The feel-good formula of Hallmark movies proves more manipulative than usual in “Come Dance at My Wedding,” which seems designed to cash in on the popularity of “Dancing With the Stars,” albeit without any of that nagging uncertainty regarding the outcome. John Schneider and Roma Downey lend a touch of star quality to the festivities, but mostly “Dance” ambles along to a pretty tedious tune.
Brooke Nevin stars as Cyd, who’s about to sell a long-in-the-family dance studio bequeathed to her by her late mother so that she can get on with life and marry Zach (Christopher Jacot). It’s only then that attorney/family friend Laura (Downey) reveals to Cyd that her presumed-dead father is alive, bringing him into the life of a daughter that he never knew existed.
Newly unemployed, Tanner (Schneider) enjoys teaming with Cyd in teaching dance at the studio, and doesn’t want her to sell it, thus interfering with her more-ambitious career plans. And of course, there’s an explanation for why his late wife never told him about their child, though it’s about as convincing as everything else in JB White’s script.
While Schneider plays an active part in the story, Downey’s role amounts to a cameo — though she and Schneider do their best to invest it with a smidgeon of significance, even if it’s just through the occasional lingering glance. Ultimately, it’s Cyd’s story, and Nevin (“Worst Week”) can’t flesh out a thinly drawn character who, yes, actually ends up running down the street in a wedding dress.
Mostly, the movie plays like a calculated amalgam of all those things believed to tug at women’s emotional heartstrings — father-daughter bonds, weddings, preserving a small-town past — but it’s all veneer, without much real heart to be found.
Preserving the past is all well and good, but too often, these Hallmark greetings simply feel frozen in it.