Nicky’s parents are super pumped about Christmas. Like, obsessed. Like, levels of enthusiasm approaching sickness. Nicky refers to it as OCD – obsessive Christmas disorder, but Nicky better watch her mouth as Target recently caught heat for selling a sweater that said the same. Insensitive to those who suffer from the actual disorder, they say, and nobody is as good at fixating on things as those afflicted with OCD, so in they end they triumphed over their oppressors; Target apologized and removed the offensive items from their shelves.
Anyway, Christmas has basically ruined Nicky’s whole childhood, so to her, it is serious, year round business. She rebels by taking up the tuba (please do not ask me the logic behind this), and improbably, she meets a fellow music nerd at band camp. Ahem. Tanner is super cute and they manage to keep up their long-distance relationship all through the fall. But come winter, Tanner wonders if he and his father might come out to California for a visit. Tanner’s dad has a heartbreak triggered by the holidays, so they keep things super low-key. Up until now, Nicky has managed to keep her family’s affliction to herself, but a visit is pretty much game over.
Logic being Nicky’s strong suit, she decides the only thing to be done is to use the empty house where she’s cat-sitting, hire actors to play her parents, and create a fake Christmas with which to trick her boyfriend. The auditions alone are enough to convinece you of just how bad an idea this is, but Nicky is young and optimistic, which is the nice way of saying stupid, and they go full steam ahead with a plan that backfires harder than Santa’s sleigh after the reindeer annual chili cookoff.
The trio of young actors – Juliette Angelo, Kirrilee Berger, Javier Bolanos – are actually pretty watchable. My holiday movie standards are super low after overdosing on Hallmark trash, so I’m giving I’ll Be Next Door for Christmas a solid “not horrible” rating. I cannot go so far as to call it good, but it is occasionally funny, sometimes even on purpose, and I have to give it bonus points just for not being a Hallmark piece of coal.