In Falling For Christmas, Lindsay Lohan is the best part of this holiday ham

In Falling For Christmas, Lindsay Lohan is the best part of this holiday ham

Starring Lindsay Lohan and Chord Overstreet, this holiday rom-com occasionally charms despite being as predictable as the 12 days of Christmas

(From left) Lindsay Lohan as Sierra, Chord Overstreet as Jake in Falling For Christmas

(From left) Lindsay Lohan as Sierra, Chord Overstreet as Jake in Falling For Christmas
Photo: Netflix

 

It may not surprise you to learn that Falling For Christmas, starring Lindsay Lohan, is not a good movie. Yet, endearingly, nobody involved pretends that it is, and they do their best anyway. The actors understand the assignment, Netflix makes jokes at its own expense, and in the end, the streaming service has at least one formulaic holiday rom-com to compete for eyeballs in what’s become an increasingly crowded, and seemingly insatiable market for them. Slamming a movie like this for not being particularly great would be like punching a mall Santa Claus over his inability to do actual magic.

Lohan, whose promising career as an actress got derailed by the familiar pitfalls of fame, could sleepwalk through a film like this if she chose; compared to Mean Girls, its challenges are almost insulting. But her eyes still constantly dart around her surroundings, registering the same curiosity she exuded as a kid in The Parent Trap, only all grown up. Save for the obvious indications of her adulthood, there’s little evidence of changes in that thoughtful, energetic spirit.

A potential viewer need not have watched any Hallmark Christmas movies to know this film’s predictable beats. A wealthy girl used to city life spends winter in a small town. She has a rich fiancé, and a seemingly great life. But in some way, she is directly or indirectly responsible for a town problem, and crosses the path of a down-home, regular, unmarried family guy whose life is directly affected. Someone makes a Christmas wish, maybe there’s a bearded guy who might secretly be Santa Claus, and by the end, the city lady has been charmed by simpler country life, breaks off her old engagement, solves the big problem, and falls for the normal dude. If any of this sounds like a spoiler, you might be Guy Pearce in Memento. Check your tattoos to find out what to do next.

For everyone else, here’s what you need to know: Lohan’s character is Sierra Belmont, heir to the prestigious Belmont chain of hotels (sound like anyone you know?). Currently vacationing at a luxury ski resort owned by her dear old dad Beauregard (Jack Wagner), who is poised to drive a smaller, family-owned, still-luxury-but-not-in-such-a-mega-way lodge out of business. That lodge, an ostensible B&B with four beers on tap, is run by Jake Russell (Chord Overstreet, which is a perfect rom-com name IRL), a perfectly coiffed widower with blond highlights, a precocious, huge-toothed daughter (Olivia Perez), and a wise Latina mother-in-law (Alejandra Flores).

Sierra’s boyfriend is a Cockney-accented social influencer named Tad Fairchild (George Young) who yells things like, “What kind of crap forest doesn’t have a cell tower?” Like all social influencer characters in every movie made this year, he’s due for a comeuppance.

It happens when he and Sierra fall off a mountain while he’s proposing. She hits a tree and develops amnesia; he gets found by a mountain man (Sean Dillingham) who shares some odd innuendoes. Sierra wakes up at Jake’s resort, where she’s horrified to find Netflix on the TV (as opposed to what…HBO Max? Pay-per-view porn?). After initially reverting to her selfish instincts, she soon settles into the family vibe, learns to pitch in, and even eats bacon for the first time.

Falling For Christmas | Lindsay Lohan | Official Trailer | Netflix

 

Janeen Damian, a frequent producer of Christmas TV movies, makes her directorial debut here, utilizing her Netflix budget to augment obvious soundstage stuff with swooping drone shots, CGI backgrounds, slo-mo snowboard moves, and a clear glass rooftop hot tub containing a model or two. Little of it is essential to the plot, but even the plot isn’t really essential to the plot, so visual distractions are welcome.

A series of outtakes over the end credits suggest that on-set camaraderie produced more laughs than the movie’s intentional set pieces, many of the latter of which do not work. Meanwhile, its soundtrack features songs by Lohan and her sister Aliana, who also makes a cameo appearance (and is now the taller of the two). Their tunes are fine, though Aliana’s is the stronger musical voice.

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It’s silly, sitcom-y, and impossible to call “good,” but Falling For Christmas is the kind of bad that feels almost appealing. Then again, if social media is any indication, its audience is far more excited about it than one might expect. Far be it for us to undercut that enthusiasm, but no matter how eager one may be for its pre-fab, saccharine-sweet charms, they are sadly inseparable from at least one rotten tomato.

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