Hometown Holiday

Movie review by
Barbara Shulgasser-Parker, Common Sense Media
Hometown Holiday Movie Poster Image
Family-friendly but bland and illogical Christmas romance.
  • NR
  • 2018
  • 84 minutes

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Educational Value

Meant to entertain rather than educate.

Positive Messages

"Build on the past and embrace the future." Men tell women exactly what they want to hear. After a setback we have to "get ourselves back in the saddle." "Sometimes love takes its time." "The one for you is out there."

Positive Role Models

Ryan boasts of wearing a $5,000 suit, which makes him seem like a bit of a jerk. Krista and Ashley love their hometown and the work they do as florists. Wes has no interest in fame and prefers trustworthy handshake deals over contracts with shifty lawyers.

Violence & Scariness
Sexy Stuff

A man and woman kiss. Men and women are attracted to each other. Someone is said to "kiss like a dead fish."

Language

"Butt."

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Adults drink alcohol.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Hometown Holiday is a Christmas romance based on a Harlequin novel called The Maverick's Holiday Masquerade. Two attractive young people from different backgrounds -- city versus country -- fall for each other, despite their differences. The movie is designed to be family-friendly, so there's no sexuality (a man and woman kiss chastely), language ("butt" is the harshest it gets), drug use, or violence to offend. Adults drink alcohol. Someone is said to "kiss like a dead fish."

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What's the story?

In HOMETOWN HOLIDAY, small-town rancher Wes Gently (Kevin McGarry) writes a love song to his deceased wife and their 8-year-old son posts a video of Dad singing that lament. It goes viral, which sends Ryan (Bradley Hamilton), Los Angeles talent agency lawyer, back to his hometown to persuade Wes to sign with his agency. Wearing his $5,000 suit and bearing a multi-page contract in hand, Ryan's a bit too slick to entice the casual Wes to sign. Ryan's pregnant sister Maggie (Jennifer Mote) tells him not to give up. She's also encouraging him to pursue his interest in Krista (Sarah Troyer), an attractive local florist who some years before met with fame and success when she pursued an acting career in New York City. Longing for the simpler life, she returned to their hometown to open a flower shop with her sister Ashley (Samantha Gracie), who has had a crush on Wes since high school. Will Ryan win Krista? Will Ashley and Wes get together? Will the contract be signed? Stay tuned.

Is it any good?

Everything about Hometown Holiday feels forced, from inept acting, to an incompetent script, to the oblivious direction, to dramatic conflicts that feel manufactured and absurd. The movie presents us with one bad decision after another until we are inured to them. A woman who once had an acting career decides to perform a monologue for her new boyfriend. She brings him to a theater and gets into costume, which feels cringe-worthy and weird. His response is also a bit over the top. He ends the relationship, claiming she only likes him because he can help her career in his capacity as an attorney for a talent agency. Old New York headlines announce that "theater fans are upset at losing the most talented stage actor of her generation," as if any respectable publication would actually write such a story. A baby is born and a few hours later the mom looks like she just left the beauty salon. A handsome widower's young son posts his dad's melancholy song online and the head of legal from Los Angeles' biggest talent agency comes out to woo him. Based on one song?

Through most of the film, Krista talks about how much she loves her flower shop, and suddenly, at the end, she regrets leaving her fantastically successful acting career in New York and laments "giving up" on herself. The biggest cringe-inducer is saved for last. After rejecting Krista, Ryan slinks back and interrupts her community theater performance by walking on stage in an inexplicable Santa suit and pledging his love for her in front of an audience. The list of unmotivated and illogical plot points here is nearly endless.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how happy Krista seems about running her flower shop with her sister. Does it seem surprising when she later laments that she's "given up on herself" because she stopped acting in New York when she was achieving success and fame?

  • What does the movie seem to say about a rancher-songwriter who isn't interested in pursuing a contract designed to turn him into a famous singer?

  • If Krista wants to pursue acting again, does that seem at odds with her commitment to living in her small town?

  • Why are holiday romances so popular? Why are so many love stories set at Christmas?

Movie details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love the holidays

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