Main cast: Emma Roberts (Sloane Benson), Luke Bracey (Jackson), Andrew Bachelor (Neil), Jessica Capshaw (Abby). Manish Dayal (Faarooq), Alex Moffat (Peter), Jake Manley (York), Cynthy Wu (Liz), Frances Fisher (Elaine), and Kristin Chenoweth (Aunt Susan)
Director: John Whitesell
It’s been a while since I dared to watch a holiday-themed romantic comedy. After watching Holidate, I wish I’d taken a much longer break from that genre.
This movie is basically about an emotional tug-of-war between Sloane Benson and Jackson, two people that decide to be “holidates” in order to avoid unwanted pressures to get into serious relationships during Christmas. At least, she wants to parade him around to fend off her annoying mother’s efforts to set her up with dates, while he just wants to use Sloane to keep his conquests from pestering him after he decides that they are being too clingy. You know romantic comedies—guys can play around but the ladies can’t, because we viewers only like whores when they have penises and look hot.
Not that Luke Bracey is hot. He’s generic, in my opinion, like some guy one would see modeling some ugly sweater in a holiday catalogue one finds stuffed in the mailbox a few weeks before Christmas. Then again, now that Armie Hammer is allegedly a cannibal, a sex fiend, and a terrible father to his kids, and Mr Bracey looks like he’s made in the same Ken doll factory as Mr Hammer, so he can always try to persuade casting folks to put him into roles that are now off-limits to Mr Hammer.
Emma Roberts… well, she’s Emma Roberts. She can only play the bitchy, haughty Miss Thing, so as a result, Sloane is an unlikable neurotic twit. Then again, Jackson is no prize either, as way too often he comes off as a douche especially towards women. In a way, these two characters are a good match, because they won’t then be inflicted on the rest of society.
Meanwhile, the rest of the characters here are stereotypes straight out of the Big Book of Stereotypical Characters in a Very Formulaic Romantic Comedy, complete with cringe-inducing exaggerated tics, mawkish sentimentalism, and more.
In other words, aside from a C-grade cast, instead of the usual D-grade one, and some cuss words here and there, there is really nothing in Holidate that distinguishes it from the many, many, many crap Christmas-themed romantic comedies churned out by Hallmark on a regular basis. Who knows, maybe this movie came to be because someone found a rejected script in the dumper at Hallmark and had to make a movie out of it because they lost a bet or something?