Holly’s Holiday aka A Perfect Christmas

Certificate: PG
Running time: 100 mins
Director: Jim Fall
Starring: Claire Coffee, Ryan McPartlin, Gabrielle Dennis
Genre: Comedy, Fantasy, Romance
Country: USA

New York advertising executive and workaholic Holly Maddux has dreams of the perfect man.  Rushing between jobs one day she takes a knock, trip, and a fall landing heavily on the sidewalk below only to wake under the smile of her very own Mr. Perfect (a store mannequin come to life).  It isn’t long before Holly is swept away on a wave of emotion and conflict as she tries to figure out why perfect isn’t perfect for her.

Movies My Missus Made Me Watch continues and like Love at the Thanksgiving Day Parade and The Boy Who Saved Christmas there’s more wrong than right about Holly’s Holiday aka A Perfect Christmas.  "What could be wrong with Mannequin mixed with mistletoe?" I hear you scream, the answer…everything.

The first problem with this film, and it’s a big one, so big that it taints everything else throughout the entirety of the movie is logic.  I understand there’s a leap of faith, a suspension of disbelief that needs to be accepted in order for a film like this to work, that is not my problem.  My problem is that movies like this, like Mannequin, like Weird Science have genre expectations and their own causal logic that needs to be adhered to.  Put simply, you can’t make the rules and then instantly break them because it suits you (see Skew) but this is exactly what A Perfect Christmas does time and time again.  Exhibit A, B, and C if you will.  Once materialised on the impossibly clean streets of NYC Bo (played by Chuck’s Ryan McPartlin) takes Holly for dinner where he orders perfectly from the menu, later he takes Holly back to his loft apartment, before introducing Holly to his parents.  This genre of movie is, at heart, a fish out of water movie; there is comedy (and to an extent tension) in the fact that the mannequin/alien/mermaid, does not understand or adhere to our social expectations regarding behaviour yet Bo is not only fully versed but is actually one of the elite.  He has the perfect apartment, unbelievable for someone who is 1. made of wood, 2. non-existent prior to that day, and 3. shouldn’t have any concept of money or tenancy agreements because he’s made of wood!  And that’s breezing past the fact that he has parents…ridiculous.  Furthermore there’s the odd twist and turn towards the end of the movie which the protagonist is oblivious to that makes the entire concept redundant.

The other major problem is that Bo is a dick.  Not the I’m a dick because I’m secretly a Macy’s window mannequin kind of dick, just a dick.  It’s inconceivable to me how Holly could want to spend a second evening with him let alone the holidays and when he turns up at her home with the “in-laws” in tow she really should have been pulled a Fargo and dragged all three to the chipper.  This is not the only film we’ve watched recently in which the central characters have no chemistry and have major personality disorders.  It’s becoming commonplace for obnoxious characters in romantic comedies (comedies to be understood via the loosest sense of the word).  It’s almost startling.  I blame Stephanie Meyers and that James woman for the generation of little girls being raised with this you’re nothing special so just be grateful he likes you mentality, and it’s starting to appear in cinema albeit bad cinema.

Claire Coffee is non-descript to the point of coma inducing but Ryan McPartlin is really bad.  If his portrayal of Bo was a style choice then I’ll happily apologise but I don’t think I’m in danger of having to do that any time soon.  His expressions are either bland or manic, his presence on screen awkward and you will spend your entire time yelling that’s so not awesome every time he does…well, anything.  Gabrielle Dennis (as Deena) rounds off the misery with a wonderfully stereotypical performance as the "sassy" friend and all the while I try not to fashion a gun out of popcorn and a pint glass in order to shoot myself.

There is one great moment of comedy during a photo shoot involving model’s hands, something I’m certain was captured entirely by accident as the rest of the movie is an absolute abomination.  Rarely have I wanted to travel through time and burn the Edison Manufacturing Company to the ground, rarely have I wanted to puncture my pupils with a pair of stilettos, rarely has a film left me with so little Christmas cheer – even Rare Exports and Saint left me feel more festive!  This is an unmitigated mess from start to finish, everyone involved should be branded and banned from working together again.


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