Thursday, November 17, 2022

Christmas with You: Movie Review

Familiar Christmas rom-com with Latin flair.
Christmas with You is another Netflix Christmas romance but this time with a Latin flair. All of the main characters and actors are Latino-American and the story is centered around a girl’s quinceaƱera, but otherwise it’s a movie you’ve seen before and in typical Netflix fashion, very exaggerated. Angelina (Aimee Garcia) is a pop star, and supposedly one of the most famous pop stars on the planet.   2022

Directed by: Gabriela Tagliavini

Screenplay by: Paco Farias, Jennifer C. Stetson,
and German Michael Torres

Starring: Aimee Garcia, Freddie Prinze Jr.

But Angelina is quickly seeing her fame crumble because she’s now too old and out of touch and they are already replacing her with a younger pop star. I’m not a fan of how exaggerated everything within the music industry and surrounding Angelina is; everything is larger-than-life and extreme and is taken farther than necessary.

To save her career, Angelina decides to make one fan’s dream come true. She’s going to show up at her high school and take a selfie, all to the dismay of Angelina’s manager. In pop star comedy land, Angelina shows up at this high school wearing this flamboyant fake feathery sweater thing over the top of a skin-tight black outfit, and why, yes, the movie does pause often to make sure we get the joke. We’d still get the joke even if they toned that down a lot. And in Christmas romance land, the pop star suddenly finds that she’s stuck in this small town because it’s snowing and it’s too dangerous to drive. Of course, she’s also in designer heels and has to climb out of her black SUV into a snowbank.

The whole set-up for the movie is so exaggerated and corny, that there aren’t many laughs to be found. But the movie does build into something sweet. Freddie Prinze Jr is back in a rom-com for the first time in years. He is playing a single dad to a teenager daughter; it's a realistically lived-in character that isn't over-done. He’s a music teacher at the high school, he lives with his telenovela obsessed mother and his musically-inclined daughter. His wife passed away years ago, but he isn’t an overly sad widower, he’s just an every-day guy. Unfortunately though there is almost no chemistry between Miguel and Angelina. They're a sweet couple but the romance can't carry the film.

Unlike the beginning of the movie, the contrast between famous pop-star and everyday guy isn’t as exaggerated as it could be. I mean, it is played up for sure, but more to the level where it’s cute and enjoyable rather than annoying.

For a movie about music there is a lack of music. There are only two songs performed in the entire movie. The namesake original song is the pinnacle. Aimee Garcia performs Christmas with You while decked out in a dazzling sparkling green dress (the costuming really is gorgeous, especially this dress but also Cristina’s quinceaƱera Cinderella dress). We always need more new Christmas songs to help diversify the annual line-up, so I hope that this song gets more play, but I’m not sure it’s going to be memorable enough outside the movie for that to happen.

The plot is exactly as you would predict, and while it is very exaggerated early on, it does settle into a cute, sweet, occasionally fun Christmas rom-com, but weak comedy and romance. The Latin flair – especially the latin dance feel in the titular Christmas song – is good.

Want a different Christmas movie or just more holiday-themed movies? Holiday Movies