Holiday romantic comedy run down

Just recently, Netflix released a number of movies for the holiday season under the romantic comedy genre. As someone who can appreciate a good love story, I took it upon myself to watch a few and give my thoughts. Romantic comedies are made complete with some clichés and unrealistic elements to the plot, without going too overboard. If it’s too sappy, I don’t want it––I came for the bit of comedy, not a whole soap opera. These reviews are here to act as a guide to your movie-watching this holiday season, especially if you’re as lonely and touch-starved as I am. Enjoy the romance (+ comedy), people!


Holidate (2020):


After spending the holiday season alone, Sloane (Emma Roberts) gets tired of her family passing judgement on her love life. Tired of eating Christmas dinner with the “singles” –– otherwise known as the kids table –– Sloane seeks someone to fill the role as her date and get her family off her back. While returning Christmas presents at the mall, Sloane meets Jackson (Luke Bracey) who seems to be suffering from a similar problem. He has been spending the holidays with his flings and their families, who seem to be more invested in the relationship than he is. Sick of the pressure of dating, Jackson is looking for a platonic relationship with no baggage. The pair get together on the premise of having a “holidate,” someone to spend major holidays with, without any strings attached. However, as you can assume, their relationship elevates to much more.

This movie checks all the boxes for your typical romantic comedy: miscommunication of true feelings, a big fight that ends the relationship and a large gesture in the end to prove their love. And of course, the never ending feeling of frustration that the characters just can’t seem to take a hint. Although it didn’t explore any new ideas or themes in terms of the plot, I found it to be quite enjoyable. Usually the acting in these sorts of movies can be unbearable at times, but Emma Roberts and Luke Bracey did well in these roles and seemed to have good chemistry on screen. It surely helps that Bracey is Australian, so if you’re into foreign guys with accents, here you go. But if you’re looking for a wholesome holiday movie to watch, this may not be the film to turn to. It does include many adult themes, so I definitely wouldn’t recommend it for younger audiences. However, if you’re mature enough for the TV-MA rating, I suggest you check it out.


A California Christmas (2020):


Joseph (Josh Swickard) lives a carefree life as the heir to his family’s company, Van Aston Enterprises. Staying in the company’s hotel and holding a different girl on his arm every night, Joseph isn’t exactly making his family proud. Two weeks before Christmas, his mother threatens to take away his privileges, but then offers him an opportunity to prove himself instead. In order to get back into her good graces, Joseph needs to convince small town farm girl Callie (Lauren Swickard) to sell her land for the construction of Van Aston Enterprises’ new warehouses. Even though her farm is in the pits, Callie has refused all previous offers. Joseph  needs to get close to Callie to sway her decision and pretends to be the farm’s new ranch hand to execute this plan. But when he starts to fall for Callie and people start to find out about his true identity, Joseph realizes he must choose between her and the business.

This film feels more like the Hallmark movie playing on the TV at 2 p.m. on a Tuesday afternoon during the holidays. It is more cheesy in nature than the other films, which is saying something because romantic comedies are the epitome of cheesy. There are more sappy montage scenes with dramatic music in the background than I can take. However, the plot does follow the “big secret” trope that’s used in movies like She’s All That, where the guy pursues the girl for his own personal gain but ends up falling for her instead. And I’m a sucker for that cliché, so I’ll give this movie some credit for that at least. In terms of the actors, Josh Swickard and Lauren Swickard have great chemistry on screen. But since they are married, it would be a little depressing if they didn’t. As for the acting itself, it was as good as you’d expect, but nothing worth commendation. I didn’t enjoy this movie as much as I’d hoped, but it does hit the mark for your classic Hallmark rom com. If you’re looking for a sappy love story, this is it. 


Operation Christmas Drop (2020):


When word gets out that an air base in Guam is organizing their annual Operation Christmas Drop, an event where presents are dropped down onto less fortunate communities on the surrounding islands, government officials become suspicious of the efficiency and financial responsibility of the base. With Christmas only a week away, Erica (Kat Graham), an uptight Congressional aide, is assigned to travel to Guam to investigate the operation and those involved. She meets Andrew (Alexander Ludwig), an air captain and the Christmas Drop organizer, who acts as her guide around the island. Andrew helps her see the true integrity of the operation: not only supplying the locals with presents, but also with important resources. Erica is determined to write everything down in her report to satisfy her boss, but also wants to help those in need. Erica is caught with a difficult decision, and falls for Andrew along the way. 

This film has an interesting take on the typical Christmas romantic comedy. It takes place in Guam, which means instead of snowstorms and Christmas trees, you have beaches and palm trees. Also, it centers more around the theme of Christmas spirit than anything else. The romance aspect acts more as an extra bonus towards the end, adding to the happy ending. But the ending does leave a little room for curiosity, especially since they literally live halfway across the world from each other. On another note, I found Kat Graham and Alexander Ludwig to be an odd pairing. I honestly didn’t sense a lot of chemistry on screen. Maybe it’s because their relationship was mostly platonic for the majority of the plot, but I don’t really see the connection. Overall, I relatively enjoyed this movie, it’s unique spin on the holidays and the element of Christmas spirit. For those looking for something wholesome, I definitely recommend checking this movie out.