Unleashing Mr. Darcy

Grade - C

Screen Shot 2021-03-06 at 3.00.48 PM.png

Ryan Paevey - Donovan Darcy

Cindy Busby - Elizabeth Bennet

Disclaimer: FYI we could not reach a consensus as a group on the grade for this movie. My daughter, Annelise, wanted to give it a "D" for its stilted and downright weird dialogue. And I totally agree - half the time the words coming out of these characters mouths were either super rude or incomprehensible. However, because this was a moderization of Pride and Prejudice, we gave it a higher grade for basically being ANY retelling of that story.

Seriously, Jane Austen is gone forever so I'll take what I can get. 

But still...you may want to keep the vodka in arm's reach. 

The movie starts out with Elizabeth teaching a class at a prestigious high school. Notice the student "Joe" who looks hella bored.

Screen Shot 2021-03-18 at 11.49.50 AM.pn

Lizzie dismisses class but tells Joe to hang back. He tells her he has to get to lacrosse practice but she says, "We talked about this. You need a passing grade in order to stay on the team."

Screen Shot 2021-03-18 at 10.17.46 AM.pn

Weirdly, Joe's dad - in a full three piece suit and holding a lacrosse stick, arrives as Joe is leaving class and he leans onto the door frame like he owns the place. What is he doing there? Does he walk his son to practice everyday after school? Joe can find his way right?

Screen Shot 2021-04-07 at 9.28.52 AM.png

Joe's Dad (full name Grant Markham) approaches Elizabeth. "Joe seems to have this idea that you threatened to ban him from the lacrosse team?"

Elizabeth looks surprised, "Actually, I offered him extra help so he won't get suspended from the team, since school rules say that a student needs a passing grade in order to play sports."

Markham pulls out his wallet and says with a sigh, "How much do you want?" which makes Elizabeth sputter with outrage, "You can't be serious? THE GRADES AT THIS SCHOOL ARE NOT FOR SALE!"

Screen Shot 2021-03-19 at 8.11.32 PM.png

Sidenote: So in this scene Marham opens up his wallet and pulls out a few bills. He's a wealthy guy so let's assume they're all hundreds. If so, what is his offer going to be to change Joe's grade? 500 bucks?

Now I'm not a corrupt person, but if I was... Marham's going to need to pull at least 4 more wallets out of his pants.

After Elizabeth refuses his inadequate bribe, the threats start.

"Do I need to remind you that my wife sits on the board of this school?" 

"And I am sure she would like the students to get the education they have paid for. Especially her own son!"

Then Marham leans in and whispers menacingly, "You seem to be confused how things work here. You're going to learn. I promise you" and he leaves.

End scene.

Here she is later at her Mom's Bridal Shop with her show dog, Bliss, telling her Mom and sister all about evil Grant Marham.

Screen Shot 2021-03-21 at 3.42.27 PM.png

Mom finds out that Markham is a successful lobbyist for Wall Street. She does this by searching the internet for "prominent businessmen in Washington DC" and BOOM an article on Grant Markham appears.

 

Props to Elizabeth's Mom for her mad Google skills. I tried the same search and got 4,550,000 results.

Screen Shot 2021-03-20 at 5.21.43 PM.png

Lizzie gets called back to her bosses office and is told that Grant Markham has accused her of approaching him offering to change Joe's grade in return for payment. Furthermore, she is suspended pending the Board's investigation of the complaint. 

Oh dear! What a terrible situation for a peon.

Be that as it may, her 30th birthday rolls around and, since she's not working right now, she decides to spend it by entering her King Cavalier Spaniel, Bliss, into a dog show. Her sister, Jane accompanies her. Jane knows nothing about dog shows.

Screen Shot 2021-03-21 at 8.55.17 PM.png

Before the show starts two important things happen. One, she runs into Gabrielle, a dog trainer who is an old friend of the family. She is showing one of her two terriers in the show.

Screen Shot 2021-04-07 at 9.04.59 PM.png

And two, Elizabeth finds out there is a new judge at the competition, Donovan Darcy. Gee, I wonder if he'll be handsome but cold and aloof with wild uncontrollable passions boiling beneath the surface? Cause if not, I'm going to be super p*ssed.

This is Donovan Darcy. Gabriel tells Lizzie that he is also a multi-millionaire philanthropist who owns his own foundation.

Why he is judging this dog show I have no idea.

Screen Shot 2021-04-07 at 9.36.37 PM.png

Side Note: FYI I looked up what it takes to become a dog show judge and, according to the American Kennel Club, it is NOT that easy. It requires 12 years of experience breeding the type of dog you want to judge, you have to have bred at least 5 litters of puppies, have produced at least 4 champions, and taken multiple licensing exams to even apply. 

Given this information, I think it's highly unlikely that Donovan, a thirty-something multi-millionaire, spent the past 12 years breeding dogs. Continuing this line of reasoning, I therefore sadly have to conclude that he became a judge using rich boy backdoor means.

 

How disappointing.

And so I hope we have all learned the valuable lesson of why you should never fact check a Hallmark movie. Hey, if their own scriptwriters don't care, then why should we?

Screen Shot 2021-04-13 at 5.03.36 PM.png

Now back to more things that don't make sense like...

When Elizabeth first sets eyes on Donovan in the ring, she stares at him like she's under some sort of love spell until Gabrielle snaps her out of it. Alas, this instant attraction apparently fades, since seconds later she outright insult the man, "Look how he is talking to those people" she says in disgust, "He looks arrogant."

 

Side Note: Does he though? Since directly after this statement we get a shot of Donovan speaking politely to one of the contestants, I fail to see why he looks "arrogant." 

This is a real shame...Elizabeth's initial reaction to Donovan, which should be a highlight moment in any hurriedly written Hallmark script, now simply serves to make her look snarky.

We get our first real interaction between the two Leads when Elizabeth (Contestant Number 8) runs in late to the ring. Well, first she actually trips and falls into Donovan in the ring, but I don't want to discuss that ridiculousness because I am super sick of female Leads falling into the arms of their future husbands. My philosophy is, if you wouldn't see Wonder Women doing it - don't put it in your movie.

Hmmm...maybe I'll just watch Wonder Woman.

Donovan looks highly annoyed that she's late and tells her so, "You're late." he grits out, "Is there something preventing you from entering the ring or do I have to have an invitation engraved for you?"

Okay, now he's kind of an *sshole.

Number 8 is late!

I am so cheesed off right now! 

And WHERE IS my diet soda?!

Screen Shot 2021-04-14 at 4.45.47 PM.png

Sooo...if it's all right with you... I'm just going to assume your stupid.

Screen Shot 2021-04-14 at 4.46.10 PM.png

Look, I get it. I'm a VIP so you want my attention. But being late and tripping into me is just sad.

Tell you what...you run and get me a Diet Coke, and I'll forget who you are.

Screen Shot 2021-04-14 at 4.46.28 PM.png
Screen Shot 2021-04-17 at 8.17.28 AM.png

At this point we should all be thinking "Poor Elizabeth!" right? Well...maybe not so much. Check out Lizzie's expression below when she, (a very novice dog show competitor), finds out she didn't get the first place ribbon in one of her first dog shows. 

Seriously, an adult does not look like this when they lose.

A four year old child, however, does. 

Screen Shot 2021-04-18 at 1.35.32 PM.png

Since dog show day is also Elizabeth's 30th birthday. She, her Mom, Jane, and Gabrielle go out to dinner afterward to celebrate. Of course, Donovan shows up with his little sister Zara in tow, and then we get to watch the scriptwriters try and clean up the mess they left us with in the last scene.

Donovan: Number 8!

Elizabeth: Actually, it's Elizabeth Scott. 

Donovan: I see birthday wishes are in order. (grinning) Allow me to introduce my sister Zara.

Zara: You're not going to talk all day are you Donovan? (she swats him and then turns to Elizabeth and Jane), It's like he's the king and I'm the tiny little minion.

Elizabeth: (snottily) I'm sure that's exactly what he's like. 

Oh dear me, it seems Elizabeth is just as rude as Darcy, and now there's just more mess to deal with. Can someone please help the writers sweep up this turd of a movie?

Side Note 2: Okay, let me break this down for you Hallmark, if this is truly a P&P pastiche, then what we want is a sassy, self-confident Lizzie, not some peevish sourpuss who seems upset in literally every scene she's in. If I had wanted to watch strident women moping through their daily dramas, I would have just said "The Bachelor" into my remote.

Next, Elizabeth finds out that she has been fired from her position at the school since the Board decided to believe Grant Markham's lies about her, and boy - does she hate Rich People now!

 

Since she needs to work, Elizabeth accepts a job offer from Gabrielle as trainer to her show terriers and flys out to New York to live with her in her high end Brownstone. So in summation, Elizabeth is getting paid to live rent free in a beautiful house doing what she usually only has time to do on the weekends.

This is like someone paying me enough to stay home and write Hallmarkshmallmark movie reviews all day long to my heart's content, (hint, hint).

The point is, while I am sympathetic to her being laid off, I am not all that sympathetic. 

At this point we come to one of the most awkward scenes in the entire movie. Elizabeth has just arrived at Gabrielle's townhouse and is collecting her luggage from the taxi when she looks up to see...Donovan Darcy out walking his King Cavalier Spaniel!

Screen Shot 2021-04-18 at 5.31.35 PM.png

Donovan: Miss Scott! What a surprise!

Elizabeth: YOU! (disgusted expression). What are you doing here?

Donovan: You act as if I'm invading your territory when actually your invading mine. This is my street.

Elizabeth: I thought you lived in an estate somewhere (waves her hand vaguely in the air) not here.

Donovan: Well, my official address is in Connecticut where I grew up, but when I am in the city I stay here.

Elizabeth: Oh! I bet you have vacation homes all over - probably in Hawaii and Europe? Do you ever get confused where you are when you wake up?

Donovan: Are you always this hostile?

Side Note: Yes.

Screen Shot 2021-04-18 at 5.56.09 PM.png

After her initial bad attitude, Elizabeth realizes that they both own King Cavalier Spaniels, and she calms down enough to hold a civil conversation. However, be warned - I am not counting this as evidence of self-control on Lizzie's part since she shouldn't have lost her sh*t in the first place, and furthermore I'm sure that the calming power of doggy cuteness played a role.

(It's a fact. Look it up.)

 

They chit chat about unimportant matters that I have long since forgotten (your welcome) and part ways.

 

Later, Donovan sends his little sister Zara to invite Elizabeth and Gabrielle over to meet his new litter of puppies since a phone call or text invitation is apparently too difficult. While she is there, Zara lets slip that her brother described Elizabeth as the "one with no manners."

 

Side Note: Gee thanks scriptwriters, for a second there I almost forgot that everyone in this movie checked their social graces at the door. (including apparently Zara as well).

 

My high point in this scene, however, was when Zara opened Gabrielle's refrigerator without asking permission and helped herself to an apple on her way out. Seriously, the chick didn't even see fit to stay and eat it there with Gabrielle - she just walks out the door with it. Does she do this at every house on her street? Because this is taking the buffet concept to a whole new level.

Side Note: We took a poll of the viewing group and everyone agreed that walking into someone's home and taking food without asking suggests a very high level of familiarity. Like familial familiarity. Even at my own elderly parents house, although I may open the fridge to see if they have any food in there that's so old it might kill them, I certainly will not take anything without asking first (and not just because I want to live). 

The next day Lizzie and Gabrielle cross the street to see the puppies at the appointed time. Oh dear! The butler informes them that Donovan had an unexpected meeting and can't be there! Bummer!

 

Oh well, at least they'll get to play with puppies...but hold on!...they also get to meet famous people!

Screen Shot 2021-04-20 at 8.44.27 PM.png

Just Kidding - they also meet Donovan's aunt, Violet Darcy, and Felicity Robson, a Single Young Woman of Marriageable Age and friend of the family.

Uh oh, better watch out Elizabeth...Felicity is competition! (But not really...we've all read P&P so we know she's just a speed bump in the Road of Love!)

 

Elizabeth walks over with her hand outstretched in greeting to Aunt Violet, but Violet ignores it completely. Felicity, in true Barbie fashion, simply looks vacant.

 

Elizabeth: It's so nice to meet you.

Violet Darcy: Is it? Should I call our butler back to fetch you a lint brush?

Side Note: Okay, so normally after a response like Violet's I'd be thinking, "What a colossal b*itch!", but honestly, at this point, she just fits right in.

Violet continues to rough them both up with her deliciously bitchy remarks throughout the visit and it is super fun to watch her. Frances Fisher, the actress who plays Violet Darcy, does an excellent job whispering her snide remarks in such a way that the recipient needs to stay perfectly quiet and listen intently just to hear their own put down. How evil is that!

Screen Shot 2021-04-21 at 3.54.19 PM.png

After this we get a short scene where Elizabeth is walking up to the Brownstone, having just taken Bliss for an evening walk. She glances across the street at Darcy's house and who should drive up but Donovan, his best friend Henry, and Felicity (Henry's sister) coming home from some formal event. Oh no! Darcy looks over and sees her and her dog! She's been caught walking on a public street! What a disaster!

Now obviously, if she wasn't interested in Donovan, she wouldn't really care that he just arrived or what he looks at. However in this case, she has a spasm and jumps behind a lamppost to hide from him.

Darcy sees her and yells something polite across the street, "Number 8! Pleasant evening for a walk, no?"

Unsurprisingly, Elizabeth does not respond. That is, unless you can call scowling at him in disgust a response. My goodness, how can Darcy not be attracted to this woman?

Hey it's only "stalking" if your caught, right?

Screen Shot 2021-04-21 at 6.20.31 PM.png

Awwww...so pretty!

Screen Shot 2021-05-01 at 2.47.45 PM.png

The next day the doorbell rings at the Brownston and it's Jenna! Hi Jenna! Let's go to a dog show!

Hey the gang's all here at the dog show! (And by "gang" I mean the gang we're not a part of!)

TEAM FANCY PANTS

Screen Shot 2021-04-23 at 11.06.27 AM.pn

TEAM SORTA POOR

Screen Shot 2021-04-23 at 11.07.18 AM.pn

During this dog show, Elizabeth further increases my dislike of her character when, after staring obsessively at the Richee Riches across the room for awhile, she blurts out, "That Felicity sticks to Donovan like glue!"

Meeeeoooow, kitty is angry.

Side Note: First of all, I don't think angry cats have any place at a dog show. Secondly, this blurting on her part has got to go. I have no desire to be privy to the voice inside Elizabeth's head since I'm pretty sure it may need a therapist.

Unfortunately for Elizabeth, Violet is behind her at that moment and overhears her snarky remark.  

"Felicity is here at my invitation." Violet tells her in smooth yet brutal tones, "Not that my nephew or their guests are any of your concern." Then Violet gives her a big, fat fake smile. 

I just love that old witch.

Screen Shot 2021-04-23 at 3.50.33 PM.png

Zara makes her way over to where Lizzie is sitting to ask for help with her homework. She tried asking Felicity to help her earlier, but unfortunately she was asking Robot Barbie and not Teacher Barbie - so not super successful.

Also, while Zara is talking to Lizzie she freely dishes on the intel of the Darcy household. She tells her that Aunt Violet made up some excuse for Darcy to have to go into the Foundation on the day that Lizzie and  Gabrielle came by to visit the puppies. Zara maintains Violet "knows everything" and she "has a spy in the household."

Of course we all know that's absurd - evil witches don't need spies because they have crystal balls.

Interesting Point Here: As Zara is whispering secrets about Aunt Violet, she puts her hand up to shield her face. However, as we have already established that Aunt Violet is sitting across the room from Team Sorta Poor, why Zara puts up her right hand to whisper is anyone's guess. 

The script hasn't mentioned that Zara is blind, but if she is I apologize.

Screen Shot 2021-04-24 at 9.54.15 AM.png

Next Item: Henry (Darcy's best friend) asks Jenna out. He basically sees her across the room, walks over to introduce himself, asks her out, and she immediately says yes, no chit chat required.

So basically Hallmark just cut the P&P Jane/Bingley love story (here Jenna and Henry) to about 6 seconds on camera, which is a shame since the actor who plays Henry is super likeable.

 

BTW does anyone else wish he had been cast as Darcy? No? Just me? Oh...well...okay.

Anyway, I would have liked to have seen this storyline given more screen time, but I guess it's better than Tinder.

Screen Shot 2021-04-24 at 10.48.40 AM.pn

Lastly, Gabrielle and Lizzie win Winner and Reserve Winner for their terriers. You'd think Elizabeth could enjoy a split second of happiness in this movie as she wins but, nope...just after she gets her ribbon she happens to see Felicity hug Donovan and her smile melts right back into her signature sulky face.

Screen Shot 2021-05-01 at 2.54.14 PM.png

After the show, Team Sorta Poor is out celebrating their win in a park with glasses of champagne and Jenna takes this moment to deliver a letter to Lizzie. Oh me oh my! Once again Lizzie's moment of happiness is snatched away. It seems Grant Markam (GM), evidently not satisfied that Lizzie was fired from her job, has served her notice that he intends to sue her for fraudulent accusations against him! Poor little First Place Sourpuss. (yawn.)

Side Note: I have to say I found this detail a bit hard to swallow. Why would GM, an apparently busy Washington lobbyist, take the time to sue an insignificant teacher whom he already got fired?

Lizzie does not take this news well and she goes for an upset walk in the park. Donovan runs into her in the middle of her freak out and therefore gets an amped up dose of Lizzie Be Crazy. 

In the interest of time I'm not going to get into the details of their dramatic little conversation in the woods, but suffice it to say that Lizzie believes Donovan, as a member of the Elite, does not have any real problems. Furthermore, she classifies herself as one of the "poor, sick, hungry and oppressed" who do have real problems, even though she currently has a job and is living in the lap of luxury with Gabrielle. Finally, Elizabeth punctuates the end of their interchange by running off crying.

Bottom Line - Since Elizabeth is basically making up her own reality as she goes along, I would suggest she throw a few unicorns in there as it might improve her mood. 

Screen Shot 2021-04-24 at 5.50.48 PM.png

Next, Elizabeth and Jenna run into Felicity at a bridal show and find out that, although she and Donovan are not engaged or even dating, Felicity is banking on the fact that he will ask her to marry him. She says "There's always been an understanding between our families that I will marry him and I trust Donovan to know the right moment."

Um, is every woman in this movie lucid dreaming? Because that would be sort of cool.

Screen Shot 2021-04-24 at 6.21.16 PM.png

Elizabeth gets to know Zara better through helping her with her schoolwork and learns that  Donovan raised her single handedly from the age of twenty-one when their parents were killed in a boating accident.

"And I told him he had no real problems." says Elizabeth ruefully.

Side Note: While I am glad Elizabeth is realizing that she is a huge B right now, this realization should also have served as a turning point in her attitude toward Donovan. You know, treating him less like a piece of garbage and more like a human being. 

But it doesn't.

The next morning Gabrielle sends Elizabeth off with her terriers to the pet spa. Lizzie is confused because she usually does all the dog grooming, but Gabrielle is strangely adamant about it. What Lizzie doesn't realize is that Gabrielle knows Donovan will be at the spa with his dog at this time and she is setting up a meeting between them. 

Gabrielle takes her Fairy Godmother role very seriously.

Lizzie and Donovan meet at the pet spa and she gets a chance to apologize to him for her outburst in the woods. She says she was upset for "other reasons" but this still doesn't explain why she personally attacked him about his rich problem-less life. Apology Value = 0

Meaningless chatter ensues, a dog shakes water all over them, and they part ways. 

The next day Aunt VIolet comes over to the Brownstone to yell at both of them about an photo that showed up in the gossip section of her Rich Lady Newsletter. It is of Elizabeth and Donovan and was taken surreptitiously when the dog shook water over the both of them at the pet spa and Donovan was drying her off. Aunt Violet claims they were "canoodling" and the Headline reads Darcy the Cheater! Is his Engagement to Felicity Robson Off?

I don't have much to say about this scene except that there is a lot of yelling in it and, once again, no one in this movie believes in using a phone.

Aunt Violet ends by saying, "If you don't stay away from my nephew, I will make sure that you regret it," which is eerily similar to what GM said to Lizzie back at her old high school job, (not the "nephew" part, the "regret it" part).

Screen Shot 2021-04-25 at 8.17.40 AM.png

And then poof! She was gone.

"This is a disaster!" says Lizzie after Violet leaves. "If the press find out who I am then this whole story with GM could be splashed in the papers tomorrow and I may never work as a teacher again!"

Side Note: Weeell....maybe. If you are only looking at working at an exclusive private high school then you might have a problem. But public schools should be fine. I doubt they read or care about RIch Lady Newsletter. What? You're not considering public schools? No? Uh...okay, I mean it's an obvious solution, but whatever.

The next time Donovan and Elizabeth meet is at another dog show a few days later and Elizabeth tries her best to avoid him. Below is their very personal conversation while he is judging her in the ring. Needless to say he has dropped all pretense of being a professional judge at this point, which makes perfect sense since his credentials may be fake anyway.

Donovan: (checking her dog) You act as if I've offended you.

Elizabeth: (whispering through gritted teeth) Didn't you see that picture of us in the paper?

Donovan: I would advise you to ignore those gossip rags.

Elizabeth: Well maybe you can ignore what people think of you, but that is not a luxury I can afford. 

Donovan: It's not a luxury, it's a choice.

Elizabeth: A choice you can make because your wealthy.

Donovan: Again about my money. You, Elizabeth are a snob.

ELizabeth: Do you want me to tell you what you are?

ELizabeth ends up winning the competition and as Donovan puts her ribbon over her head she hisses out, "What are you doing? People are whispering and staring." 

Side Note: Honestly, she has a point. After the article that just came out and the conversation they just had in the ring, this does not seem to be the most neutral of decisions.

Lizzie's fears prove to be well founded when the Dog Show Director approaches and says there may be a conflict of interest regarding her win. Aunt Violet showed him the newspaper article and now he is concerned that one of his Judges may have been intimate with a Handler.

 

Lizzie and Donovan both deny this, but the Dog Director decides to believe the "Gossip Rag" evidence instead. He says he will let her retain her win today as long as she never handles a dog whenever Donovan is judging, but since Donovan is judging the next three shows this actually sucks for Poor Peon Elizabeth. Donovan, obviously, will be fine.

In his defense Donovan's quickly offers to recuse himself from these competitions so Lizzie can compete, but Dog Director responds, "That would put us in a bind."

Not in his defense Darcy fails to respond, "Tough sh*t, deal with it," so I guess he's not willing to put his weekend hobby on the line to battle injustice.

Yeah...thanks Superman.

Screen Shot 2021-04-25 at 11.45.42 AM.pn

As Elizabeth can no longer handle Gabrielle's dogs, she prepares to leave and return to Washington DC.

Donovan comes over to the Brownstone to apologize and Elizabeth responds, "I'd like to blame you for what happened but I can't," which is a super rude way to speak to someone who is trying to apologize for something that wasn't their fault either. At this point in the movie I guess I should be used to Lizzie being a disaster. However, I still cannot reconcile how Donovan can be attracted to her continual abuse. Are we absolutely sure this is not a remake of Taming of the Shrew? And if so, when does the "taming" start?

Donovan takes her to a friends house to offer her a job watching his puppies while he is out of town. They enjoy a formal tea there which is a bit odd but whatever...I like tea.

Screen Shot 2021-04-25 at 12.49.16 PM.pn
Screen Shot 2021-04-25 at 12.57.48 PM.pn

Jenna asks Lizzie to accompany her to a charity event the next night with Henry. Elizabeth doesn't want to go, but Jenna begs her so, after making sure she can still take care of Donovan's puppies as promised, she agrees.

They arrive at the house where the charity event is being held and OMG it's Donovan's House! Elizabeth has about 1 second to be horrified before Cruella swoops in. 

 

"Miss Scott! Don't you have any better occupation than showing up where you are not wanted?

 

Elizabeth simply turns and walks away (which was awesome), but Jenna stays to defend her sister. Unfortunately, Jenna also happens to let slip the name of the high school where Lizzie used to work. Uh oh! You should never give personal information out to evil witches Jenna!

So here we are at the house and please notice that, apart from the obviously fake flowers in the foreground, the trees behind Henry have no leaves and Jenna, Lizzie and Henry are all wearing jackets. Henry literally, has three layers of clothing on.

Screen Shot 2021-04-25 at 2.29.24 PM.png

Then the camera switches to another shot and BAM! we have Donovan in a Speedo and Felicity sunning herself in a bathing suit like it is the height of summer. I don't know whose job it is on a movie to make sure that what we see on the screen makes sense, but someone needs to get their sh*t straight.

Screen Shot 2021-04-26 at 6.25.52 PM.png
Screen Shot 2021-04-26 at 6.26.04 PM.png

When Elizabeth sees Donovan, (nearly naked), she looks absolutely horrified, which as we all know, is a sure sign that true love is right around the corner.

 

Elizabeth (to Team Fancy Pants): Sorry, I didn't know Henry was bringing us here. Otherwise, I wouldn't of tagged along.

Felicity: Hmmm...I don't know if we should believe her Donovan.

Zara: Well, I'm glad you're here. I was just about to checkmate my brother if you want the next game.

Elizabeth: Thank you Zara, but I can't stay. I have to go back to New York. I'll go call a cab.

Side Note: I don't know about you, but if someone comes into my house and says, " I wouldn't have come over if I had known I was coming here," they will not need to call a cab. They will need to call an ambulance. 

Lizzie exits the house so fast after this that both her sister and Donovan have to run to catch up to her and talk her down. Obviously she stays.

Next on the agenda of this generic "charity event" is Donovan playing tennis against some old guy. This is uninteresting. However, watching Felicity and Aunt Violet lose their d*mn minds watching Donovan play is freakin hysterical. 

Screen Shot 2021-04-27 at 5.45.26 PM.png

Next Scene: Has Barbie been Drinking?

 

Felicity, who until this point has greeted the world with a small smile and a monotone, finds Lizzie standing alone on a balcony and perks up enough to harass and threaten her. 

Oh, not in a hugely formidable way... more like a mean girl in High School Musical.

Felicity: Why are you trying so hard to get Donovan's attention? You have absolutely no respect as to who I am to the Darcy family. You deserve everything that's coming to you.

Elizabeth: What's that supposed to mean?

Felicity: (ominous - but not really ominous) You'll see.

 

Then Felicity and her stupid side ponytail flounce out of the room.

Screen Shot 2021-04-29 at 6.01.54 PM.png

Now we get to the Big Ball Scene. (And by "Big" I of course mean "Stupid")

Jenna and Lizzie are standing in a corner in full on sparkling princess dresses and Lizzie says,"I feel like everyone is looking at me. I can't tell who is real or fake, friend or foe."

Jenna reassures her that they "are all friends there," but in my opinion what she should have said was, "Well, you wouldn't have to worry about foes so much if you didn't insult everyone you meet."

Darcy comes over, asks Elizabeth to dance and that's when the sh*t hits the fan.

First we get some evil plotting...

Screen Shot 2021-04-29 at 6.32.53 PM.png

And then...what-the-what!?...it's Grant Markham!

What is he doing here? Shouldn't he be at his kid's lacrosse practice?

Screen Shot 2021-04-29 at 6.33.48 PM.png

Elizabeth looks frozen and GM starts to say a bunch of snarky things about her being a thief in front of Donovan and the other guests. After all, I'm sure that's what he was flown out here at a moments notice and paid heavily to do right?

Donovan and Henry end up throwing Markham out, and Elizabeth immediately tattles on Aunt Violet and Felicity. She does not sugar coat the situation with Donovan. "Your Aunt and Felicity invited him here because they want me gone." 

So what's Donovan's response to the duplicity of his own Aunt and his lifelong friend?

He kisses Elizabeth in front of all the party guests.

Um, well...that doesn't actually solve anything but...okay.

Side Note: NOW IT'S TIME TO PLAY "THE DATING GAME!"

Question 1. When Is The Best Time For Your First Kiss? 

a. After a great first date!

b. At the top of a ferris wheel!

c. When she has just been verbally abused and publically humiliated

Screen Shot 2021-04-29 at 6.56.49 PM.png

After the kiss, Donovan announces to the entire party that he will not be marrying Felicity and tells her and his Aunt Violet to leave.

 

So...

Felicity gets her comeuppance through public humiliation and dismissal.

 

Aunt Violet, who for sure instigated and orchestrated all evil events, leaves the party for her undoubtedly posh residence, where she probably enjoys a glass of wine and a nice hot bath. 

 

Lizzie, shaken by all the drama, escapes upstairs to her room.

 

Jenna, never one to miss out on a party no matter who has been mistreated, stays and has a great time.  

Unfortunately though, Jenna ends up causing further drama when she overhears the following conversation between Donovan and Henry:

Henry: Donny, that kiss that you laid on Jenna's sister...that was the highlight of the night!

Donovan: That kiss was to shut Aunt Violet up.

Henry: The kiss was because you like the girl.

Donovan: What? Why would I like her? She's overproud...

Henry: ...and beautiful..

Donovan: ...crass...

Henry: ...and intelligent, kills it in a ballgown - you are absolutely fascinated by her and that's a fact. (they both laugh)

Obviously Jenna runs back to Lizzie's room and tells her that Donovan called her overproud and crass. They immediately pack up and walk out.

Donovan chases after Lizzie and tells her that Jenna didn't hear the whole conversation which included the realization that he is in love with her. BTW he also calls her obstinate, but then says he likes obstinate women.

Maybe not the best time to bring this item up.

Lizzie ignores his poorly communicated pleas, yells at him and leaves.

Screen Shot 2021-05-01 at 2.08.13 PM.png

Much like the original P&P, Donovan writes Elizabeth a letter explaining his actions which changes her mind about him and all of the sudden she realizes she is in love with him as well. She leaves this bombshell on his voicemail since he and Zara have skipped town for parts unknown.

The Last Scene of course is at a dog show where Lizzie is a contestant and Donovan unexpectedly turns up as one of the judges.

All I have to say is it's a good thing she was previously banned from working with him in the ring, since he chooses that moment to tell her they need to be together and kisses her right there in front of everyone. Literally, she in her contestant armband and he with his judges badge on. The other contestants must be losing their d*mn minds right now.
 

BTW is he the worst judge ever or what? Can we pull his fake license now?

Screen Shot 2021-05-01 at 2.22.52 PM.png

PROS:

- Aunt Violet...she needs her own movie where she actually casts spells.

- Puppies!

- The tea spread was pretty legit.

- So I did end up watching Wonder Woman, and there are hardly any rude people in it!

CONS:

- Klutzy Hallmark heroines tripping all over their men! Blech!

- Lizzie's birthday party was filmed in a restaurant that I have seen in at least five of other Hallmark movies. All I'm saying is, I don't think their Location Scout is putting in a full eight hour day.

- Great, after watching this movie I'm going to need to reread P&P to clear the stank from my brain.

 

THE END

Credits: All photos, unless otherwise indicated, have come from the Hallmark Movie “Unleashing Mr. Darcy” which can be viewed on the Hallmark Channel