Holidate has several cliched plot points that you would expect to find in romantic comedies of the early 2000s, but it’s this very familiarity that made it enjoyable for me.
Emma Roberts and Luke Bracey | Netflix
Last Updated: 11.22 AM, Dec 08, 2021
Winters in North India, at least the NCR region, teeter between being incessantly smoggy and gloomy and occasionally bright, sunny and rejuvenating. Seasonal affective disorder hits most of us, making it difficult to find even an ounce of motivation to get work done. So, don’t be hard on yourself, take that break. After a long day of toil, you deserve to bundle up under covers and get that dose of R&R.
For this activity, may I recommend Holidate, a rom-com starring Emma Roberts and Luke Bracey, who run into each other at the mall, decide to accompany each other on every holiday from Christmas to Thanksgiving to Mother’s Day but without any strings attached? It’s not even hard to predict that the two would end up together because that much was obvious from the start. There's a meet-cute, there's a mutual aversion for each other (pure pretence, the leads are obviously keeping it cool), and because the stakes are low they are free to act around each other without any inhibitions.
Roberts plays a cranky, cynical 30-year-old single Sloane whose family keeps hounding her for being single over every holiday. Bracey is Jackson, a golf pro/coach from Australia who is not exactly lucky in love either. Their hare-brained scheme to hit each other upon any special occasion works for long enough until they realise they can no longer remain platonic.
Roberts and Bracey share a convincing enough chemistry, and they are incredibly (and conventionally) attractive, so that's a plus. There is no moment that's languid or laborious, the story moves at a fast pace. Besides the leads, aiding the narrative are Sloane's colourful family — a sister Abby (Jessica Capshaw) with four kids and a dedicated husband Peter (Alex Moffat), a younger brother York (Jake Manley) who after a whirlwind romance marries his girlfriend Liz (Cynthy Wu), a nagging mother Elaine (Frances Fisher), and an aunt Susan (Kristen Chenoweth) who has a new date everything we see her. There's also Jackson's friend Neil (King Beech), his agony aunt and friend in need who only appears briefly in the story, mostly to provide laughs and giggles with his quips.
Holidate concludes on a positive note, with everyone finding love or the ones are already taken settling into their relationships for the better. Happily-ever-afters are what makes a rom-com, a rom-com; though I don’t quite agree with the notion that being single is a fatal flaw or makes a woman incomplete. The film has several cliched plot points that you would expect to find in romantic comedies of the early 2000s, but it’s this very familiarity that made it enjoyable for me. If you can shove these issues aside, the film becomes instantaneously pleasant, even delightful.
My favourite part is the end when Sloane makes a grand declaration of her love for Jackson in the middle of a bustling mall, and a choir group lends a hand, and the rest of the people gush and watch on. It’s a dumb, dopey moment that, I am not afraid to admit, filled me with warmth and put a smile on my face. That’s exactly the point of holiday movies, isn’t it? I feel better, even though I’m unsure how long this will last. But no worries, there’s always another holiday movie waiting to be watched to get me, and hopefully you, out of Gloomtown.
Holidate is not a movie that exists to move you or ignite a deep discussion on cinema, it's just there to make you feel warm and toasty on the inside.
Holidate is streaming on Netflix.