New to Netflix today is the romantic festive film, Christmas With You. The movie – directed by Gabriela Tagliavini – stars Freddie Prinze Jr., Aimee Garcia, and Deja Monique Cruz, and follows the story of a pop star who finds inspiration to write a new Christmas song, after spending time in a small town with a young girl and her father.
In the movie, Angelina Costa is a singer who has experienced a great deal of success in her career; however, in recent times her star status has begun to wane. Angelina is no longer considered to be the ‘hot new act’ she once was, and unless she can find a way to connect with the younger generation, she’ll find herself being side-lined by new singers who rule the roost on TikTok.
To help boost her career, Angelina’s manager suggests she write a Christmas song. A holiday hit did wonders for Mariah Carey, and he feels it could do the same for her too.
But Angelina isn’t convinced about the song, and instead believes she needs to come up with a new plan to increase her popularity. This plan involves meeting up with one of her fans, Cristina, who she discovered on social media, in the hopes this encounter will go viral and put her back in the spotlight.
However, upon meeting Cristina, as well as her father, Miguel, Angelina begins to rethink her position on the Christmas tune. And with the help of Miguel, maybe she can write the perfect festive song, and possibly find some romance along the way.
Cheesier than a wedge of gorgonzola, which has been rubbed against a block of stilton, and tossed into a fondue, Christmas With You is a holiday movie high on twinkly lights, but not a lot else. The movie is very much a run-of-the-mill affair, low on budget (and even lower on original ideas), which relies heavily on the audience’s ability to accept any old tosh at this time of the year, simply because it is the season to forgive all sins.
In fairness, Christmas With You is not awful, but it’s also not very good either. The whole thing plays like a cheap television movie, with a script that feels as if it was written for Jennifer Lopez, but when the money couldn’t stretch that far, Aimee Garcia and Freddie Prinze Jr. were drafted in instead.
To be fair to the actors, they do their best with the material they are given, but there’s really not much to work with here. As such, they play things by the numbers, in order to fulfil the brief, so they can make it to the end of the picture without ruining anyone’s Christmas.
The only time the movie shows signs of offering up anything remotely interesting, is when it (very briefly) touches upon the subject of death and grief. Both Angelina and Cristina have lost their mothers prior to the events of the film, and this is something which adds a little depth to the story.
Sadly, this aspect of the film is glossed over far too quickly, with the movie preferring to lean more heavily into a romance between the two lead stars – but it’s a romance that exists largely on paper and nothing else. I’ve seen more chemistry in a high school science lab, and certainly more chemical reactions.
Angelina and Miguel gravitate toward each other, because that is what it says in the script. But there’s no magnetism or spark, just two people drawn into each other’s world through a plot contrivance.
If you’re someone who loves Christmas movies of all shapes and sizes, even the predictable generic ones, then you may find something of worth in Christmas With You. It certainly won’t knock your stockings off, nor is it the gift that keeps on giving, but you may find it goes down well with a mince pie or two.
As for anyone else, unless you have a strong love for Christmas AND Freddie Prinze Jr. movies, I suggest you swerve this one. Watch The Muppet Christmas Carol for the 497th time instead, because the love story between a mild-mannered frog and a short-tempered pig with someone’s hand up its arse is far more convincing.
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