An interesting feature of the movie-within-a-movie in A Hollywood Christmas is that, in effect, this writes its own so-so review. A tad cleverer than most boilerplate holiday fluff, this film offers a running commentary on every repetitive and formulaic step it takes. The hate-love central relationship, the "magic" of the season, the Christmas spirit, the snow in July, a "real" Santa, even the fact that Christmas movie makers settle for providing "warm, comforting, predictable entertainment," with the emphasis on predictable. The fictional filmmaker here even boasts that comforting predictability is "a feature, not a bug" of the movies she proudly makes.
This movie goes further than the usual required ingredients, adding a good share of nonessential clichés. Actors are portrayed as self-absorbed idiots. Dog owners are witless hysterics. Network execs are heartless shrews who weren't hugged enough as kids. If only life were that simple. But that is the point. The picture offers simplicity to a degree so absurd that when you give yourself over to it, the movie can, in fact, be mindlessly enjoyable in a mundane way. The troubling cop-out on the part of these filmmakers is that there actually are lots of great Christmas movies -- The Bishop's Wife, It's a Wonderful Life, Home Alone, White Christmas, Christmas in Connecticut, Miracle on 34th Street, A Christmas Story, You've Got Mail -- and that it takes more than following a formula to make one.