Another review, another spoiler or two:
Marci is a high powered ad exec whose cousin begs her to come home for Christmas before she (cousin) goes off on a 5 year mission. It is… unclear why Marci won’t come home aside from being Very Busy. Apparently she loves her family. She relents and asks her employee, hunky Adam (what is it with this name?) to come with her to continue their Very Busy work, paying his airfare and doubling his Xmas bonus.
When they get home, the family (at least the female side, known as the “Chandler Women” – a title I seriously lost count of how many times they used it) barrages them with so many questions, demanding so much information about their relationship, that Adam blurts out that they are getting married. Everyone is delighted and Adam and Marci agree to pretend to be married in order to keep the holidays pleasant. After a casual suggestion from an aunt (ONE OF THE CHANDLER WOMEN) Adam realizes that if he marries Marci, he could become a partner in her growing business. So we see him call an unidentified person and talk about how he’s going to set this up to become her partner.
Enter Blair, also hunky, next door neighbor, childhood nemesis, and good friend of the family (not Marci tho). He is very clearly still in the hair-pulling stage of being in love with Marci, and is dating another woman who has one side: queen bitch. Seriously, writers. We know they’re the rivals, but at least show us a reason why romance target dude is with her in the first place! I mean, this woman arrives as Blair’s date to a big dinner at Marci’s family’s house, looks at Marci, and calls her “Mousy.” Who does that? With the target’s whole family watching? And what family would allow her woman to break bread at their table after that? Remember, writers. Successful evil characters are subtle. They don’t call names.
Regardless, the CHANDLER WOMEN and the men have their teasing and their adventures and they’re clearly one big happy family, except for Mom, who’s showing signs of a blood draw and limping a little. But don’t worry about her, she’s just glad her baby is home.
Marci discovers that the big client she’s trying to land is actually scum, and Blair is representing the whistleblowers in court. Adam presses to keep the client, Marci has to Make The Right Decision. Adam leaves in a huff.
As for tension, there’s not much. Even when Adam leaves (stealing a peach cobbler in the process, again, what is the logic here? Do you think you can eat that whole thing on the way to the airport? Do you think you can take that with you on the plane? Your spite is stupid, Adam.) it doesn’t feel that tense. When Blair and Marci declare their love, it’s not that tense. But it’s a tolerable movie. I could watch it, and there are some that can’t pass that test.
Flaws: HOLY SHIT WALMART PAID A BUCKETFUL OF MONEY TO SPONSOR THIS MOVIE. They had Wal-Mart shopping bags, they talked about Christmas shopping there, when the family went to get a tree, Adam asked why they just didn’t go get one at Wal-Mart. Stop hitting us over the head with it. Character-wise, while Blair’s girlfriend (I can’t even remember her name, and her character isn’t worth the effort to look it up) was another cardboard bitch, antagonist Adam was interesting with different facets ultimately showing a rotten mercenary underside.
This movie did do two things I didn’t expect: While the career-woman lost her big client because she had to do the right thing, and she got together with the boy next door, she didn’t necessarily give up her job as an ad exec. It was very clear that she had found what she was good at and loved doing it. Also, and I’ll leave this one thing unspoiled, the sub-sub plot about the Mom’s health was an honest surprise.
Stars: No one I recognized, although one woman did look like Jackee, but was too young.
Closeness to Christmas Carol: 0
Is Christmas Saved?: I guess. Was it ever threatened?
Wal-Mart References: 5
“The Chandler Women” References: Let’s just say in drinking game terms, you’d be dead.