Ah, Christmas movies. They’re so cozy we can almost taste the roast turkey and smell the chocolate. It would be nice to disappear into one of those romps, wouldn’t it? 2019’s A Christmas Movie Christmas does just that with a wink and a nod.
Eve (Lana McKissack) loves Christmas and Christmas movies. Like, she really loves them. She plays the Christmas Cove movies on her computer at her desk at work and her TV at home and gets misty-eyed every time the happy ending rolls around, no matter how many times it rolls around. The movie doesn’t say this, but Eve’s probably the type who puts up the Christmas decorations right after Halloween and leaves them up until after New Year’s Day.
Lacey (Kimberly Daugherty) is a bit more cynical than her sister. She dates guys she knows are bad news so she can chuck them without getting hurt and is so used to things going wrong that she doesn’t care all that much if she gets stood up. She prefers true crime stories to Christmas movies, although she and Eve both sigh over Chad Matthew Monroe of Christmas Cove fame.
On Christmas Eve Lacey comes home from yet another failed date to find Eve hanging a Christmas wreath and watching the Christmas Cove movies again after a failed attempt to bake Christmas cookies. The heat in their apartment is out but the landlord has promised to get around to it “sometime,” and so the sisters go out for some hot chocolate to warm up. As they pass a bell-ringing Santa Eve makes a wish which she of course won’t tell, and she and Lacey go home and curl up on the couch under numerous afghans.
Only thing is, Eve and Lacey wake up under a down comforter on a perfect bed in a perfect guest bedroom wearing matching Christmas pajamas and their hair and makeup mysteriously perfect. Feeling a bit weirded out, Eve grabs a brass candlestick and Lacey grabs a ceramic Santa Claus figurine and they creep out of the bedroom, poised to strike, but all they meet is Gram Gram (Brigid Duffy), who’s so glad her granddaughters are visiting Holiday Falls from the city. It only takes a few bites of cinnamon waffles before Eve is won over.
It also takes a walk around town before Eve and Lacey realize what’s happened: Eve wished that her life could be like a Christmas movie and it came true. Santa, who’s talking to kids in the town square, fills them in on the details; namely, they’re staying in Holiday Falls until Eve’s story is played out, and by extension Lacey’s.
There’s plenty to do, though–the yearly Christmas festival needs planning, and Eve works with a cute guy named Dustin (Ryan Merriman) who’s all kinds of intriguing. Oh, and we can’t forget that she already has a boyfriend, Russell, also known as Chad Matthew Monroe (Randy Wayne) who just happens to be a famous singer. Yeah, it gets complicated.
Lacey’s not idle herself. When she goes into the local bakery for some sweets she meets the baker, Paul (Brant Daughtrey), an unfailingly upbeat fellow who likes having a good time. He’s kind of a big kid–he talks to his gingerbread men as he decorates them, and he’s immediately smitten with Lacey. He’s got a knack for making homemade cards and an unnerving ability to sneak them into Lacey’s hands when she least expects it, which is cute in a stalker-y kind of way. Lacey is skeptical at first, but when she finally agrees to a date we could swear Paul clicks his heels together. The two of them decorate cookies together in Paul’s bakery, of course.
As with any good Christmas movie, things get bad before they get really good, and things always work out for the best. I’m not going to say what that is, of course.
This is definitely not a movie to be taken too seriously. At all. It’s light, airy, and seems to be permanently smiling. It also exaggerates the fakeness of Christmas movies, especially the snow–it looks fuzzy and foamy like cotton and they don’t bother to hide the fuzziness. And there’s plenty of it because it’s a Christmas movie, after all. Naturally, the colors are all very saturated like Holiday Falls is Munchkinland, and no one seems to have a shadow.
On the other hand, A Christmas Movie Christmas does let us connect with it on some level. Lacey’s cynicism cuts the sweetness of the whole thing, not to mention Eve has her own arc with her cranky, disconnected boss calling her “Elle” and assigning her the most menial tasks when what she really wants to do is graphic design. He ends up in Holiday Town too, improbably, apparently to be the “Bah! Humbug” character of the proceedings.
That’s the other thing about this movie–the lines between fantasy and reality get very, very blurred, and no, I’m not giving specifics again, but it’s funny how wishes can play out. Put it this way: Holiday Falls might not be as far off as it seems to be. I kinda wish the film hadn’t gone this route in quite the same way, but it’s really hard not to like it so I can’t be too jaded. It would be like snubbing hot chocolate and Christmas cookies.
Hope to see you tomorrow when we go from disappearing into a Christmas movie to taking a trip down Fifth Avenue. As usual, thanks for reading, all, and I hope to see you then…
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