Bad accents, even worse CGI, and Dean Cain. This movie is a perfect combination of everything wrong with holiday TV movies.
Okay, so Dean Cain (#1 public enemy around here) is playing a dude named Jesse. He was a bodyguard to a pop starlet with the best name, Discrete. A tabloid “caught” them in a compromising position, and after publishing the photo, his wife Noelle (played by the real Buffy, Kristy Swanson) throws his shit on the lawn. Her drunk mother, Dean Cain’s IRL mother, threatens to shoot him with her shotgun. Jesse insists that the photo is a fake, and that this alleged tryst never happened!
TWO YEARS LATER…
Jesse and Noelle are (almost?) divorced. Noelle is a wedding coordinator, but not a very good one, because she’s going broke. Meanwhile, Jesse’s been in an ongoing legal battle with the paparazzi, who claims to have taken the incriminating picture. How does he have any money left? What is his current job? These are questions I’m asking, yet I never intend to find out the answers.
Current relationship statuses:
Jesse: dating Tasha, a sexy and limber ex-gymnast, current Vegas girl
Noelle: dating/possibly engaged to Flynn, a shady business guy
It’s ramping up to Christmas. Jesse and Noelle apparently have a teenage daughter together, Carrie. She is, by far, the worst character in this movie. The plan is that Jesse and Noelle are going to spend Christmas with Drunk Grandma and Carrie in a cabin on Mammoth Mountain. I think. Honestly, I wasn’t paying attention and it’s really not important, because everyone gets snowed in together anyway. Noelle shows up to the cabin, only to find Jesse and his flexible friend Tasha. She is…indescribable. Her outfit consists of a TINY t-shirt and yoga pants, with her bra just barely managing to wrangle in her sweater puppies. We get to laugh at her, though, because she’s dumb and hot.
While this is happening, Carrie is at some pool party sleepover with her friends. She wants them to like her, so she brags that her dad is totally banging Discrete. Back on the mountain, the trio of horrible people go skiing together. Sure, why not! There is an insane scene on the ski lift, where the ADR of Tasha speaking is just…bananas. I rewound it probably five times, because it was that amazing. Tasha and Noelle are snippy with one another and Dean Cain is realizing that going skiing with his new girlfriend and ex-wife was probably the shittiest idea he’s ever had. Getting off the lift, both ladies fall down and Jesse literally asks Noelle FIVE TIMES if she’s okay without even glancing at Tasha.
Meanwhile, shady Flynn is working with his lawyer to sort out some big multi-million dollar deal. Of course. There’s just one slight wrinkle; he’s about to be deported to Scotland and will need to marry Noelle in the next few days to be able to stay. His bitchy lawyer says that if he gets deported, he’ll lose something like six million dollars. Flynn is determined to marry Noelle, despite her reservations to marry at all. Bitchy lawyer also finds out that Noelle’s wedding company owes three years in back taxes, and I can’t even remember how this glaring issue was resolved at the end, so obviously not important.
Lochlyn Munro (Flynn) is supposed to be Scottish. What he sounds like, however, is ME trying to do a Scottish accent…while drunk. It is bad, and I was actually convinced that he was pretending to be Scottish, until the deportation was mentioned. Flynn charms Drunk Grandma, so that she’ll convince Noelle to marry him right away. She agrees because her wine goggles are probably three inches thick at this point, and she’d say yes to a monkey offering marriage.
The trio go to the local mountain bar. Tasha goes off to play pool with the locals (on a ski mountain?), while Noelle and Jesse continue to argue about the Discrete scandal. Ernie Hudson shows up and shames them on their separation/divorce. I guess I should mention he was the mountain pastor that married them, so of course, this gives him the ultimate authority to judge their relationship. Together, they all reminisce about how Noelle and Jesse met, but I was probably googling Lochlyn Munro’s birthplace during that conversation. Oh wait, I did find out that they still have papers to sign…it was either the final divorce papers, OR something to do with the cabin. Not important though!
Inclement weather is about to hit. The local news called it the “Storm of the Century” (okay). Cell service is down, so nobody can reach Carrie and Drunk Grandma. Unfortunately, we still have to watch their scenes. Flynn has picked them both up in a limo – fancy! Drunk Grandma definitely raided the bar within seconds.
All roads are shut down on the mountain. Noelle is trying to negotiate with a Rastafarian ski shop owner so she can ride a snowmobile down through the blizzard to use a working phone. The ski shop guy goes, “I had a friend who tried to get down the hill that way. Notice I said ‘had‘ a friend.” AND THEN THEY LITERALLY PUT IN A RECORD SCRATCH SOUND EFFECT.
Flynn finds out he won’t be able to access the mountain roads. In desperation, he calls the bitchy lawyer, who somehow finds a way for them to reach the cabin in time. They pick her up on the way, and she pretends to be Flynn’s (also Scottish) sister. It should be mentioned that Carrie HATES Flynn, and spends the entire limo ride irritating the shit out of him, the lawyer, and me by playing with the windows and chewing chips in the most horrific way. This combined with the gratingly loud Hallmark music playing in the background just makes for one awful scene. I shouldn’t be stressed out watching a Christmas movie!
THE ONLY WAY UP THE MOUNTAIN IS VIA DOGSLEDS! The lawyer – the only character I like at this point, BTW – negotiates a bigger cut of Flynn’s final deal so this dogsled trip is worth her while. Smart move, lawyer. She never comes around to the spirit of Christmas, so she’s the best.
Noelle, by now, is hammered and stealing Christmas trees to decorate the cabin for Carrie. She gets nasty with Jesse, and I have no idea why I’m supposed to like her anymore. Where’s Tasha?
OH MY GOD, THE DOGSLED SCENE IS SO EXCRUCIATINGLY LONG AND HORRIBLY DONE! SO MUCH FAKE SNOW!
Just as Noelle and Jesse are starting to share a moment, despite the fact that she’s wasted and convinced he cheated, the gang shows up. Flynn proposes (I thought they were already engaged? Whatever.) and asks her to marry him TOMORROW. He asks, “What would be more fitting than a woman named Noelle getting married on Christmas Day?” You know the writers named her that just so they could bust out that shitty line. Anyway, she says yes, because she is bad at life.
Jesse, who’s been suspicious of Flynn’s bad accent this entire time, confronts him outside while Tasha is just background-lounging in a hot tub. She’s actually great, because she is the only sane one (besides bitchy lawyer) who totally recognizes a spade for a spade: that Jesse and Noelle are still in love. After some bro-on-bro confrontation, Flynn turns to Tasha and says “I found that exhilarating. I had movement, even. He’s a very strapping man.” I HAVE NO IDEA WHY HE SAID ANY OF THIS. It was never made clear if he was joking at all.
Jesse is upset and runs off to the Pizza Palace, where Ernie Hudson apparently lives because he’s there all the goddamn time. He finds out that Ernie’s gonna marry Flynn and Noelle. Then we find out that Noelle has already gotten married on Christmas Day before. To Jesse, of course. Back at the cabin, Noelle and Drunk Grandma are fighting about something. Noelle tells her she makes everything worse (I laughed at this), and that she wants her to move out because Flynn will be moving in after they marry. Also, bitchy lawyer tells Flynn that the money will be wired to him on Monday, after the wedding. Hurray!
Christmas Day. Their wedding photographer shows up, and we find out it was the same dude who took the scandalous Discrete/Jesse picture. He explains to Noelle that the photo was doctored by the tabloid magazine, and even shows her the originals. Now realizing that the last two years was completely pointless, she shows up to her wedding ceremony to break things off with Flynn. Jesse shows up and all hell breaks loose. Carrie outs Flynn as a scam artist (idk she found something incriminating in his phone, I think). Noelle, on a roll with her bad life choices, says the most awful thing:
Noelle: “Jesse, will you remarry me?”
Jesse: “There’s nothing I’d rather do than be your husband again.”
They make out in front of everyone for WAY too long, and make really disgusting kissing noises. There’s a super long shot of Flynn not really reacting in any way, so obviously he’s cool with this.
Ugh, I don’t even want to talk about what happens next, but I have to.
Drunk Grandma decides to offer Flynn the chance to marry her, so that he can stay in America and she can live comfortably off his money. HE SAYS YES, THE LAWYER SAYS YES, AND EVERYONE IS TOTALLY OKAY WITH THIS SUPER ILLEGAL DECISION. There are so many super creepy implications with this, and I will have a brain aneurysm writing them out, so it’s just the worst ending I’ve seen in a really long time.
So, Ernie Hudson performs this disgusting double wedding, for which he’s surely going straight to hell, and then everyone dances to a weird modern Scottish version of Jingle Bells.
Top IMDb Comment:
I have always liked Dean Cain, even though he is starting to make a career of starring with animals, and that’s a kiss of death with a film career.