Netflix’s Holidate: Predictable or Annoying?

I would be lying if I told you I didn’t watch this movie two days in a row, make my roommates watch it and make two of my best friends watch it. I enjoyed it quite a bit. However, it is definitely one of those movies where you know the entire plot after watching the first five minutes. You will squirm at the awkwardness, laugh at the ridiculousness and scream at your TV when Sloane is just so unbelievably rude to Jackson.

If you have no idea what this movie is about, it follows two twenty-something-year-olds, Sloane and Jackson, over their year of being each other’s “holidate." A holidate is someone you take with you to holiday parties, so your friends and family won’t set you up with a weirdo or judge you for being the only one without a date. I think this is an excellent idea, and I want a hot holidate for myself (email me your resume). Obviously, after spending all that time together, they fall in love.

Emma Roberts and Luke Bracey are great as Sloane and Jackson. I remember Luke from his role in Hacksaw Ridge, which is one of my all-time favorite movies. I was a little disappointed to see him doing a Netflix rom-com after an Oscar-winning film, but whatever helps to pay the bills. I mostly know Emma from Aquamarine because I’m too afraid to watch American Horror Story, so I wasn’t surprised to see her in this movie. The supporting cast was great - Kristin Chenoweth, Jessica Capshaw and Frances Fisher were all familiar faces from Wicked on Broadway, Grey’s Anatomy, and Titanic. Then there were the random people Netflix seems to get off of the side of the road for every movie.

The one thing that really stands out to me about this movie is the number of times I was squirming out of my skin because it was so uncomfortable and weird. First, it was the fact that the main location was a mall. The movie is set in Chicago. Why would you always be in a mall if you live in a city like Chicago? Do they even have malls there? Second, the dirty dancing lift at the New Year’s Eve party was just so hard to watch. It was that awkward. Third, when Jackson and Sloane are at the hospital on the Fourth of July and they just make the worst jokes and you can tell the actors are straining to make themselves laugh. Don’t even get me started on the finger sucking at the wedding. If you don’t scream at that scene then are you even human? Finally, when the gospel choir in the mall sings Jackson’s name to get his attention, I think I threw up a little. I think that whole sequence gave me acid reflux.

One thing that separates Holidate from most other rom-coms is that the asshole is the girl in the relationship. After Jackson and Sloane finally have sex, she just shuts him out. Literally - she shuts the door in his face. I was so mad at her for the way she treated him. It was hard to watch. But, it was all part of the tough, single girl, who "don’t need no man" stereotype. Honestly, I could have done without this character arc because we all knew they were going to end up together in the next fifteen minutes anyway.

In general, this is a good rom-com. It’s comparable to Set it Up, but way better than Falling Inn Love which was an absolute disaster. It is the perfect movie to watch on a night when you just want to distract yourself with some casual viewing, but don’t want to watch New Girl for the 20th time. Yes, it is predictable and awkward, but it's pretty good. Not great, but pretty good. The cover and trailer make it seem like a Christmas movie, but only the very beginning and end of the movie have anything to do with Christmas. You can watch it any time of year without it being weird.