Folks, we’re inching our way closer to Christmas day and TMP’s holiday spirit is in full swing. In fact, it has been since before Thanksgiving, so today’s Modern Movies post is the “Holiday Cheer” edition — two newer holiday films that I watched in November.
As a reminder, TMP will be celebrating the season with Eight Days of Christmas, eight reviews of classic holiday films beginning December 18, a week from today. In the meantime, check out the mini-reviews below to get festive, and see yesterday’s 12 Days of Classics post (which isn’t super Christmas-y, but a “12 Days of Christmas” knock-off that deserves a shameless plug).
Holiday Engagement (2011) – Waiting for my “Eight Days of Christmas” DVD purchases to arrive, I was in the mood to start watching holiday movies, so I hopped on Netflix and found this one. I went in with pretty low expectations — it seemed to be one of those made for TV cheesers that really only works if you’re chin-deep in holiday spirit. Holiday Engagement tells the story of Hillary (Bonnie Somerville), who loses her job and her fiancé just days before heading home for Thanksgiving. Rather than ‘fessing up to her family, she hires an actor (Jordan Bridges) to come home with her and play her fiancé — which, of course, leads to complications. I was in the right mood for Holiday Engagement, so I enjoyed it a lot. It’s got a fair bit of corn but did get a few laughs out of me. The leads are pretty likable. The story is pretty predictable, but it is a rom-com, after all. As a bonus, there’s a little Brady Bunch Movie reunion: Shelley Long plays Hillary’s mom and Jennifer Elise Cox (who was brilliant as Jan in the Brady parody movies) makes a cameo in a wedding dress shop.
Love the Coopers (2015) – Lots of cute puppy bonuses and classic film clip cheers for this otherwise-mediocre holiday film. Steve Martin’s narration is nice and I like the concept of the film — exploring the doom and gloom in the lives of different family members amidst the cheer of the Christmas season. There are a few dumb “Let’s gross out the viewer because gross is funny, right?” moments that the film could certainly do without, as it does have several genuinely interesting and touching scenes. With a few tweaks to the script and a more even tone it could have been quite good!