Friday, October 20, 2023

Checkin' It Twice: Movie Review

Checkin’ It Twice is my new favourite genre – the hockey rom-com. Scott (Kevin McGarry) is a journeyman minor league hockey player, he’s in his mid-30s still looking for his shot at the NHL, but instead he’s sent to Idaho Falls a feeder team for the AHL. Meanwhile, Ashley (Kim Matula) is a hot shot commercial real estate agent in New York who has just lost a client to her soon-to-be-ex-boyfriend.   2023

Directed by: Kevin Fair

Screenplay by: Steve Beauregard

Starring: Kevin McGarry, Kim Matula

Ashley is from Idaho Falls and is happy to be back home with her family for Christmas even though her career and love life are currently on the rocks. One improvement Hallmark movies have made recently is setting them in real places. Instead of a generic small town, we have a real small town - Idaho Falls, Idaho. Although to be clear, it’s greater metro population is 130,000 so really not a small town at all. Even though they had to fictionalize the hockey team and stuff, the general idea of it, the league and path for promotion is all based in fact.

Scott and Ashley’s path to romance is a little slow, but it fits the characters. They’re not antagonistic when they both meet even though neither of them have had good days, but they are a little stand-off-ish. Unsurprisingly the more they run into each other, or thrown into each other by well-meaning family members, the more they warm up to each other. Ashley knows her hockey and Scott isn’t put off by it. Also there really is some actual hockey talk in this movie. Last year’s hockey rom-com, Merry Kiss Cam, centered around hockey but required zero knowledge from the viewer. This one has some minimal hockey discussion, kind of like some little easter eggs for the few hockey fans in the audience.

Checkin It Twice is an easy to watch movie. The characters are really likable, and even though the end goal where they both find happiness is very obvious and predictable, it’s still a sweet journey to watch them realize where they belong.

For those that like hockey and romance, last year’s Canadian drama Stay the Night features very similar themes but plays out very differently. It’s just one night as two people at a career crossroads meet (one is a hockey player recently demoted) and fall in love. Let’s be clear: one is a gritty indie and one is a smooth formulaic Hallmark Christmas movie – so completely different styles. But if you want to see the same story told completely differently, it’s an option to check out.

Want a different Christmas movie or just more holiday-themed movies? Holiday Movies

Something Similar But Different:

  Merry Kiss Cam (2022) - Hockey and love and comedy in an indie rom-com.

  Stay the Night (2022) - A lonely and quiet film as two soulmates find each other.

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