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Friday, December 24, 2021

Toying With the Holidays 2021 * * 1/2 Stars


I reviewed many Lifetime movies circa the year 2020. Toying with the Holidays is my first Xmas write-up for good old '21. Christmas Day is getting closer so well, it's time again. 

Anyway Toying with the Holidays sort of "toys" with the audience. I mean it's not intentional but you figure the film could've been a tad shorter (I always thought Lifetime yuletide flicks clocked in at 90 minutes). A slow burn, cutesy drama that didn't really have anything at stake? Yeah I got through it. 

So OK, Toying with the Holidays follows the Lifetime holiday blueprint down to its nub. You got the two leads (male and female) who initially have conflict. You have one of the leads saddled with a relative who passed away. You have the same female lead going back to her hometown to predictably save Christmas. Lastly, you have that final smooch at the end which could've happened a heck of a lot sooner. I mean c'mon, just kiss the girl dude!

Toying with the Holidays is a December release that looks about as Christmassy as you can get. I mean every frame could be a postcard from the snowcaps of the North Pole. Watching "Holidays", you secretly wonder if the filmmakers decided to open up a year-long Noel shop between jobs. Heck, "ho ho ho" feels like a regularly scheduled thang.  

Taking place in a fictional town in Illinois and featuring two appealing actors (Chad Michael Murray, Cindy Busby) who I guess have perfectly placed hair, Toying with the Holidays takes the cheese factor and the wraith of Frank Capra and applies it to the concept of resurrecting old-world, model trains. Murray squints, Busby looks good in jeans, the town gets drowned in eggnog, and everybody lives happily ever after. My ka, well it got a full helping of saccharine and glace. 

Written by Jesse Burleson

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