(director/writer: Michael Mayer; screenwriter: Chad Hodge; cinematographer: Eric Cayla; editor: Adriaan van Zyl; music: Anton Sanko; cast: Michael Urie (Peter), Philemon Chambers (Nick), Luke Macfarlane (Jsmes), Barry Bostwick (Harold), Kathy Najimy (Carole), Jennifer Robertson (Lisa), Steve Lund (Tim), Jennifer Coolidge (Aunt Sandy); Runtime: 99; MPAA Rating: TV-PG; producer; Joel S. Rice: Netflix; 2021)

It takes us into LGBTQ turf for the holidays.

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

An inoffensive but dull gay Christmas rom/com directed by Michael Mayer (“The Seagull”/”Flicka”) and is lamely written by TV writer Chad Hodge. It takes us into LGBTQ turf for the holidays, as is the want in recent times of holiday films. Problem is the black and white gay couple lack any chemistry together and no comedy emerges from the comedy part.

The aging single Peter (Michael Urie) is a social media manager in Los Angeles who rooms for the last 9 years with the Black children’s book author Nick (Philemon Chambers) in a platonic relationship.

Peter is dating the cardiologist Tim (Steve Lund), who irks him when he finds out that Tim never told him about his previous heterosexual marriage and thereby breaks up with him. It seems Peter has no luck keeping a romantic relationship with any of the men he dates. The most any relationship lasts is a few months.

In any case, Peter brings Nick with him to meet his New Hampshire family for the Christmas holiday, telling the family he’s in a relationship with Nick instead of telling them the truth. The family gives him a hearty welcome.

Meanwhile his mom, Carole (Kathy Najimy), hooks him up on a blind date with the hunky local gym trainer James (Luke Macfarlane), and Nick is fine with that. His amusing, happy family push for Peter and Nick to get on with their relationship.

Peter’s parents are good people, his married sisters are fun-loving and there’s an eccentric Aunt Sandy (Jennifer Coolidge ) who tries to forget her failed acting career with some heavy drinking (her attempts at comedy never materialize).

The film is exercised by-the-numbers in a conventional TV sitcom mode for holiday romance films, and is not only predictable with a happy ending (whereby Peter realizes who is the man he really loves and comes to his senses) but is filled with enough romance-movie cliches to choke a reindeer. It’s a holiday film for those who like fake trees over real Christmas trees and love a gay Christmas movie if it can be just as bland as a straight Hollywood one.

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