Holiday In Handcuffs
All Trudie wants is her family’s acceptance. But when her job, boyfriend, and hair all frizz out on the same day, she only has one option: kidnap a handsome stranger, bring him home for Christmas, and pretend that everything is perfect. Will she got caught in her lie and end up (in) solitary…or throw herself on the mercy of a courtship?
Hate Becomes Love
Kooky Grandma Figure
Tree Buy & Trim
Surprise! Xmas Lights
Ice Skating Scene
Ends w/ Kiss or Ring
Since the beginning of our made-for-TV Christmas movie viewing, “Holiday in Handcuffs” has been on our list. It could be the familiar cast. Perhaps it’s the title: provocative yet seasonal. Or maybe it’s because it’s been around since 2007—there hasn’t been a lot of competition in the genre until the past few years.
Regardless of the reason, we’ve watched this movie countless times. Watching it with our Review Hats on made us question if it’s indeed a “classic.”
Trudie Chandler (Melissa Joan Hart, frantic and delightful) is always a disappointment to her parents. So when her boyfriend dumps her minutes before he’s supposed to meet her family for Christmas, Trudie has a “slight psychotic break” and kidnaps David (hunky Mario Lopez) at gunpoint so he’ll pose as her boyfriend. The original Hate Becomes Love.
The plot is shockingly plausible given the family’s “No Phone Rule,” the snowy cabin miles from town, and Trudie playing “Key Master” to keep cars stalled and family-togetherness at its highest. Hence David’s decision to play along and make the family fall in love with him. Too bad things like the Tree Buy & Trim, an Ice Skating Scene, and some bonding over gift lists for Santa change his plans…and his heart.
What makes this movie stand out from the rest is the saucy nature of the dialogue. Rarely do these movies talk about…shhh…sex…and this one embraces the topic with some of the funniest scenes at the local gas station. It also portrays family confrontations in a realistic nature: politics and passive putdowns. Not exactly joyful, but it feels honest given our mess of a main character.
The biggest problem (for Jess, not Rob) is the resolution. The how isn’t the issue—it’s the when. If our characters wait until Valentine’s Day to talk about real emotions rather than doing it under twinkle lights and falling snow, is it even a Christmas movie?
Give these charismatic actors a chance but not around children. The fuzzy handcuffs in the promo photos are a plot point you’d probably not like to explain on Christmas.
Rob's Final Take: Merry
This movie slips a bit with each re-watch, but our two leads are just too much fun to skip it. ‘Cuff yourself to the TV for 90 minutes and enjoy!
Jess's Final Take: Not Very Merry
I’ll watch this again, no question. But if I’m honest, the tone is a little mean and the climax occurs months after Christmas. There are laughs but no holiday joy.