Naughty & Nice
When L.A. shock-jock Pepper Sterling finally crosses the line, he’s sent packing to a tiny station in Colorado. But his new co-host, Sandy Love of “Dr. Love in the Morning”, wants nothing to do with his antics. Can the Christmas spirit help them get on the same frequency…or will there be dead air?
Opens w/ City Scene
Hate Becomes Love
Tree Buy & Trim
Public Domain Music
Sage Grandpa Figure
Ends w/ Kiss or Ring
This movie shows the full arc of the Christmas Cliché Hate Becomes Loves…Dr. Love, that is (if you can stomach that as a believable radio host name).
Suspending disbelief that small-town Colorado will pay for home-grown radio content, the movie brings us spicy Pepper, a L.A. radio D.J., banished to a sister station for bad behavior. He is paired with Sandra Love (Haylie Duff, always charming) to give advice to her radio callers, and their repartee increases ratings and their heartbeats. Mix in Marcia Brady as Sandy’s mother, a goofy radio sidekick, and Pepper’s almost overnight good-guy transformation, and you get a light-hearted, romantic story.
Where the problems lie: We check off 8 Christmas Clichés, including the classics Tree Buy & Trim and Sage Grandpa Figure (unexpectedly filled by Pepper’s LA “House Manager”). Yet all of those checked boxes feel shallow in total. You won’t even see a reference to Christmas until a young radio caller dons a Santa costume to ask a girl to a school dance. And when Pepper goes to Sandy’s house to decorate for Christmas, you will ask yourself “Why is there is no snow in Colorado? And is Pepper’s ever-present leather jacket really that warm?”
The chemistry between the two leads carries the movie. But that’s not enough to make it merry enough for our high Christmas standards.
Rob's Final Take: Not Very Merry
Look away for a minute and you’ll miss Pepper’s transformation from naughty to nice, or the barest mention of Christmas. Hence my advice: look away.
Jess's Final Take: Not Very Merry
This pains me, but the adorable snow angel scene doesn’t make up for the need to ask “Where’s Christmas?” 30 minutes into the movie.