Review: Holidate (15)

Sophie Hicks reviews Netflix's first entry in the new festive season

Sophie Hicks
12th November 2020
Christmas is just around the corner, and Netflix is starting to bombard us with subpar festive rom-coms to make us feel something again, after the disaster that was 2020. Is the Holidate (2020) worth watching? To be honest, it is so forgettable that I genuinely can't tell you.

The Holidate, as the name suggests, revolves around having a significant other for the holidays so your family don't constantly second-guess your life decisions, frantically trying to get you to meet someone they approve of at an awkward dinner. Emma Roberts, playing a character called Sloane, is sick of this situation. In comes Jackson, a generically attractive Australian played by Luke Bracey, to save the day.

Image: IMDb

As you can guess, the film starts with the 'girl and guy don't really like each other, but agree to help each other' trope, and then the rest of the film is 'they start to actually like each other, oh crap.' Throughout the film they have their trials and tribulations, to eventually realising that they like each other and want to be together for more than just the holidays. Pretty standard for a rom-com, it's certainly nothing new or inventive, but a feel-good narrative that we all probably need right now.

I went into this film knowing it was going to be bad (with a name like Holidate it can't be good) and somehow I was still left disappointed. Not because it was offensively bad, it was just painfully forgettable. I am struggling to remember any major plot points. I think at one stage they tried to do the cliché Dirty Dancing catch, and even that was the worst interpretation of that scene that I've ever seen. Unlike films like Crazy, Stupid, Love (2011) where they make it humorous, self-aware of its clichéd nature, this film puts the spin on it by making Sloane's dress strap break. Wow, so funny, so creative.

I knew from the title alone what would happen, and somehow, someway, I was underwhelmed. Maybe it's because I'm not in the Christmas mood (which doesn't massively matter with this movie because it shows every festive season imaginable), or maybe it's because the characters just have so little depth, it's painfully boring.

I think the main issue (aside from a major lack of character development) is the pacing.

The main characters don't even have last names. Actually, none of the characters have last names. Sloane and Jackson don't have many hobbies or even likeable qualities- their entire reason for existing within this narrative is so they can end up with each other. Enjoy your sad vanilla relationship, Sloane and Jackson.

I've been trying to figure out why this film doesn't work for me. I'm not averse to romantic festive trash - I usually eat it up. I think the main issue (aside from a major lack of character development) is the pacing. The film takes five minutes to set up the initial plot, within eight minutes the protagonists meet, and then the rest of the film is just the same plot at different seasons. I literally remember thinking "How is there still an hour left?". Any conflict at all is quickly resolved in a neat bow, leaving no tension or stakes at all within the film.

If you're looking for a film where you don't have to concentrate, this is the film for you. If you're looking for something that makes you feel warm and fuzzy, I recommend anything else.

Rating: 2/5

Featured Image: YouTube

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AUTHOR: Sophie Hicks
Former TV Sub-Editor for The Courier and BA Media Communication and Cultural Studies graduate

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