If you are going to do excessive A knockoff, it slides into the usual mire of a sentimental holiday-season rom-com, then finds at least a couple of leads with the charisma and chemistry to pull it off. If you’re not feverish with excitement anticipating Lindsay Lohan’s screen comeback — and if you are, I’m sorry for your life — Falling for Christmas Nothing gives me more joy than the memory of Goldie and Kurt’s explosive, swashbuckling relationship, the 1987 favorite about an obnoxious amnesiac heir who falls for blue-collar misogyny. As a model for stars with terrific comedic chops who elevate mediocre material, there are bad starting points.
Made by a bunch of hacks who don’t deserve to be named, this sub-hallmark is Drake Lohan’s first film under her Netflix deal and her first feature in three years. Not to knock a former child star who has overcome more than her share of demons, but if this is the best vehicle she can find, waiting three more might not be a bad idea.
Falling for Christmas
The bottom line
I get the basic pleasures of the basic-cable holiday movie that streamers are now eager to access — somewhat flat acting from soaps; Bland scenes less polished than a Hershey’s Christmas ad; A toothless plot with nothing to offend your grandmother in Ohio; A happy ending where everyone has hearts full of love and seasonal cheer. But that formula requires a modicum of humor and passion.
Lohan plays Sierra Belmont, the daughter of a wealthy hotel magnate, which instantly makes me wish she had the meta-casts of the Paris Hilton. Since no acting finesse was required, at least she might have had some fun with it. When we first meet Sierra, her father Beauregard (Jack Wagner) whisks her away in his private jet to his luxury ski resort to discuss keeping her out of trouble by appointing her vice president of atmospherics. But Sierra has other plans, including her vain British social media influencer boyfriend Todd (George Young), who screams “gay” so loudly that she’s taken by surprise by a subsequent plot twist.
Sierra is assigned to prepare a meal with Daddy by a personal assistant (Chase Ramsey) and the glam squad, and she’s made more sensational by choosing a dirty-ass firetruck-red onesie marked “The Valenagi.” If that outfit earns its own slo-mo elevator exit with a wind machine, it’s basically the horror you get when your ersatz movie can’t get a real couture endorsement and you want to suggest, oh, I don’t know, Valentino, Balenciaga and Issey Miyake?
Equally incongruous is romantic lead Chard Overstreet, who you’d get in Chris Hemsworth’s place. The rejoice Alum exudes potato magnetism here, though admits it’s his script’s fault.
Overstreet plays Jake Russell, the cash-strapped owner of North Star Lodge, a more modest family-run mountain retreat, who is turned down by Beau for a share of the investment when he collides with Sierra and spills cocoa on the Valenag. This sends Tad into a flop but doesn’t sway Jake enough to spot Sierra as she passes out at the bottom of the mountain.
It happens after Todd proposes in the middle of an Instagram photo op on a mountain and Sierra crashes into a tree. Tad falls in another direction and conveniently crosses paths with forest ice-fisherman Ralph (Sean Dillingham).
With Jake’s struggling firm running out of spare rooms in the run-up to Christmas, he volunteers to house the unrecognizable Sierra at the North Star, where she befriends Ava (Olivia Perez), the brave daughter of a recently widowed guardian and kindly mother-in-law. Alejandra (Alejandra Flores). I think Ava’s missing tooth is cute, but there’s only so much cute mugging I can take.
Unlike Kurt Russell excessive The character, sad-eyed Jake, is too good to exploit her memory-deprived guest, but she decides to pitch in anyway. No hilarity ensues when cuddly Sierra tries and fails to make the beds, cook breakfast, clean the toilet or do the laundry. (Paris was killing it; she’s already done more simple life.) But when they visit a Christmas market in town and get wind of Ava’s secret desire for a twinkle-eyed old Santa type (Buss Riley), things begin to change.
No prizes for guessing that Sierra is doing chores and flipping pancakes, as she and Jake exchange swooning glances. She digs into the rest of her memory bank to do what all useless heirs are genetically programmed to do – throw a fundraiser!
Since Beau is away on business and Sierra’s minds seem to have forgotten her, as no one in this bustling town seems to recognize the socialist heiress, she complains that she wants to be called that. Beauregard is more than Belmont’s spoiled daughter. No doubt they’re all too busy on social media or in healthy pursuits to read TMZ.
The script goes beyond formula, so of course, when Beau returns to the resort and sends out a search party, Sierra returns to her real life just in time to reevaluate it. She experiences a heart-wrenching medley of dreamy Jake moments set to the song “Without You,” performed by the star’s sister Aliana Lohan. (I forgot to check credits to see if Dina is doing catering.)
Lindsay Lohan has every right to try to make a comeback, but the high points of her rocky career have been rightfully placed among the most impressive performances — The parental trap, Freaky Friday, Mean Girls, Prairie Home Companion – more than any notable acting range. Here, there is little to distinguish between Sierra in monster titular mode and Sierra transformed by the kindness of honest people who endure real struggle. Mainly her clothes are different. Young is the only one who really makes an effort, but he wears it a tad thin at the top.
The movie looks cheap, with a surprisingly bad green-screen ski sequence and a couple of animatronic critters that fool no one. The main expense is the holiday songs plastered all over the soundtrack. In an in-joke, Sierra wakes up to the familiar Netflix ta-dum logo tone and switches off when not fast enough. A castle for Christmas Appears on her TV. But at least that yuletide entry had a gorgeous location and charming characters in Brooke Shields and Cary Elwes. This poor fake must be so lucky; It’s the real Valenyagi.