Thought I would start off Christmas Eve morning with a holiday movie, fresh from Netflix. The movie was released on Netflix, November 1st, 2019. I passed by it many times, thinking “oh. another silly rom-com about elephants in the wild that need saving from evil poachers and rugged man gets perfect woman”.

For whatever reasons, on Christmas Eve Eve, I decided to give this movie the 10 minute watch review. If after 10 minutes I lose interest, off it goes into the discard pile. Longer than 10? Well, I watch it until it’s over. I settled in with a wonderful slice of miyoko butter, sauerkraut, parsley, sourdough toast and my special blend coffee. In addition, my favorite decadent ChocZero monk fruit chocolate bar (scrummy!)

I almost didn’t make the first 10 minutes. Very formulaic and tedious. Let’s discuss:

A woman ( Kristin Davis) Kate, surprises her husband with a vacation second honeymoon to Zambia after her son leaves for college. Now, with an empty nest, the husband tells her he’s not in love and is going to move out. Of course she decides to go to Africa anyway, without him.

Arriving in Zambia, a man at a bar starts a conversation with her because she has food enough for two people and of course she’s sitting alone. The man (Rob Lowe) Derek, is rugged, handsome, worldly and every womans fantasy. And yet, the woman is still upset, especially about going to Africa alone.

At this point, I knew they would somehow find each other and the romance would stutter along, sometimes boldly and other times with a squeak. But something, perhaps the sap in me, kept me glued to the screen. I could almost see what was coming. In fact, the writers even played openly with the formula by having Derek say “Didn’t see that one coming” and “I saw that one coming” and “should’ve seen that one coming”.

Even knowing they would get together in the end, I couldn’t stop watching. At times, tears were running down my cheeks (sappy guy I am, huh?) when some of the goodbyes were said. Again, I knew the goodbyes weren’t going to last. Didn’t matter, I was still affected.

Kate just happens to be a veterinarian (I know, right?) and wants to help the elephants after Derek lands to save a baby elephant. Poachers killed the mother for her tusks. Kate becomes hesitant to leave after learning about the organization that Derek is part of, deciding to stay longer.

I was laughing and crying as the writers were tugging at my heartstrings and it didn’t matter. I was hooked. Rob Lowe played an excellent mans man, in the tradition of Tom Selleck, Sam Elliot, John Wayne and Pierce Bronson among others. Kristin Davis did not seem like a vet to me, but that didn’t matter as she played a strong mother figure restarting her life after divorce very well.

Rather than continue to give away the plot, which I really can’t be guilty of because each step of the way they telegraph what’s about to happen – take a chance yourself. Be warned, you’ll need to get past the obligatory opening setup subplot in order to get to the beef brisket. Side note: keep some tissues handy, …just saying.

This movie gets an “I am a Sap” rating from me. I would write more but I need to replenish my fluids from all the happy tears I’ve been having from writing this review.