So many holiday movies this season – so little time left before Christmas! I watched these movies back-to-back on Lifetime and though they offer different plotlines, they both struck a similar chord (Maybe it was a Friday night date night theme…), so Day 16 includes a review of each:
Holly’s Holiday, 2012, written by Justine Cogan and Andrea Janakas.
A Christmas Wedding Date, 2012, story by Jeffrey Schenck & Peter Sullivan; screenplay by Peter Sullivan and Fred Olen Ray.
Both these single ladies, Holly and Rebecca, live shallow lives and don’t realize the perfect man for them is someone they’ve already rejected.
Again, though their stories are topically different, even more similarities stand out:
- Both are career-driven.
- Both want perfect lives.
- They both change in big ways, though Rebecca has a bigger story arc as she has some real issues lurking judging by her original callousness (and downright meanness) as she tries to cover up her high school pain and hurt. Holly’s arc is more about reassessing her priorities as she matures.
- Both suffer a bump to the head before the “real story” begins.
- Elements of magic enter into their predicament:
- Holly’s “dream man” is a dream man – the mannequin she admires comes to life after she is knocked unconscious.
- Rebecca has to repeat a most frustrating day in her life until she gets it right – courtesy a taxi driver/angel, aka Mr. Destiny, played by George Wendt. (Yes, Norm on Cheers.)
- Both these movies are challenged by timeline issues and unanswered questions. The most taxing for me include:
- What exactly does the twinkling ornament George gives Rebecca do?
- Why doesn’t Chad tell Rebecca nothing happened between him and Molly the first time she asks instead of waiting until the last time she asks? (It seemed like fifty times, but I stopped counting.) Especially since the whole reason they broke up at least 10 years earlier hinges on this one factor.
Moments of over-acting, inconsistent details, too direct/unrealistic dialogue, heavy-handed messages, and the points listed above, can each distract a viewer enough to flavor the entire movie.
Neither of these movies reached the potential I hoped they each would.
As a screenwriter, even if a movie isn’t quite what I anticipate, I watch for something the movie does right, and/or something I can learn and use as I move forward with my own writing.
In Holly’s Holiday, I loved the poses Bo (and his parents) relived as they recounted their favorite “jobs”. These scenes were Saturday Night Live funny.
I also enjoyed the character and fresh portrayal of Milo by Jeff Ward. Without Holly realizing it, he rocked her world.
In A Christmas Wedding Date, one of the initial scenes captures comic realism when the HR person tiptoes around Rebecca’s being downsized and confuses her with another employee.
Combined, these two movies earn a shared total of 4.5 of 5 Christmas Dates. You decide who gets the edge. ♥♥♥♥.5