(director: Jonah Feingold; screenwriter: Dan Steele; cinematographer: Stephen Whitehead; editor: Yvette M. Amirian; music: Grant Fonda; cast: Robbie Amell (Graham), Leighton Meester (Ali), Michael Hitchcock (Dennis), Kathryn Greenwood (Jeannie), Veronika Slowikoska (Mindy), Steven Huy (Elliott), Thomas Cadrot (Brady); Runtime: 93; MPAA Rating: NR; producers: Richard Alan Reid, Michael Philip, Jason Moring; Buzzfeed Studios/FreeVee; 2023-USA/Canada)

“It’s a a well-executed but dull Hallmark type of holiday film.”

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

A Christmas rom/com directed by Jonah Feingold (“At Midnight”/”Dating & New York”) and written by Dan Steele. The comedy comes out of the strange circumstances of a couple’s break-up. The film questions if love can be rekindled after the fire goes out.

It’s a a well-executed but dull Hallmark type of holiday film.

The overworked lead video game designer for Poof ‘N’ Puff, Graham (Robbie Amell), and the baking fanatic, Ali (Leighton Meester), were once engaged but have separated after a long relationship. Both feel bad about the split. Flashbacks recall their happier days, as Graham has fond memories when he was with Ali during the Christmas of 2022.

This year, Graham’s bosses in Los Angeles insist he work on fixing a new game over the holidays before it’s marketed. He therefore cancels his
parent’s (Michael Hitchcock & Kathryn Greenwood) plans to be with them in their Minnesota home. They are big on Christmas celebrations and are deeply disappointed. Ali during their split-up has remained through social media in contact with his family and gets an invite to celebrate the Yuletide with Michael’s parents and his siblings (Veronika Slowikoska & Steven Huy).

Michael decides at the last moment to show up unannounced and is surprised to find Ali there preparing Christmas cookies.

Their chance meeting encourages them to make a bet, whereby the winner stays with his family over the holidays and the loser must leave.

A few sight gags are tossed in, such as the toilets are stuffed by Ali and a goat is placed on the premises by Graham, as the ex-fiancee’s try to sabotage each other. Both gags weren’t funny.

The charming but inconsequential sappy film at least leaves us with a sense of the holiday spirit. The use of split screens cutely shows that they are together but still apart, as we are left wondering if they will get together again. 

REVIEWED ON 12/8/2023  GRADE: C+