Cheesy And Formulaic With None Of The Christmas Charm
There are two types of people this time of year – those who can’t wait for Christmas and those dreading the festive season. Netflix Original The Holiday Calendar unintentionally tries to dissuade those looking forward to Christmas with a bland, uninspiring story and formulaic characters. Despite a weak attempt to inject the film with some magic, The Holiday Calendar is a great film to get you out of the Christmas spirit and into a Scrooge-sized grump.
The story begins Abby (Kat Graham), a woman struggling to find love while working as a humble photographer. As December looms, Abby’s Grandpa (played by the charming-as-always Ron Cephas Jones) gives her an advent calendar, unbeknown to her that it has magic powers and each day predicts the future. Apparently. As the days count down. each door opens to reveal a trinket or figure that ties to Abby’s life as she stumbles into a love triangle between two men, suave Ty (Ethan Peck) and work colleague Josh (Quincy Brown). What follows is a by-the-numbers romance that ticks all the genre’s clichéd plot points while stumbling through December convinced the calendar is predicting her future.
If this all seems a little far-fetched and unbelievable, it is. The film lacks the necessary magic to really pull off its premise and unlike films like Miracle on 34th Street or The Santa Clause, The Holiday Calendar feels lazily slapped together with far too many coincidences and eye-rolling moments to make you believe in the calendar’s power. From carol singers to a ring of holly, the figures are far too simple where perhaps a more specific example (like a blue boy wearing a red jacket holding a yellow candle) may have been a better option.
Perhaps the idea could have been overlooked if The Holiday Calendar featured likeable characters to get behind but aside from Josh and Grandpa, the rest of the characters border on unbearable. Abby, in particular, is a morally misguided, hypocritical woman who’s incredibly difficult to empathise with. One such example sees her abandon her friends for Ty whom she meets several days before only to use her looks and flirting to get back in Josh’s good books when things go awry. This alone would be bad enough but several days later Josh makes a genuine mistake and Abby gives him the cold shoulder for it. It’s moments like this that make The Holiday Calendar a difficult film to watch and one you’ll be unlikely to re-watch in a hurry.
In the run up to Christmas, The Holiday Calendar is the perfect film to get you out of the holiday cheer. The bland, painfully predictable story rests precariously on its magical calendar premise that just never seems believable. While the film throws as many Christmas references as possible to hide this, it lacks the one component to truly make it feel like a Christmas film – the magical charm. By the end on the film it’s doubtful you’ll even care who Abby chooses in her quest for love and it’s even more doubtful you’ll ever return to this one after watching it. Bah humbug Netflix, The Holiday Calendar is not the way to begin your Christmas countdown.