Dec 11, 2014

Review: Hitched for the Holidays (2012)

It's exactly two weeks to Christmas now and here I am still watching TV movie tripe. I definitely want to up the quality the closer we get to Christmas, but I'm having a pretty good time laughing at this stuff anyway. For my sanity though I probably want to think about moving on to some other stuff pretty soon.

I don't know anyone in the cast of Hitched for the Holidays except for Marilu Henner, very loosely anyway. She's mostly known for the TV series Taxi from the late 70's, but I personally know her from some random talk show that  I saw my girlfriend watching. Apparently she has this super crazy memory or whatever which must make memorizing lines quite easy. Too bad it doesn't take a genius for anyone to memorize the lines in HftH.

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Genre: romance, family, comedy
Directed by: Michael Scott
Produced by: Harvey Kahn, Allen Lewis, Michael Moran, etc.
Written by: Gary Goldstein
Music by: James Jandrisch
Running time: 87 minutes
Production company: The Hallmark Channel, Hitching Road Productions, Front Street Pictures
Distributed by: The Hallmark Channel
Country: Canada
Language: English
Budget: N/A
Box office: N/A

IMDb entry
Rotten Tomatoes entry

Starring: Joseph Lawrence, Emily Hampshire, Linda Darlow, Marilu Henner, Serge Houde, L. Harvey Gold, Paula Shaw, Chris Gauthier, Christina Sicoli, Lisa Durupt, Kevin O'Grady, Rob LaBelle, Colin Lawrence, Alison Wandzura, Richard Keats, Joe Costa, Cam Cronin, Tobias Slezak

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Synopsis


A year after a New Year's engagement breakup, Julie (Emily Hampshire) is fed up of her mother (Marilu Henner) trying to set her up with ex-boyfriends. She decides to try and find someone on Ricky's List to be her date for holiday parties. Rob (Joseph Lawrence) has a similar problem. He's had a lot of trouble being in a relationship for any amount of time and his grandmother's (Paula Shaw) dying wish is to meet the woman he'll marry on day. He too turns to Ricky's List to find that lucky lady.

Review


It's definitely an overly schmaltzy set up with the whole dying grandmother angle, but it's hardly the worst schmaltz offense that Hitched for the Holidays commits. What bothers me more about this start is just how pedestrian and stereotypical it all is. Couldn't Gary Goldstein have done a bit of a better job at differentiating his script from other romantic comedies, or at least from other Hallmark Christmas movies?

Julie has an overbearing mother who wants her to dress better? Haven't I seen this before in another Hallmark movie? They all seem to be blending in together so I can't really pick out which one it is. Rob also happens to be that guy who can't seem to find the right girl and has a family that is all pushy about getting a ring on some girl. None of this is original in any way, but I shouldn't really be expecting any different I suppose.

Even more frustrating is the whole Christianity/Jewish religions thing that Goldstein tries to make funny. Rob tells his parents that he's converting to Judaism for Julie and they decide that the best thing to do is to put up as many Jewish decorations as they can and pretend they're celebrating Hanukkah with the wrong menorahs and a Hanukkah tree. Can't forget to mention that the whole family are wearing kippahs, even the women. It's just cringe inducing stuff.

Where I'll give credit to Goldstein is that he actually puts in a half decent relationship building scene for Julie and Rob during the Christmas Eve sleepover at Rob's parents' house. It's ruined by a single line though, but I do think that Joseph Lawrence himself deserves a fair bit of the blame there. He never seems to be able to get his delivery right and ruins a handful of other scenes as well. On the other hand, I'd say that Emily Hampshire manages to be alright from start to finish.

There are some other really schmaltzy moments with Rob's family in particular that are pretty much just there to add a whole lot of drama where there doesn't need to be. That's when the switch is turned onto "every romantic comedy movie ever made." I'm warning you, you might as well stop the movie at this point because it's no surprise what happens next. If I tell you that it involves a horse on New Year's Eve near Times Sqaure I'm sure you can imagine exactly what happens. That's how predictable Hitched for the Holidays is.

There's really no need for anyone to watch Hitched for The Holidays. I watched it and I can tell you that with all honesty. You're totally welcome, it's my duty after all. The only reason why you should watch HftH is if you like predictability, uncreative attempts at humour and TV schmaltz at its worst. I'm sure there are people out there who will get a kick out of Hitched like the 70 people who gave this movie a 10/10 on IMDb at the time of writing this, but I'd like to think that most of those people are employees over at Hallmark.

Rating


4/10