Aha. I’m going a little off script on the Day 16 selection for my Christmas Movie Review (in case you’re pre-screening for minors) with Holiday in Handcuffs – 2007, ABC Family.
This movie skips the traditional decorating the tree and baking Christmas cookies scenes in favor of spiking the eggnog for Grandma, ironically played by June Lockhart – everyone’s favorite TV mom from Lassie. Combine the language and creepy old man at the gas station, and I don’t see watching this selection with wee ones who soak up every word. You won’t find a real Santa in sight.
Don’t get me wrong. It’s an adorable movie on many levels – Mario Lopez’s dimples and semi-clothed buffness alone are hot tickets. Melissa Joan Hart (remember Sabrina, The Teenage Witch?) and he have a snappy chemistry going.
The movie begins with Melissa’s character, Trudie, bowing to dysfunctional family pressure to bring a guy home for Christmas.
Trudie, a bit of an artist/loveable screwball type, is dumped by her user-loser boyfriend moments before the trip home. A bit crazed by the events of the day so far (missing an interview her father arranged, the recipient of road rage, super bad hair day inflicted by a home perm, being verbally abused by children in her “day” waitress job), she loses it, and kidnaps the first replacement guy she sees – lucky for us she spots Mario.
The part of the movie I struggled with the most was the contrived efforts during the kidnapping scene and subsequent measures to keep him “under wraps”. Since it’s the basis for the title and overall impression, yes, those little details nagged me throughout.
If you can put that aside (as I did) the rest of the movie worked really well – as long as you can accept an over-the-top dysfunctional family. Though piercingly funny at times, again the humor is pretty mature for the young ‘uns, especially at the dinner-table blow up. You’ll recognize Markie Post, Timothy Bottoms, Kyle Howard, and Gabrielle Miller (noted in my Day 13 – Trading Christmas review) in the supporting cast.
This movie stepped outside the traditional Christmas movie genre in more ways:
- It ended after Valentines Day.
- Instead of cute ice skating scenes where one partner is really good and the other one is a total newbie who needs help even standing until they fall over and kiss on the ice, this one featured a scrappy ice hockey match between our hero and heroine.
- All of the gifts the family exchanges are not what anyone would want – but they are funny.
Of note: The mistletoe was not omitted. Ah, Mario.
This movie still ended satisfactorily and stayed true to its theme, so for that, I’m giving it 4 of 5 Spiked Egg Nogs. ♥♥♥♥