Bottled With Love

Grade: B-

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Bethany Joy Lenz – Abbey Lawrence

Andrew Walker – Nick Everson

We are in Boston. Abbey and her Aunt Francis are going to a wedding at the Boston Harbor Rowing Club.

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Aunt Francis says, “I can’t believe you brought work to a wedding,” and Abbey answers, “I want to be prepared.” 

 

Huh? What kind of job requires you to “be prepared” at a wedding?  Is she planning on pulling her laptop out as the bride walks down the aisle? Does she work for POTUS?

I don’t get it.

 

Abbey needs to stay outside and wait for her boyfriend, Scott, so she grabs the attention of an usher and proceeds to give him overly precise directions regarding seating her Aunt. 

 

ABBEY: There are going to be three of us, so please get my Aunt seated somewhere on an aisle, and 4-6 rows from the front, and not behind anyone with a big hat!

 

Side Note: Geez, I could understand this over-solicitousness if her Aunt Francis was in her 90’s and decrepit, but obviously she is not so what gives?

 

“And you better f***ing not sit me in the back!"

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One minute later, Scott breaks up with Abbey via text. Apparently, he really needs to be with someone who will “let him in” - sort of like the Door Dash guy.

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Side Note: Wow, this was a pretty pathetic break up line, compounded by the fact that he did it by text, compounded by the fact that he also stood her up. However, it could have been worse, he could have said:

 

“I’m so sorry but our time together has just become more effort than your worth.”

or

“I’m sorry but if it’s meant to be it’s meant to be…but just to be clear, it isn’t.”

or

“Is it hot in here, or is this relationship suffocating me?”

 

Or my personal favorite,

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Here she is later while everyone else is dancing. If it was me there'd be a helluva lot more glasses of booze on that table.

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Aunt Francis, who to be clear has been dancing up a storm out on the dance floor, comes over to comfort her, “Well, it’s his loss!” she exclaims emphatically. Aunt Francis seems like a real firecracker who definitely does not require help finding her own seat at a wedding.

 

However, Abbey blames herself for the breakup, “I’m the common denominator in all my breakups! I’m the one that's too cold, and closed off, and judgmental, and critical.”

 

Side Note: Does this mean all her ex-boyfriends broke up with her and insulted her at the same time? 'Cause that's PTSD harsh.

 

Aunt Francis says, “Well I think you should do what your father always did when he was feeling discouraged. He’d write himself pep talk letters listing all the things he liked about himself – you know, things he knew the right person would appreciate about him when he fell in love.”

 

Side Note: Okay, I’m going to call bulls*** on this one, because no way dudes do this.

 

Then Aunt Francis tells her to write a letter to her “love” about her dreams, and who she is, and who she wants, and put it in a bottle (she grabs a bottle off the table), and then she tells Abbey to throw it out into the harbor. 

 

Of course, she does it since this movie is called Message in a Bottle or something like that

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Here’s what she writes…it’s so terrible I included comments.

 

Dear Love (Ugh.)

Do you ever feel unknown? Like everyone has labelled you and filed you away without giving you a chance to grow? (Question: if you've been "labelled and filed" then isn’t that the definition of “known?”) I feel so much, but I’ve never known how to show it. I’m loyal and trustworthy (Are you a beagle?), I have a deep conscience, I stole a pack of gum once in the second grade and I couldn’t sleep for a week! (Is this literally the only example of your "deep conscience" you can come up with? No adult examples...seriously?) I’m a good listener, I’m great at my job, and I love pancakes! (Great! If you're applying for a job at IHOP then you're hired!) But mostly, I want something real. I have the depth to walk through a real-life struggle and come out on the other side, and I am looking for someone like that too. Flawed but open, impossible to label and file away. I think we all deserve that don’t we? I am willing to take the risk, come find me! (Hmmm…maybe. I’m not sold yet.)

 

However, even though this letter was painful to hear, I’m going to cut Abbey some slack since she’s probably pretty drunk at the moment.

 

Then she rolls up the letter, puts it in a bottle and...Throw! Splash!

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The next day we watch Abbey walking into work at Everson Valley Farms. As she is grabbing coffee, her co-worker/friend says, “Guess what? Everson’s is going public! Now is your chance to impress Mr. Everson and get that big promotion!”

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3 months later:

Abbey is in Mr. Everson’s office showing him possible companies to acquire, when Sophie walks in.

Mr. Everson tells Sophie, “I am giving Abbey the job of adding another moneymaker to our portfolio before we go public.” And Sophie replies, “Fine, but you are under strict orders from your doctor to cut your schedule in half.”

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Sophie is apologetic, “I'm sorry Abbey, I know it would be helpful to have Dad in those meetings, but he can’t do it. I would go with you instead, but between my projects and planning my wedding, I'm slammed!” Abbey assures her everything will be fine and leaves.

 

Now Sophie and her Dad start discussing her brother Nick. Apparently, he worked in the family business for 2 years, did a terrific job, and then disappeared to go work on a salmon boat in Alaska saying he couldn’t work in an office anymore – it just wasn’t him.

 

Sophie says, “Dad you can’t exactly fault Nick. He makes his own money and he has never once asked you for a single thing!”

 

Side Note: FYI this information from Sophie is important, because now we know that Nick is not a fringe loser who can't hack mainstream life. Instead, he now becomes an unconventional and fiercely independent character.

Got it.  

 

However, since Dad and Sophie still want him close at hand, (why????) they hatch a plan to get him back to the office.

 

In the next scene we find out that Nick is living in a trailer in the woods and we see him finding Abbey’s bottle on the side of a river. He picks it up and puts it in his knapsack. Does he not see the note inside? Because no way would someone find a message in a bottle and not immediately read it. Hello!  Tom Hanks might be stranded on a desert island right now! 

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Shortly after this he receives a call from his sister. She asks him to come help out their Dad since she's busy with the wedding. She sells it by adding that it will only be for a little while and it will give him a chance to get to know his new brother-in-law better before the wedding date.

He agrees, but VERY begrudgingly.

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As he walks out of the trailer, the bottle with the message drops into his luggage, (which he should see when he finishes packing, no?).

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Nick gets back to his apartment in the city and opens his closet to a sea of charcoal grey suits and white shirts and says, “Here we go again.” Hmmm, I wonder where the blue shirt is that he is wearing in the very next scene? Oh well, he must have run out and bought it right after this, I guess.

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The next day, we see Abbey and Mr. Everson waiting for Nick who is late for their morning meeting.

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Also, who greets their dad with a handshake? Is this a thing?

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Nick meets Abbey. Notice how his tie is loose and the top button of his shirt is not closed. He is so free spirited that his neck needs to be free too.

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Nick insults her horrible homemade ceramic mug, so they do not get off on the right foot.

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Abbey finds out that Nick will be helping her with the acquisition. She is not pleased.

She asks him, “So what company did you come from?”

He answers, “I was in Brazil, Alaska, and Peru, tuna trolling.”

Abbey’s sarcastic response, “Oh, yes that should be very helpful.”

 

Dad tells Nick, “Abbey is our top analyst in acquisitions. She has incredible taste, she’s laser-focused and I think you can learn a lot from her. I think this is really going to work.”

Are you high old man?

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I hear you. The job sucks. Do it.

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That night we see Abbey in her kitchen with her Aunt Francis and she is super pissed.

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Grr!

 Pfft!

Blech!

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Abbey complains that Nick will not take this seriously and he will slow her down, but since she a promotion coming up she will have to find a way to make it work. 

 

Then she says to her Aunt, “I am going to set the tone right away.” And proceeds to send Nick a very annoying email ordering him to “Please read ALL files,” (of which she attaches a ridiculous amount), and stating “if we are to work together, I expect you to be fully prepared and up to speed.” 

Abbey is a terrible team player. 

 

Next, we are in Nick’s apartment where he and his sister are in the kitchen eating some highly congealed cheese pizza.

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Nick tells Sophie that he thinks Abbey is controlling and a nitpicker. Although he is basing these impressions on their one short encounter, (which is lame), since she soon after patronizes him via email… I’m going to agree with Nick on this one.

 

He finds the magic bottle which he should have seen laying on top of his clothes when he was packing but didn’t.

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He reads the letter and we get to hear it again with some additions. Evidently, she also wrote, “I do a mean impersonation of a trumpet.” 

  

My goodness, Abbey has very few talents.

 

Also, we watch him reading this letter as he stands in his room, does the dishes, and has a beer. FYI it’s a one-page letter. Is he a slow reader or is he obsessively re-reading it, because neither option makes Nick look good.

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Then we find out she put her email address “mlbeantown@yahoo.com” on the letter so now Nick knows the writer lives in Boston. Did she actually want some stranger to contact her after reading it? This is not what Aunt Francis said to do at all. Abbey must have been drunker than I thought.

 

Abbey receives an email from @reeltraveler (Nick) about her message in a bottle and, even though she purposefully included her contact information, she loses her s***.

 

OMG! OMG! I gave someone my contact info and they used it!

We need to move.

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Also, this actress really likes to use her arms spastically in her acting. Maybe she used to be a mime.

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Here’s Nick’s message:

Dear @mlbeantown – I am writing to tell you that I found your message in a bottle. You poured your heart into this letter and I wanted you to know that your thoughts and sentiments are safe with me. If you’re interested in exchanging a bottle for the far more conventional method of an online chat I am here and intrigued.

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However, that night Abbey must have had a change of heart regarding her personal safety because she writes him back:

 

"Dear @reeltraveler, Thank you for letting me know that my letter is safe. I'm a bit embarrassed since it was written during a weak moment at a wedding."

 

They start to chat back and forth on the computer and then he asks, "Have you found someone yet?"

 

And she just slams the computer shut…oh dear, what a socially awkward response.

 

The following day she tells her co-worker (whose name we still do not know) that @reeltraveler is probably a 90 year-old ex-convict from Poughkeepsie. 

 

Side Note: Excuse me, but what’s wrong with Poughkeepsie? I lived there for 2 years in the 80’s and they have some awesome diners. I think the scriptwriters should apologize to all the Hallmark fans that live there.

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Next, she and Nick are walking into an acquisition meeting with an ice cream company. Abbey is explaining the company's background and stats, but Nick is not really paying attention since he's reading a text from @mlbeantown.

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She asks him, “Did you read the files I sent you?” and Nick answers, “Enough of them.” 

Abbey throws him a look that says, “You're worthless,” and then tells him, “Just follow my lead.”

 

Side Note: Okay, I am starting to get why she has guys breaking up with her by text. Who can stand talking to her? 

Ugh. Why is she alive?

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Nick and Abbey have completely opposite methods of evaluating the company. He wants to get to know the employees and try the product. Abbey doesn’t think this is important. She says what matters is past sales, projected sales, overhead etc. In the end she gets fed up with his ideas and says, “Why don’t you assist the company the way you want to, and I will assist them the right way.” Then she gives him a big fake smile and walks away.

What a b****.

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Back at the office, the two disagree about buying the company in front of Mr. Everson and he tells them to get on the same page fast.

Abbey tells her Mystery Co-worker Friend that her days are really hard now because she is working with someone who is exhausting.

 

Side Note: Yeah, Abbey I’m sure being a nitpicking pain in the a** is a real calorie burner for you.

 

Then she announces, it’s time to “nip this in the bud.” I have no idea what she means by this, but once again she sends Nick a million files to read overnight. Hey, Sunshine, since Nick will probably be your boss in the future, why are you treating him like some annoying douche bag? 

Abbey has the strategic foresight of a fruit fly.

 

Side Note: To be clear, since I don’t really understand Abbey’s hostility towards Nick I have absolutely no sympathy for her at this point. What is she upset about? That she has to work with another human being? That he insulted her pottery skills? Seriously, what’s her problem?

 

Anyway, she and @reeltraveler (Nick) continue to email back and forth. Through these emails we learn things about Nick like: He can knit, loves dogs, and has lived in Patagonia.

We learn things about Abbey as well, like: one time she went to Paris for a week and.....

that’s about it.

 

Later Nick complains to her, as @reeltraveler, about her which is pretty interesting. Her answer via email throws the work situation back on him. She basically says, “Forget your annoying co-worker, you are there to do a job – are you giving it your all?”

Nick takes this advice to heart and decides to buckle down for the next acquisition meeting. They meet with a company called Harbor Coffeeworks and boy is Nick prepared! Everything is going great and the deal looks like it is going to happen until Nick insults the owner’s wife’s choice in sweaters. 

 

Yeah, that came out of nowhere. Nick sees the photo below on the owner’s cell phone and mentions an “ugly sweater contest.” The owner is insulted, and the deal is over.

 

 This is just stupid script writing.

 

          BTW old people can wear what they want.

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This is failure number 2 and Dad drops the hammer on Nick, “Maybe my expectations were too high.” Ouch!

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Abbey witnesses all this so maybe we will see some decent human interaction from her now for a change?

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Finally, Abbey and Nick start to have real conversations and work together. Here they are in the lobby talking about their next move.

 

Incidentally, who wears boots and white socks 

to an executive level job?

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For some reason they go to a dog adoption event in the middle of everything. Skip.

 

They decide to go after a “big fish company” called Wilmore Estates. Wilmore Estates is a cider producer and inn with huge possibilities for expansion, however the owner is known for being unwilling to sell. It’s the ultimate get. 

 

Apparently, going after this one company necessitates that they cancel all their meetings with other potential companies. Umm…okay.

 

So Abbey writes “cancel” on her stationary with the list of all these appointments, folds it twice, and gives it to Nick to make the calls. Obviously, as this is the same stationary that was used for the note in the bottle, this will figure into the storyline. Not as obvious is why she is giving Nick secretarial jobs to do, or why she would fold the paper up before giving it to him.

You pass notes in high school, not in a workplace.

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Abby tries to make an appointment with George Willmore. Nope.

Meanwhile, @reeltraveler emails @mlbeantown and asks to meet so the s*** is gettin’ real!

 

Abbey tells her Aunt Francis about the invitation to meet @reeltraveler while she is sitting criss-cross applesauce on her kitchen counter with her shoes on. Dear scriptwriters – this is not quirky; this is strange and unsanitary.

 Hmmm…he wants to meet.

Okay…I’m gonna say yes!

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 Then Abbey has a complete breakdown...mime-style.

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The Date: 7pm at Luigi’s Restaurant. Abbey will be the one wearing the little white gloves.

 

Here they both are leaving for the date with each other.

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Nick catches sight of her white gloves as she is going out the door WTF???

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On her way out, Abbey calls Nick from the lobby and says, I just want to make sure you have the list I gave you because all the meetings have to be cancelled tonight, (again, why is she giving Nick assistant work?) 

Then Abbey says, “Just give the list to Sophie, she’ll do it.” 

 

WHAT! Since when are you ordering around the boss’s daughter who is obviously YOUR boss?  And why should she be making phone calls for you after hours? What universe is this?

Oh right…Hallmark Universe….never mind.

 

Anyway, that’s how the scriptwriters get Nick to open up the stationary at that moment, put 2 and 2 together, and figure out that @mlbeantown is actually Abbey. He is still on the phone with her when he goes into full-on stroke mode.

 

Nick: Abbey it’s you!

Abbey: Yeah, it’s me.

Nick: It’s you!

Abbey: Yes, it’s me...Abbey.

Nick: The handwriting! It’s the same! ABBBBBEEEEYYYY!!!!!

Sophie walks up behind Nick right in the middle of his freak out, and he starts babbling at her. Abbey is @mlbeantown! She’s waiting to meet me right now! I need a minute to process all this!

 

Then, at that moment, he gets this text from Abbey, "I’m here. Waiting."

 

Consensus from the Viewing Group: This is a rather pissy text to send someone, since the subtext is – why am I having to wait for you? A normal text would be, I’m here. Where are you? or Are you close? with the expected response of, Stuck in traffic, Be there in 5, or Looking for parking. Would any of us want to date someone who sends texts like this before we’ve even met them? No...we would not.
 

Poor Nick – he looks like he’s going to cry.

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Nick doesn’t know what to do so he replies, “I’m so sorry, something came up and I can’t make it – my sincerest apologies.”

Abbey’s response is to block him from her email. 

 

Side Note: Now I absolutely agree with all her ex-boyfriends. This chick is hyper-judgmental and critical. So what if @reeltraveler explained himself and apologized. So what if he may have had to take his mom to the hospital, or his dog to the vet, or help a friend stranded in a bad part of town. He didn’t meet her when he said he would, and she put on a nice dress. F*** him.

 

The next day Nick brings her coffee and a doughnut with some sprinkles, which is actually kind of cute in its pathetic-ness.  He excuses this gesture by saying she has been holed up all morning and he just wants to make sure she is okay – she says she is okay, but she doesn’t look okay.

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She tells Nick she cannot get a meeting with George Wilmore – she can’t even get past the front office. She apologizes for getting his hopes up but says they should give up on that and just go for a smaller company because something is better than nothing.

 

Nick says okay, but then goes into his office and starts to search George Wilmore…

 

Nick interrupts Abbey’s meal that night to tell her got a meeting with Wilmore. He put some feelers out and was put in touch with someone who works for him named, Dierdre. Pack your bags Abbey, because we are meeting her at 10am tomorrow and then we are meeting him! Abbey is not optimistic but acquiesces to the plan. 

 

That night, Mystery Friend convinces her to unblock @reeltraveler and she reads, “I feel terrible to have hurt you. Just know it’s not that I didn’t want to see you it’s just -- I’m still working it out.”  

 

Huh? Excuse is inadequate.

 

This next bit is pretty interesting. Evidently, Aunt Francis found out Nick was taking Abbey out of town for the meeting. So, unbeknownst to Abbey, she uses her spare key to enter Abbey’s house after Abbey is sleeping to be there in the morning to “meet” him.

 

Abbey: Aunt Francis! What are you doing here?

Aunt Francis: You gave me a key last Christmas.

Abbey: But why did you sleep over? That key is for emergencies.

Aunt Francis:  This is an emergency! I need to see the guy who is taking my niece on a road trip!

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FYI, Abbey is 36 years old. We need to talk about boundaries Aunt Francis.

 

On the way, Nick makes them stop at a diner. He will not tell Abbey why and he orders food for her so she doesn’t know what she is getting. She is completely confused until…OMG it’s the biggest plate of pancakes she has ever seen! Hallelujah! Abbey loses her s***.

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The road trip continues, and they arrive at the Wilmore Inn where they are checked in by a receptionist named Dierdre, Abbey is immediately suspicious. 

 

Abbey: There is no meeting with Wilmore is there?

Nick: No, we have a meeting with him – he just doesn’t know it yet.

 

Then he gives her fishing clothes and they go looking for Wilmore at his favorite fishing spot. They pretend to be a couple where the husband is teaching the wife to fish so that they can get to know him well enough to ask for a meeting.

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Abbey throws her first line in the water and catches a fish immediately, however I found the fact that they were struggling to pass off an obviously dead fish as one that was alive and kicking to be more interesting.

Here is Nick releasing the (dead) fish back into the water.

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They fake an argument and George makes them a deal. If they will give him one hour of fishing in peace and quiet, he will give them a personal tour of the cidery and farm. He also ends up inviting them the cidery’s 30th birthday celebration that night. 

 

Back at the hotel, Abbey and Nick meet to get their pitch together and start to open up to each other about their lives.

 

Nick tells Abbey that the Wilmore farm reminds him of his grandfather’s farm, (which is what Everson Valley used to be), that he used to work at in the summers. That was the farm he fell in love with.

 

Abbey opens up to him about @reeltraveler and her disappointment. Nick responds by giving her a meaningful look and saying that maybe it is time to give someone else a chance. Abbey has to wrap her head around this statement since basically Nick just declared that he is interested in her.

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At the Wilshire Estates 30th celebration party two weird things happen:

 

  1. Abbey actually asks Nick to dance and he completely ignores this request because Wilmore is standing alone and it’s a good moment to approach him. Why does the script have her do this? Because it’s just odd and awkward.

  2. Also, why does Nick ask Abbey to approach Wilmore? Haven’t we already established that he is the people person and she is not? Whatever…send in the robot.

 

Abbey comes clean with Wilmore about who they work for and why they are there, and he is fine with it. He has actually been thinking about selling the company and traveling the world so maybe this was meant to be. He will meet with them tomorrow to discuss a possible acquisition. They are in!

Abbey finally gets a dance. Or whatever this is.

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After the party there is lots of movement on the intimacy front. This is how Nick says goodnight for one thing. Yeah, co-workers don’t do this.

 Suggestive arm position

Is this a "peck on the cheek" because half her mouth is missing. You're call.

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After this moment Nick backs off and says, “I should get back to my room,” which is odd because that's usually the girl’s line. Then they send each other goodnight texts and Abbey falls back on the bed in happiness.

 

The next morning the meeting does not turn out well. Apparently, Wilmore is not comfortable with a corporate entity taking over the estate. Nick and Abbey leave his office defeated.

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Nick says, “I guess we go back to corporate.” and Abbey replies, “You don’t belong in corporate you belong in a place like this.”

 

Eureka! New Idea! They re-approach Wilmore with a new plan. Nick will be the one to run the company and Wilmore will train him to do it. This will make Nick happy because he will be out of an office environment and Wilmore happy because it is more personal and less corporate feeling. Wilmore agrees!

 

They celebrate and Nick decides this is a good time to come clean about the fact that he is @reeltraveler. 

It is not.

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I think we can all agree by now that Abbey is not one to take things in stride, she is not good with change, and her first thoughts will always be about herself. 

 

So she remembers he called her an “annoying co-worker” and tells Nick she will find her own way home.

 

Back in Boston she tells Mystery Friend that she feels like she got played.

 

We also get a scene between Nick and his dad where Dad says Nick doesn’t suck. Dad says a lot of other yadda, yadda, yadda, but since Nick just brought home the bacon none of this means very much. Hey, it’s never too late for a basic parenting class old man.

 

Nick goes to the Wilmore Estate to be trained and Abbey gets promoted to Vice President, so they don’t see each other until Sophie’s wedding.

 

Here is Abbey and her Mystery Friend arriving at the wedding together.
 

“Eyes down Abbey, if we can’t see Nick he can’t see us.”

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Then during the reception Abbey gets a little note that says “Follow the candlelit path” at the end of which is a bottle with a message inside.

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Nick apologizes in the letter and writes all the things he loves about her. Then he shows up in person and reiterates everything one more time. Here is one line from this part which is plenty believe me. 

 

“You opened your heart when you sent that message in a bottle and you opened mine too.”

 

I think you get the gist.

Anyway, then he shows her his new dog and they kiss it out. TA DA!

Looks like her Mystery Friend will need to Uber home.

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Pros:

  • Her dresses were super cute

  • The storyline a la “You’ve Got Mail” was interesting

  • Her physical acting is fun to watch

 

Cons: 

  • The letters were really sappy

  • I like Nick way better than Abbey

  • Now I want pancakes

 

THE END

Credits: All photos, unless otherwise indicated, have come from the Hallmark Movie “Bottled With Love” which can be viewed on the Hallmark Channel

Vector Art: <a target="_blank" href="https://www.vecteezy.com">Vector Graphics by www.Vecteezy.com</a>