Dinner and a Movie: Meghan Markle Finds Love (in a Hallmark Movie)
Dear reader, all Valentine’s week long we’re going to be celebrating the best way we know how — with dinner and a movie! We'll be posting recaps of our favorite book-themed movies, and we've got an awesome giveaway from Sun Basket so you can create a delicious meal to go along with your favorite Hallmark, Lifetime or Passionflix movie.
To start the recaps off, we are delighted to share with you a movie the Hallmark Channel had quietly posted on its website, no exciting text or captions — oh, just a picture of Meghan Markle's face. First airing in 2016, this delightful tale, Dater's Handbook, is about what happens to one woman as she tries to figure out how to choose the right man. Irony alert: you know who knows how to find a great guy? MEGHAN FREAKIN' MARKLE! And so we begin …
I kid you not, the movie is made by “Crown Media Productions” — IT'S LIKE THEY KNEW!
We open on Meghan looking out over a mountain range. (And by “looking out on” I mean “probably superimposed upon a green screen,” but no matter!) She comes in from a run with her dog and turns on the morning news show on her laptop, and we learn we’re in Denver. The guest on the show, Dr. Susie, is promoting her new book, you guessed it, The Dater’s Handbook: A How-To for the Modern Single Gal. The newscaster wants to know why WOMEN JUST CANNOT FIND A GOOD MAN. Meghan looks interested, and this is all so delicious for me BECAUSE SHE IS MARRYING ONE OF THE MOST ELIGIBLE BACHELORS ON THE PLANET! She could literally write this book, not that the royals would allow such chicanery. But still. Okay, I have to contain my gleefulness or this recap will be 30,000 words long.
Dr. Susie tells us the problem is WOMEN, who choose the wrong men. Right, right. WHAT WERE WE EVEN THINKING? Meghan, now dressed for work, shuts off her laptop (why she is not watching TV I do not understand, but sure!). She pats her dog goodbye and heads out.
Meghan rolls into her office, on a call where she’s selling someone on how they should put their brand on the bottom of a cup. We all know this isn’t what the movie is all about, so let’s just go with it: Meghan is a successful career woman! Got it. She asks her coworker Dana to do something and Dana cannot because she’s getting married. Dana is pumped!
Cut to Meghan having drinks with her pregnant sister, Nadia, and brother-in-law, Michael, and being cynical! Meghan can’t believe Dana is taking her intended’s last name. #IRONIC BIL and sister recall their own less-than-romantic nuptials as Meghan’s beefcake bartender boyfriend brings over some wings. Mmmm wings …
Meghan looks less than pleased to see him, especially because he put honey on the wings and Meghan is allergic. HARRY WOULD NEVER FORGET THAT, MEGHAN. Beefcake Bob, as I shall be calling him, isn’t going with Meghan to Dana’s wedding tomorrow because he “doesn’t do weddings.” Oh, so he’s THAT guy. This is a guy that exists IRL, actually. I have seen him in the wild! BIL can’t let it go. Beefcake Bob is like, “Weddings are boring.” BIL drops some science, explaining that being in a relationship means doing boring things together. Beefcake Bob is like, “Nah, bro.” I love this movie so much already.
We’re at the wedding! Meghan (okay fine her character’s name is Cassandra but let’s be real we're never going to call her that) is seated at the kids table — and at last we spy the hero, Robert! He’s also at the kids table, being charming and ordering Shirley Temples for all. Meghan is a good sport and orders a double, then gets up to dance the hora. Dana is so excited about being married. Meghan and Robert flirt. It can’t be this easy, right? What’s going to go wrong?
"Can I … come to your royal wedding?"
Courtesy of Hallmark Channel
Robert is cutely dancing with a flower girl, in case you were like, Elissa, are you sure he's the hero? Yes, I'm sure. I am a Hallmark Movie Expert. The flower girl is like, bro, ask her out, but Meghan rolls early, pre-bouquet toss, which is a move I 100 percent support.
Meghan, her sister and her mom have coffee. Mom wants to know why Beefcake Bob didn’t attend the wedding and overall doesn’t believe in marriage, especially because they’ve been dating for two years. She legit clutches her chest, asking Meghan, “Do you even want to get married?” Love it. Meghan’s sister is a Dr. Susie fan. Meghan has an epiphany. Dr. Susie is right! Meghan has been doing everything wrong forever. Meghan vows to follow Dr. Susie's advice from now on. No way this could go wrong, no way at all!
Meghan is at work looking through Dana’s desk for paperwork for a messed up order. In one of the drawers she finds … say it with me, The Dater’s Handbook! She reads a snippet about how she should be the only thing on her date’s mind … cut to her sitting around while Beefcake Bob hits balls at a batting cage. Meghan is out on it. She tries to talk to him about it, and when he ignores her, he up and leaves. THAT’S RIGHT!
Meghan and Nadia are out together, and Nadia just happens to lead them to a talk Dr. Susie is giving! Sisters. This feels right. Dr. Susie tells Meghan that her own husband is average in every way, and somehow Meghan is like, yes, this is what I want. Sure!
Meghan’s now out running with her dog, listening to Dr. Susie’s audiobook. And who does she run into but the wedding date, Robert! Honestly Meghan is a delight to watch but these two have zero chemistry. Nevertheless, he asks her out and she says yes!
Dana is back at work, which is good news because the rest of Meghan’s staff is kind of a mess. (We learn a rather large amount about Meghan's job considering … this is not what the movie's about. But okay!)
First date! They go mini golfing. It’s cute. Robert works for Parks and Rec. She makes it so he has to pick their second date, because she’s following the Handbook, you see? You see. We’ve watched these movies together before.
Okay, so I’m like where is the conflict here? Have we found it yet? Here’s a wan attempt: Meghan is with her family, telling them about her date. She says there were sparks, and her sisters is like NO SPARKS ONLY CONSISTENCY. I mean, okay sure? Also the sister is like, KEEP YOUR OPTIONS OPEN. Mom heaves a sigh — we are with you, mama!
Meghan’s client, whose order was messed up, comes back to thank her for her help — and to ask her out. She says yes because of Dr. Susie. IDK, folks. I’m just here to recap. Meghan goes out with the other guy, George. He takes her to a French restaurant to show off. She makes a joke and he does not laugh.
Recapping for her family, mom still wants to know about sparks (with ya, mom!) and Nadia just likes that George was a boring gentleman. This movie is sending weird messages. Pro tip from an old married lady: Don’t take dating advice from Hallmark movies! Boom. Moving on!
Meghan’s out on her second date with Roger. He takes her to a … gym? It’s raining so his outdoor plans were cancelled, IDK unnecessary exposition. He accidentally breaks her iPod and apologizes like eight times. Done with the gym they have a car picnic. It is very sweet. Despite the adorableness, Meghan’s still “keeping her options open” per Dr. Susie, and so she’s at an art gallery with George. It is awkward, I am cringing.
Okay now we’re on a Robert date, and he takes Meghan’s mom along because one of her favorite bands is playing at a VIP event Robert had access to thanks to his job. IT IS ALL VERY CHARMING, FINE.
"I can't believe I'm in this movie either!"
Courtesy of Hallmark Channel
It’s Meghan’s birthday, and Dr. Susie is telling us getting the right gift is imperative. IMPERATIVE, folks! (It’s really not.) George brings her lilies, her favorite flowers, personally. OMG! Robert shows up. But they blow right by each other. Okay, phew. Robert hands over his birthday present — he replaced her iPod. At her family birthday dinner (okay fine, I have been charmed YET AGAIN), mom speaks for us all when she’s like FORGET DR. SUSIE. Nadia annoys when she poo-poos Robert’s gift, like she can’t tell he’s the hero? Come on, girl. But both women tell Meghan to make a choice, already! Meghan can’t decide? (Reallllly, Meghan?) They agree Meghan will go out with both men for another week (we still have like FORTY minutes left! (how can that be?)) and then use Dr. Susie’s checklist to pick the winner. Mom, Greek chorus stand in, points out that this plan is bananas, but the sisters are convinced.
Meghan has the book memorized, and after a week of dates, the ladies are ready to go! George took her to a classical music concert that played movie themes then gave her a hug goodbye. Robert took her to a diner that had delicious wings — that had honey on them. He came in and slept on the couch to make sure she was okay. Mom is like hello you like Robert. Nadia is pro George because we need someone to root for the guy who’s obviously not right for her because we still have some time left.
Meghan’s ready to make a decision. She calls someone and breaks up with him. BUT WHO???
The family is hosting the nephew’s birthday party, waiting for Meghan — who’s bringing “a friend.” IT’S GEORGE. We had to know that, there’s 25 minutes left. This movie could have had a little more action if I’m constantly looking at how much time is still on the clock. Michael the brother-in-law congratulates George on winning over the other suitors, which is hilarious. George is annoyed the kids are hitting the piñata without a blindfold. Ha, okay, kids parties are not for everyone.
Meghan and Robert run into each other at the car repair shop. She tries to duck him but he calls her on it. ADORABLY. Fine, he has grown on me. He invites her to go bowling while they wait for their cars to be fixed. (Even though his car is totally done and he waves off the mechanic.) They bowl and bicker, it’s adorable. Then they kiss! She runs off. (Does she return her bowling shoes?) Ugh I am such a downer.
George is at dinner with Meghan and her mom. He’s like fine, you guys. I mean snaps for not making him a villain. Meghan invites her mom over for dinner to get to know George. (Oh, her dog doesn’t like George. HAS MEGHAN NOT SEEN A HALLMARK MOVIE BEFORE? YOU ALWAYS GO WITH WHO THE DOGS LOVE.) AND THEN, OH SNAP, he won’t share his dessert with Meghan. It’s over, guys. It’s over. I’m callin’ it. After George leaves, Meghan’s mom drops some science on her about how she’s being nuts. (I’m paraphrasing.)
"Is there … something behind me?"
Courtesy of Hallmark Channel
Meghan, still trying because she missed the dog cue, takes George back to the mini golf course and makes the same joke she made with Robert. George is still being nice but he is not into it. She kisses him, then makes a weird face as realization dawns. She gives him the “you’re a great guy,” speech. Bye, George!
Meghan’s watching TV on her laptop again. Guess who’s back on? Dr. Susie! With her new book: Dissecting Divorce. HA! I literally laughed out loud, friends. Dr. Susie’s marriage is ending and she’s blaming the man now, not her. Meghan is suitably aggravated and throws her Dater’s Handbook out. Nadia calls to invite Meghan to the lantern festival, where Meghan knows Robert will be working. The TV anchors are there, in a nice bit of synchronicity. Meghan sees Robert and goes to get her man. She dodges Chinese dragons! It’s time to release the lanterns! It’s lovely. She grabs Robert and apologizes, asking for a second chance before she plants a big smooch on him. Have you seen Meghan Markle? He’s obviously cool with it. They kiss and it’s all very romantic. The end!