Yeah, I told you I was scraping the barrel for Christmas films, didn’t I? It was in fact my wife who brought this one to me, purely because she likes both of the leads from their previous work. (Specifically 90210 and One Tree Hill.) Fair enough, right? Who hasn’t devoted too much of their time to film and television just because they like one of the stars in it? Thankfully, this one turned out to be the okay kind of terrible, so it flew by (90 minutes!) before either of us had the chance to get bored.
Weirdly, this is only one of three movies with Jessica Lowndes and Chad Michael Murray at the helm, two of which are specifically Christmas TV movies. Why are they suddenly straight-to-TV movie stars, you ask? I honestly have no idea. (Apparently, Lowndes has actually been in a grand total of six Hallmark movies at this point, so… maybe she just enjoys making them? Alas, I digress…)
Too Close For Christmas could not be more basic in its plot. Set amongst a snowy backdrop, Lowndes plays Hayley, an event planner who actually has no plans of her own for the holidays. As a last resort, she accepts in invitation to spend Christmas with her sister’s new in-laws, including her brother-in-law’s brother, whom she is not too fond of. The brother is played by Murray, and what do you know? The pair of them end up getting stuck together and are forced to spend time with one another. Bet you can guess what happens in the end…
Three words to describe this movie? Cringey, predictable, unoriginal… and yet, I didn’t actually mind it. Must be Christmastime! ‘Tis the season to be forgiving and all that.
With Lowndes and Murray in the two main roles, you could certainly do worse with one of these cheesy Hallmark-style movies, that’s for sure. Though this is clearly not their best work, they do try to at least make their characters realistic and endearing. You could actually go as far to say as they’re fully fleshed out, actually, and both of them (Lowndes in particular) manage to foster some proper character development here.
Okay, so the story is… honestly the most expected and least surprising thing you’ll ever see. There’s conflict, there’s the age old “will they won’t they?” question (spoiler: you know they will) and there’s a lot of fluffy, uplifting Christmas scenes. The dialogue is God awful at times too, yet somehow not as terrible as other rom-com Christmas films. Basically, this is the bare minimum in terms of scriptwriting and it gets the job done just fine… but that’s all it is. Just fine.
I really don’t have much more to say about this to be honest. I won’t ever think about it again but you know what? It’s definitely not the worst Christmas film I’ve ever seen. However, let me warn you that if you feel like you’ve exhausted Elf and Home Alone to the maximum, it may be time to reconsider that notion.
Too Close For Christmas is available to stream on Sky Cinema and Now TV in the UK.
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