in five months for Hallmark Channel (after Love on the Air and Angel of Christmas, which is excellent news because we found out earlier this month that Ties That Bind will not be back for a second season. Booo!

Photo Credit: Liane Hentscher/Crown Media United States, LLC

Photo Credit: Liane Hentscher/Crown Media United States, LLC

Photo Credit: Liane Hentscher/Crown Media United States, LLC

Photo Credit: Liane Hentscher/Crown Media United States, LLC

Photo Credit: Liane Hentscher/Crown Media United States, LLC

Photo Credit: Liane Hentscher/Crown Media United States, LLC

Photo Credit: Liane Hentscher/Crown Media United States, LLC

Photo Credit: Liane Hentscher/Crown Media United States, LLC

Photo Credit: Liane Hentscher/Crown Media United States, LLC

Photo Credit: Liane Hentscher/Crown Media United States, LLC

When Calls the Heart‘s Christine Chatelain plays Cassie’s sister, Nadia and Gracepoint‘s Adam Greydon Reid is her husband, Michael–bonus points for Cassie’s family being full fleshed out! Rogue‘s Brittney Wilson plays Dana, Cassie’s assistant, who reveals something about her marriage that registers with Cassie, and Cedar Cove‘s Teryl Rothery is the self-help guru who turns Cassie’s life upside down. James Head, who’s directed a ton of Canadian TV and Hallmark’s Once Upon a Christmas this past holiday season, directs a script by Jennifer Barrow and Rich Tabach in their Hallmark Channel debut (loving that trend of a new crop of writers, too).

Another fun thing, if you’re eagle-eyed, is the use of some of the same Vancouver-area interior and exterior locations from the Aurora Teagarden films. And REO Speedwagon is featured on the soundtrack! Regardless of Dean Winchester’s feelings on that, I love them.

Dater’s Handbook airs Saturday at 9/8c on Hallmark Channel.  Here’s a sneak peek.

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