Ewan Gleadow

Movie Review: Holidate

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Copyright: Netflix

For many, Christmas is a season of goodwill and family. A time to reflect on an often horrid, difficult year, and to prepare for it all over again. Time stops for no man, except maybe Bono. For me, Christmas is all about waiting around for the first twenty-four days of the month, having my birthday on the 25th, and then waiting for it all over again. I’m delaying the inevitable, because to prepare yourself to get into the nitty-gritty of Holidate is to, more or less, ruin Christmas for yourself. I’m not sure who or what the target audience is for this latest film from John Whitesell, but, unbelievably, it has found a large one on Netflix.  

I vaguely remember Emma Roberts appearing in something not horribly terrible, it may have been The Hunt or We’re the Millers, mere relics of the mind as I creep toward old age. She shows nothing of the skillset she picked up in either of those lukewarm films through Holidate, but you can’t blame her. Nobody is going to bring their best to a cheesy Netflix stocking-filler, a film one step in the wrong direction away from being brandished with the Hallmark tag. Roberts brings us that fascinatingly dull hatred of Christmas, and I bring my inevitable hatred of cliché Christmas filler.  

Alongside her is Luke Bracey, another one for the good-looking, bad-acting variety that pools together Johnny Flynn and Bracey. Actors who’ll bubble up to the surface for two or three years, and back down they go, back to the prison of obscurity they somehow escaped. To give this cast some form of commiseration, Bracey and Roberts have solid chemistry. They carry the weight of this film as best they can, but the inevitably slick and slimy message at the core of the film is underwhelming, half-baked, and something we’ve all seen before.  

Holidate uses its titular word in a way that strikes me as unironic and lacking embarrassment. I feel the embarrassment for all involved, though, another film that saps the Christmas spirit and churns it into hating your family, hating your friends, and hating a season of goodwill. It’s devoid of actual humour, rather it plays up stereotypes ingrained in the mind of the average Netflix user, which brings a fresh level of hell to the field. A platonic relationship that inevitably blossoms into something more than either were expecting, with the intrepid highs and lows all there for us to swoon, cry, and applaud. Absolute nonsense of the highest order, I’d rather Pritt-stick my eyes shut again.