Written by award-winning NYU grad Kiara Jones ("Barbasol"), "Christmas Wedding Baby" is warm and inviting, even if it seems we’ve been to this party before.
The film focuses on three sisters. The baby of the trio, Andrea (the adorable Kimberley Drummond) is in town for her wedding to the wealthy Brent (Maba Ba), but it’s clear something is amiss, as he’s been too busy to come for the pre-wedding preparations. This small town in North Florida doesn’t have too many professional photographers and Andrea’s ex Gabriel (Sawandi Wilson) was hired by the wedding planner to effectively capture her beauty on this momentous occasion. Sparks fly between the two, compounding Andrea’s confusion. Does she do what her overbearing mom Miranda says and marry the “right man” or go with her heart…and what does that mean exactly?
Lori (the always phenomenal Lisa Arrindell Anderson), is the oldest sister, and pregnant by a one-night stand to the chagrin of bratty and needy Andrea, judgmental mom Miranda, and middle sister Charlotte (Frances Turner). Successful and adventurous, her decision to have a baby on her own doesn’t sit well with the rest of the clan because she lives life on her terms, something they can’t relate to, or in Miranda’s case, waited too long to act on.
Charlotte and her hunky baby daddy Issac (Stephen Hill of "Stay Cold, Stay Hungry") are in a rut. He has given up working as an international DJ and music producer to be the best stay at home dad to their two children while Charlotte focuses on her work as a daytime news anchor. As Issac prepares to take their relationship to the next level, Charlotte entertains ideas of tasting the swirl with her white co-anchor Kendal (Jason Vendryes). The couple’s interaction is very authentic, the tension palpable. Miscommunication and misunderstanding abound.
Maria Howell’s Miranda is a scene-stealer with an over-the-top but believable personality and lines like “The dress is white and so is the lie.” More than a cougar, she’s the Queen of the Jungle. Trust.
So much drama with thoughtful and poignant scenes interspersed. There is a moment in the car with Andrea and Lori where they honestly face their roles and relationship. Sisters will want to watch this scene again and steal some quotables.
With all the hi-jinx that ensue, it’s how the film wraps that truly sets it apart from the bulk of Black rom-coms.
Lisa Arrindell Anderson was drawn to the film because she “loved the script on paper” and “the ending was refreshing.” Kimberly Drummond loved the character Andrea because she “could relate to a girl in her 20s when everything is confusing, making decisions on her own, making the right or wrong decisions.”
It’s a film about women as individuals, not male accessories.
Kiara Jones took care to write beautifully flawed characters without making them caricatures. “No harm was done to women of color in this film,” it says at the close of the credits. Indeed, it was a pleasure watching Black women characterized as women, sisters, lovers, mothers, human.
A pregnancy, Christmas, a wedding, old lovers, and some interracial sparks flying, but it’s not a replay of anything we’ve seen recently. With snappy dialogue, an even pace, and original music, this warm and funny, family-friendly flick will make you want to hit the beach this Christmas.