You may or may not be a fan of Hallmark movies and that’s absolutely okay either way. I’ve come to think of them as comfort food in movie form – warm and predictable in a way that makes you feel happy and safe. Not to mention the guaranteed happy ending: when life is hectic and challenging, it can be nice to know that the characters you’re investing in are definitely going to wind up happily ever after.
However, fan of the genre or not, one Hallmark movie was always going to have the distinction of Worst Hallmark Movie, and I humbly nominate Lucky Christmas.
Holly (Elizabeth Berkley) is a single mom who pays for rent in cooking because she never has the cash (thank goodness for obliging grandparent-types). She works three jobs so I’m not sure where that money’s going, but let’s concentrate on the sympathetic figure she cuts and not think too deeply on details – there are bigger problems ahead.
Holly’s about to have good luck and bad luck. Bad luck: someone steals her
car clunker from the bar one night. Good luck: those obliging, grandparenty landlords of hers have an unused vintage Camaro she can drive instead. Good luck: she wins the Christmas lottery, worth a million dollars. Bad luck: the winning ticket was in her car. The stolen one.
Across town are two idiot criminal buddies who call to mind Marv and Harry of the Wet Bandits. Mike (Jason Gray-Stanford) and Joe (Mike Bell) are bumbling fools who’ve accidentally set fire to an entire job site, and then accidentally stolen a car and then deliberately held ransom a lottery ticket for a piece of the pie since they know they can’t cash it themselves. If you’re wondering at this point, like I was, when Holly’s going to get her love interest in this damn holiday romance, the bad news is: she already has, and you missed it. You assumed, because of the many, many Hallmark movies like it, that Holly would get a decent guy. Instead, she’s getting Mike, one of the criminals. I resisted this insinuation for so long that I had mentally prepared for Holly to live happily alone forever after, but no, Mike was pretending to like Holly in order to suggest she post a reward (a large percentage of the winnings) for the return of the ticket, but then she unwisely lets him get close to her kid, and she’s apparently got such low self-esteem that a dirty rotten scoundrel is as good as she thinks she can get.
Now I know that Elizabeth Berkley fell pretty far between her stint as Jessie Spano on Saved By The Bell to her turn as Nomi in Showgirls, but this? This is cruel. This is too much.
[Sidebar: am I the only one who watched the recent Saved By The Bell Reboot, for which Jessie Spano returns as a guidance counsellor and AC Slater as the coach? I can’t believe I’m saying this, but…it’s actually pretty good.]
Mike is a loser, and Holly deserves a better fate, for this one can never deliver the happy ending this movie promises. She deserves to discover that not only is she more than enough on her own, it’s actually much preferable to be alone than to be with a partner who will only drag you down. I know Hallmark defines ‘happily ever after’ as coupled, but there’s more to life than romantic love. And what’s romantic about a relationship that starts out as a lie anyway? I realize that watching a Hallmark Christmas movie means just buying into the fantasy and not asking questions, but this, to me, was more of a nightmare.