Hallmark's "You Had Me At Aloha" QUIZ! Plus How Kavan Smith & Pascale Hutton Create Such Fun Banter

Starring:  Pascale Hutton and Kavan Smith

Released:  2021

Summary:  A television show replacement is paired up with a man who promises to push everything for the ratings, and the two of them grapple for control.

Pascale Hutton & Kavan Smith  Image: Crown Media

Fun Banter Between Hutton & Pascale

Aside from the breathtaking scenery from the island of Oahu, one of the best aspects of You Had Me At Aloha is the back-and-forth dialogue between Paige Marshall (Pascale Hutton) and Ben Burton (Kavan Smith) as they co-host the travel program, Next Destination.  

The clever ribbings they give each other are so natural and fluid.  How do they interact so unscripted and real?  The answer is Hutton and Smith created the story and invented their own characters, so the script is a perfect fit.  The two actors work together on When Calls the Heart and starred in both The Perfect Bride movies, so they have fallen into a good rhythm with one another that feels organic and seamless.  


Hutton and Smith also invited Rick Garmin aboard to help write the script.  Garmin is known for being a funny writer who creates playful and humorous banter between characters.  

Faithful Hallmark viewers can attest that many movies are redundant in repackaging the same old thing when it comes to comedy.  For example, how many times do characters in Christmas movies drink hot cocoa and wind up with an exaggerated amount of marshmallows or whipped topping on their noses and upper lips?  It's cute once and then quickly goes flat in subsequent movies.

The wit in You Had Me At Aloha is refreshing and original.

Millie volunteers Ben & Paige to do the hula at a luau.  Image: Crown Media

Paige & Ben Balance Each Other

Some people argue that opposites attract while others insist the more two people are alike, the better.  

Before my husband and I were married, our pastor wisely stated that if both of us were exactly alike, one of us would be unnecessary.  

Paige is ultra organized, well-researched, and prefers a plan and a script.  She's very content watching the action from the privacy of a dark office.  Ben flies by the seat of his pants, prefers to ad-lib, and craves hands-on adventure.

Kavan Smith is still quite the hunk at age 50.  Image: Crown Media

In an interview, Hutton shares that in real life, it's just the opposite.  She does advance research on a culture, but then she allows things to unfold on its own once she arrives at the destination.  When it comes to traveling, Smith is actually the one who likes to create a plan and stick to it to maintain control.  

As the movie progresses, we see both characters bend so they can meet happily in the middle.  Paige tries to "chill" and enjoy unplanned fun, as the opportunity arises, and Ben engages in a little more research, strategizing, and at least partially sticking to a script.  Whether it's dealing with a co-worker, family member, or significant other, it's a good lesson to learn--value the input of those around you and find ways to compromise.  

In other words, Paige and Ben bring out the best in each other, which is one reason why, when Todd Harper returns to host Next Destination, Paige quits.  The onscreen magic she creates with Ben cannot be replicated with Todd.

What Bad Experience Still Bothers You?

Although most of us probably haven't been chased by screaming goats and mocked by 10 million people from the subsequent YouTube footage, the concept of allowing our past hurts to put a damper on future progress is very relatable.

Maybe you've had your heart broken, so you hesitate to open your heart to anyone else again.  If you've ever been criticized and embarrassed by something or had a damaging experience of some kind, you never want to put yourself in a position to allow it to happen again.  You stop taking risks, and the result is you allow one traumatic event to define and shape you and prevent you from being an overcomer who lives life to the fullest and embraces your full potential.

Paige is ridiculed as "The Goat Lady."  The one time she dared to go off script to film herself with goats was the biggest mistake of her life.  People still laugh at her or mock her with "baaaa" sounds, and it cuts her to the quick.  It's why she stopped hosting programs and became a producer--so she could hide behind-the-scenes.  

If Paige would just learn to laugh it off, maybe she wouldn't feel so baaaaad.  Image: Crown Media

What's holding you back?  It's time to shrug it off and not let it stop you!

Similarly, Ben wasn't always a daredevil.  He had been in a serious relationship where he planned to settle down, have a home, and raise a family.  When the relationship ended, it pushed him the opposite direction where he avoided settling down or following a regimented schedule. 

When we are hurt, we try to find ways to insulate ourselves, but it only builds barriers without healing the damage.  

Ben takes a chance on love again, and Paige finally moves forward on creating a mystery destination show that she co-hosts with him.  Both leave their baggage in the past to embrace a promising future.  We should all do the same. 

Vacation Bubbles

Another relatable aspect of the You Had Me At Aloha is how vacations make you feel like you're living in a happy bubble.  

When the stresses of work and daily living are absent, vacations broaden your boundaries.  You can act without as much restraint because you aren't trying to maintain an image.  Most likely, you will never see the people you encounter on vacation ever again.  That means you can dress differently, go without makeup, and not worry about keeping up appearances.  You don't have to stick to a tight schedule, and you feel more daring to try new things you'd never attempt back home.

Under the spell of the romantic atmosphere of Hawaii, Paige forces herself to duck Ben's first kiss.  She loves the Hawaii bubble, but the reality is she plans to return to New York while he heads to L.A., and it will all be over.  Why risk a broken heart?

Still, the two enjoy participating in a Tahitian dance, snorkeling, finding restaurants off the beaten path, a sunset cruise, time at the pool, fireworks, and a trivia challenge.  Wouldn't it be nice if we could live life every day as if we were in a vacation bubble?  

Shake it, but don't break it!  Image: Crown Media

To learn more about the Hawaiian locations where the movie was filmed, click here.  

Who Loves Pineapple?

Hawaii is famous for its pineapple farms and boasts the sweetest fruit in the world.  People usually love or hate pineapple.  Where do you land?  

In the summer, pineapple is delicious grilled along with meat and veggies in kabobs, in smoothies, or just grilled by itself.  You can find one of my favorite grilled pineapple recipes here.  

Join Us On Social Media!

Join other Hallmark fans to discuss all the movies by finding us on one or more of these platforms: