“You just have to look past the parts you don’t need.”

From the time she was little Callie Shaw (Rachel Boston, Witches of Eastwick) always knew she wanted to be a chef. But now it’s been years out of culinary school and she’s no closer to her dream coming true. That is, until she returns to her hometown and accepts an entry level position in the local golf course’s Country Club kitchen.

While there she runs into childhood acquaintance David (David Alpay, The Vampire Diaries), whose family is on a different level than Callie’s in just about every way imaginable. David and Callie hit it off immediately as kids and reconnect as adults with sparks flying. But then David makes a gesture that would be interpreted as sweet and supportive were it not for the very real world consequences that it brings.

Callie has always loved ice sculptures and from the time she was little she’s worked to become an ice sculptor and in fact she’s very good, winning local competitions and such. However, the one thing she never wanted to do was to enter her hometown ice sculpture competition because that would mean competing against perennial winner (and coincidentally her new boss) Chef Gloria (Brenda Strong, Desperate Housewives). But wouldn’t you know it? David signs Callie up for the competition secretly and it turns the entire kitchen against Callie. She wastes no time going to her boss and explaining the predicament post haste. It’s a surprise when her boss insists Callie compete — less so when we learn it’s because she’s afraid word will get around that she bullied Callie out of competing.

So now the only trouble Callie has is the complete lack of a partner to help her even make a showing in the competition, let alone win it. Well who better than David, the guy who got her into this mess? Cue the romance unfolding before our eyes, and you can predict pretty much every beat of the story up until the end. Now then this is pretty typical holiday romance fare; even more when compared to the other offerings in the Hallmark Channel’s “Countdown to Christmas” block of holiday programming Ice Sculpture Christmas is a member of. Like the others of its ilk it follows a well-tread path. What helps elevate it are the performances especially by lead Rachel Boston. She’s very likable and her character’s determination is never portrayed as a negative like it could have easily been, instead it’s shown as a refreshing change of pace for someone to have known all of their life what they want to do with it.

Technical specs are well within the parameters of currently airing programs. The video is a 1.78:1 transfer and looks clean and minimally touched. No grain or other distractions to speak of. The audio is a bit of a surprise with a Dolby 5.1 track holding up the other end of the spec sandwich. It’s more than the space needs but better more than less. The lone special feature is a digital download code.

If you’re in the mood for a little holiday romance with a bit of an unusual premise and a likable lead, then Ice Sculpture Christmas could be just what you are looking for.

THE VERDICT

Not guilty.

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