A holiday movie built around party planners that ends at a party? This one is breaking new ground, folks! Let’s bitch it out…
Plot: Jennie Stanton (Torrey DeVitto) is the uptight bore who works behind the scenes at Petra’s Parties, a premier NY party planning company. Jennie aspires to take over when Petra (Linda Thorson) retires until Nicky (Bitten‘s Steve Lund), Petra’s carefree actor nephew, arrives on the scene and – naturally – butts heads with her.
Conflict: Initially the conflict is centered around Jennie, who is revealed to be an insufferable beyotch, and Nick, who is frequently annoying, battling it out for the top job. Then when we need to move into the chemistry-building section of the film, the fictitious main client – Piedmont – moves into the antagonist role when they change the focus of their annual Tyrell Toys holiday party to something completely off brand (in Jennie’s opinion). Plus: Nick gets a part on a soap opera (this is an actual plot point). Ultimately the former adversaries are forced to work together to ensure the rogue party they plan for Tyrell embodies the true spirit of the toy company…and hook up (it is a Hallmark Made-For-TV movie after all).
Dead Family: Jennie’s “guy” issues are the result of her dead daddy. Her family’s childhood poverty is also a key plot point: the Tyrell party at the center of the film is the reason that Jennie got into party planning after experiencing the generosity of the toy drive. As a result no man measures up to her dad and the Tyrell party is her central focus. It’s kind of awesome how vacant a character she is that Jennie is literally defined by a single moment from her childhood.
Weirdest Feature: Jennie and Nick repeatedly bond over their shared love of street meat. It’s disgusting how many hot dogs the pair consume over the two hours!
Ugh Moments: There are three big problems with the film:
- The fact that Jennie is supposed to be amazing at her job, but is, in fact, awful. She refuses to listen to her clients’ demands, refusing to modernize or update her party plans in favour of a traditional (read: conservative) approach. When she completely ignores Tyrell’s wishes so that she can throw the party she wants from her childhood, it’s absolutely warranted that she is fired. The writers want us to side with her, but in truth, she’s a bad party planner.
- The Tyrell party Jennie and Nicky throw at the end of the film is unsanctioned by the giant corporation Jennie is fired by. Soooo…how do they pay for the party? There’s a moment when Jennie thanks everyone for the in-kind service which is clearly meant to whisk away any questions we may have, but the rental space alone would have cost a fortune!
- Finally (most problematically considering what kind of film this is) Jennie and Nick have nooooooo chemistry. Like none. Like he has more with his aunt than he does with his love interest. If the movie were simply about Jennie and Nicky learning to get along, or some kind of “magic of Christmas” approach, it would be far more tolerable. The fact that a love story is shoe-horned in feels both fabricated and unnatural.
Can Con Connection: Both of the “wrong partners” – Kim and Todd – as well as lead Lund are Canadian. Plus: while the film name drops NY landmarks, it’s pretty obviously filmed in Toronto.
Sample lines of atrocious dialogue:
- Nick (to Jennie, after her date with Todd): “You know I don’t trust that guy: too much cologne.” Everyone uses this super reliable barometer, right?
- Jennie (jealously, when Nick introduces his date Kim): “Alright well I have to go pay the fire eater. It was very nice to meet you.”
- Nick (chastising Jennie for her hot and cold attitude): “Well for someone who prides herself on community, you seem to prefer being a party of one. Why don’t you send me an evite if you change your mind?” An evite? Ummm…
- Jennie (to a complaining ballerina after a bad pitch): “Yeah the party’s over.” It sure as f*ck is
- Jennie: “I’ve always said that parties change lives. And this one is definitely going to change mine.” UGHHHHH
- Nick (when Jennie reveals she broke up with Todd): “He was a Mouse King and you, Jennie, are a Nutcracker.” <barf>
Here’s the trailer:
See you back here for All About Christmas Eve next Friday