Holidate review: A cheesy and mindless watch with charming leads

HOLIDATE (2020) L to R: Emma Roberts as Sloane Reed & Luke Bracey as Jackson Pieretti. Cr. Steve Dietl / Netflix
HOLIDATE (2020) L to R: Emma Roberts as Sloane Reed & Luke Bracey as Jackson Pieretti. Cr. Steve Dietl / Netflix /

You might be seeing the new movie Holidate pop up on your Netflix feed and think, “It’s not even Halloween, why is a new Christmas movie out?!” But while the streaming service’s latest romantic comedy does begin at that December holiday, it actually covers pretty much every single one for an entire year. Cute premise? Check. Now let’s get into the film.

What is Holidate about?

Holidate, directed by John Whitesell (Big Momma’s House 2) and written by Tiffany Paulsen (Nancy Drew), stars Emma Roberts as Sloane, a 20-something-year-old who, while is an independent woman with a successful job, is constantly nagged on by her family and friends for being single. Yes, it’s a super annoying idea that a woman has to be in love to be happy, but here we are. The film is definitely cheesy, so keep that in mind.

After Christmas, Sloane accidentally meets a man named Jackson (played by Luke Bracey) while returning gifts, and the two, of course, get to talking. Both characters are super sarcastic and unsentimental when it comes to their dating lives, claiming they would only want a date for a holiday to shut everyone around them up.

So, this leads them to make a pact to be one another’s “holidate,” a.k.a. a date for family events on the holidays with no strings attached. As you can expect, it doesn’t go as planned, once Sloane and Jackson let down their walls and develop feelings for each other. The movie is extremely, extremely predictable, but there are fun parts along the way.

For starters, Roberts is a great lead. Holidate is far more raunchier than I was expecting, with Sloane delivering savage lines and R-rated jokes throughout.

While the film is certainly a romantic comedy, it’s suited for adults and not kids. Sloane is reminiscent of Roberts’ well-known roles as Madison Montgomery in American Horror Story and Chanel Oberlin in Scream Queens, however with a heart. Sloane is smart, snarky, and terribly pessimistic, but we ultimately find out the latter is because she’s gotten her heart broken before. Roberts certainly carries Holidate, and at this point I would probably watch any movie she stars in.

Bracey gives a decent performance as Jackson as well, who shares a similar attitude as Sloane. Plus, he’s got a charming Australian accent, so there’s that, too. His sarcastic-yet-sweet portrayal worked for me, and I’m sure we’ll be seeing more of him in the future.

Emmy winner Kristin Chenoweth is also one of the main characters in Holidate, playing Sloane’s aunt Susan. The actress is hilarious as the quirky character who bounces from man to man every chance we see her. As it turns out, she too has commitment issues (shocker!), and she’s able to teach Sloane a lesson on love and relationships. Chenoweth leads some of the funnier scenes in the film.

Is Holidate worth watching?

Holidate certainly has a stronger first half than the second. The ending is all in all almost bad, with the predictability and sappiness becoming pretty much unbearable. However, there are quite a few good laughs throughout the movie, and really, if you’re looking for something just mindless to throw on and use as a distraction from what’s going on in the world, it’s worth checking out.

I wouldn’t say it is necessarily good, but it’s a silly, under-two-hour flick with two charming leads. It’s an easy watch for sure.

If you’re interested watching Holidate, you can stream it on Netflix right now.

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