It just wouldn’t be Christmas without a made-for-TV-movie starring Haylie Duff’s nose.
Let’s bitch it out…
Here’s how our BINGO card looks like for Naughty and Nice:
Plot: “Shock jock” Pepper Sterling (Tilky Jones) is forcibly demoted from his big time LA gig to small town Idyllwild, Colorado after he accidentally embarrasses the station’s biggest corporate sponsor on-air. Once there he first clashes with, then falls in love with Dr. Sandra – Sandy – Love (Haylie Duff’s nose), the uptight local radio personality.
Conflict: The fish out of water comedy (complete with overbearing country music and cowbell sound cues) takes up the first half of the film with most of the focus on Pepper and Sandy’s culture clash (plus a mild dollop of wrong partner confusion courtesy of Sandy’s chaste relationship with Tyler Jacob Moore’s station manager, Cole). Things take a third act detour when Pepper must decide whether to stick with Sandy or be consumed by greed and the almighty dollar when the corporate overlords in LA ask him back. Guess which option he chooses?
LOL moment: Duff’s nose apparently has a PhD (laughs hysterically). Alright, hating on Haylie aside, there’s a scene when the jockeys accompany her mother Kate (Maureen McCormick) to cut down a Christmas tree in the woods. What they come upon is obviously a pre-cut tree on a stand, but sure, let’s all pretend that it’s a naturally growing tree because it is definitely not pre-cut. Nope!
- Fake snow: Tasked by Sandy to make it snow, Pepper fills her office with packing peanuts and they proceed to make snow angels. It’s the kind of fun, quirky little bit that can only happen in movies because real people have neither the time, nor the money to make it happen. Naturally when they get back together for the finale, it snows “for real”.
- Holiday party: Pepper encourages an elderly caller to go for the gusto when he inquires about self-medicating in order to perform sexually, which (har har, nyuk nyuk) kills the man. Pepper, Sandy and call screener Jonah then dance up a storm at the wake with the man’s widow in the film’s most amusing (and genuine) set-piece.
Dead family: Sandy is routinely referred to as “too good” for the small time station and it is eventually revealed that she came back home because her father got sick (and eventually died). It’s the kind of cliché backstory many of these made-for-TV Christmas movies feature, but strangely enough Sandy’s dad is frequently used as a comparison for Pepper, which basically means that she’s fallen for her father. Nothing icky about that.
Plot hole: Pepper flies Sandy out to LA on the pretense they’ll attend a fictitious corporate Christmas party that he’s made up. They spend the day taking selfies (all the better for the break-up scene later), picnicking and making sandmen at the beach. It’s a “perfect” day that inevitably ends poorly when Pepper’s lie is revealed and Sandy randomly walks off (despite the fact that she knows no one there and has no way home).
- Also: Technically she and Cole are dating throughout the entire movie, so we’re basically rooting for a cheater the whole time she and Pepper are having fun in LA.
- Sandra (to station manager Cole, about Sterling): “What does this guy even know about psychotherapy?!”
- Cole (when Sandra observes that all of the callers were complaints): “Love you or loathe you, so long as they keep listening.”
- Sandra (when Pepper hands her an unnaturally green drink): “Yikes, it looks like the Grinch died in here.”
- Jonah (when Sandra accidentally refers to her relationship with Pepper as a marriage in front of BF Cole): “Awwwwwkward”
- Kate (when Sandra suggests Pepper is nothing like her dead father): “Are you kidding, he’s exactly like your dad.”
Here’s the trailer:
See you back here for Best Christmas Party Ever next Friday.