That time of year is approaching once again, and to celebrate early, Netflix debuted Christmas movie “The Holiday Calendar” on Nov. 2.
Although you may be excited for the Christmas season, please do not clear your own calendars to set up a time to watch this movie. “The Holiday Calendar” is on par with any cheesy Hallmark movie in terms of its plot and characterizations and fails to hold audiences’ attention. The movie is about a young, struggling photographer named Abby Sutton (Kat Graham) who receives a magical Advent calendar from her grandfather (Ron Cephas Jones, also known for his role as William in “This Is Us”). Each day, a new door on the calendar opens, and a little toy comes out. The little toys are connected to events that happen in Abby’s everyday life. For example, she receives a toy pair of boots on day one, and her friend gives her boots as a gift that same day.
While the movie is titled after this calendar, the main plot of the movie actually revolves around Abby getting together romantically with her long-time friend Josh, who has just returned to their hometown after traveling the world.
My main gripe is that the movie is filled with unnecessary, contrived subplots that don’t work well together overall. For instance, Abby starts dating a guy named Ty after she thinks the calendar is trying to bring them together. Ty is an impossibly perfect man and an incredibly flat character. He’s almost annoying in his “perfection,” and maybe he actually is magical, because no one like this exists in real life. He and Abby only date for about ten days, which translates to just 15-20 minutes of screen time. Audiences can tell that this plot is clearly just an artificial device that the filmmakers use to extend the “action” before ending the movie in the way that everyone already knows it’s going to end with Abby and Josh together.
Additionally, there is another subplot in which Josh accidentally erases some very important photos, photos which might be Abby’s “big break,” from Abby’s memory card. This subplot was unrealistic and dumb. Josh is also a photographer, so he would know how to prevent an oversight like this, and, if you’re trying to win over the girl you like, wouldn’t you be super careful when she entrusts you with something so important? Because of Josh’s carelessness, Abby gets fired from her job and then gets mad at Josh.
But don’t worry, things (of course) turn out unbelievably well for them. Josh’s travel blog has apparently made him rich, so he can afford to buy Abby the photo studio/gallery that she has always dreamed of.
The titular “holiday calendar” does not truly play a major role in bringing Josh and Abby together. What’s even worse is that Abby’s preoccupation with the toys and how they relate to her life makes her seem obsessed. And sadly, there is not even any humor in “The Holiday Calendar” to save it. If this movie had one plot with more realistic or sensical subplots that complicated this goal, I think that it would have flowed better and made the characters more likeable and interesting.
But maybe a sugar-sweet, simplistic film is what Netflix is going for? After checking the movie details on the site, I noticed that Netflix lists “The Holiday Calendar” as one of its “movies for ages 11-12.” But am I really supposed to believe that even an 11- or 12-year-old would buy into this and be interested in the romantic plights of a struggling photographer around the holidays? That even they would enjoy this crazy, poorly constructed Christmas movie?
I just hope that there could be more believable, interesting, age-appropriate Christmas films made for adults and young people. Only time will tell if such films can actually be made. And in the meantime, please do not watch this movie.
Stephanie Santillo is a staff writer for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.