This review for A Holiday Engagement almost didn’t get written. Why? Well, that’s what we’re here to talk about.
In any form of storytelling, one of the worst thing you can do is stumble out of the blocks. If your beginning turns off the audience (in this case, me), then the odds of them sticking through to the end are pretty low. Well we start off with a narcissicist finance who want our lead character, Hillary Burns (Bonnie Sommerville), do abandon any hope of an independent life and adopt as her sole job that of loyal and obedient (and totally subservient) wife.
This struck a personal chord. I’ve been a lifelong feminist and I’ve known a few women in real life who bought into this situation only to find themselves abandoned and alone in a strange city a few months later. So, on that level, I immediately was sour on this movie. That Hillary’s family echoed her fiance’s point of view—that the man validates the woman—didn’t help.
Adding to the story woes were a small group of characters that were meant to be endearingly quirky but instead came off as the writer trying too hard to create characters that were quirky. They didn’t seem organic to the sometimes endearing family eccentricities that were there.
That said, the primary characters of Hillary, the actor playing Jason: David (Jordan Bridges), Hillary’s mom Meredith (Shelley Long), and even Hillary’s sister Trish (Haylie Duff) did develop through the movie to be characters the audience could identify with…just not in quite the depth you’d hope for or as soon as we deserve.
I often say that a movie is good but not great. This one is more in the “it’s not that good but not quite bad” arena. You can make it through. Also, like I said, I brought my own baggage to the film, so your meterage may vary. The thing is, there are several other holiday fake finace movies that will be more satisfying than this one.
|3 of 5|
Photo: Copyright 2011 Crown Media Networks, Inc./ Photographer Jess Reynolds
For more movies, go to the list at: Watching the Holiday Movies