Dater's Handbook (2016) - Witty and Sparkling Romantic Comedy starring Meghan Markle

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Each new season brings with it a slew of new Hallmark Channel originals. As their platform and profile has grown so have the number of movie premieres. Their Christmas countdown may be their biggest yearly draw, but no one should let their small (by comparison) Countdown to Valentine’s Day slip past their notice.  

By all accounts Cass (Meghan Markle) has an ideal life. She’s a young career woman with a promising young company to her name, and surrounding her is a supportive family. The one flaw is her dating life. No matter how hard she tries, she seems to perpetually fall for Mr. Wrong. Fresh off an about-to-happen break-up (yes, this is a thing), Cass meets Robert (Kristoffer Polaha) while attending her assistant's wedding solo.

Robert is spontaneous and down to earth, and as usual, Cass is attracted to the larger-than-life personality he lives. But waiting in the wings is also George (Jonathan Scarfe). A client of Cass’ advertising firm, George is successful and reliable, and exactly the kind of guy Cass never dates. But which man is Mr. Right?

Having gushed so much about so many of these telefilms (and proud of it), I feel like attempting to write a coherent review of this would involve a case of redundancy. Much as I adore this channel and the type of wholesome films its known for, all that needs to be said (about their platform in general) has been said. That being said, there are things to say about this, the first in the Valentine original series… and because this is meant to work out in length to be a reasonably so ramble, let’s continue on. 

TV MOVIE REVIEW | So You Said Yes (2015)

Not only will those of you Hallmark aficionados spy many a familiar face, you’re also going to enjoy the talent that is the main cast. At least I sure did. With USA Network’s Suits actress Meghan Markle leading the way, the primary cast is anything but forgettable. Kristoffer will also be familiar to anyone who has watched Life Unexpected, the short-lived 2010 CW drama. Not only has Meagan appeared in a prior Hallmark romance (When Sparks Fly), alums Teryl Rothery (Cedar Cove) and Christine Chatelain (guest star on When Calls the Heart) also show up. 

Stands to reason, following this would lead us into the respective characters these actors portray, all of whom are memorable. I enjoyed Cass as a leading lady both in her professional life and who she was with one suitor. (Though which one I won’t say because spoilers!) Another way this impresses is by the script. The continuous flow of flirty albeit cute banter and easy chemistry with the cast helps sell this as the charming romantic comedy it needs to be. The writing also takes opportunity through its story to lay some poignant truths on the line (without being sappy – all the sap there is, is purely intentional) that make our heroine evaluate who she is and whether or not she’s being real. 

Stepping away from the traditional sense of the holiday, Dater’s Handbook is one of Hallmark’s recent bests. Every film has its flaws and certainly not each one will suit what a moviegoer seeks. For me, this is the ideal handbook for how to craft the perfect romantic comedy. ♥

(This post does contain affiliate links. Read the disclosure page for details.) You can buy Dater's Handbook on Amazon Video or purchase it on DVD.

Photos: Hallmark

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