When your movie is called Best Christmas Party Ever, it should actually be the best Christmas party ever.
In a long string of unrealistic jobs shown by Hallmark, we’re about to meet Jennie Stanton, party planner extraordinaire. Jennie works for Petra’s Party Planning, “New York’s premiere party planning service.” I would have accepted this if their office didn’t look like a dorm room with terrible wall art and IKEA bookshelves everywhere.
Petra, the grand dame herself, is throwing some Thanksgiving party to basically announce her retirement after the holiday season. Jennie is stunned, but starts to feel a bit excited because she’s Petra’s protégé and has a niggle of hope that she’ll take over the company.
Here to dash those hopes is Nick Forbes, Petra’s stud of a nephew. He’s got baby blues for days and is here to learn the ropes, just in time for the holidays. Petra asks Jennie to help him, and when Jennie reasonably asks what experience he has in party planning, he responds that he has none, but has been to a lot of film premieres as an actor. Jennie’s not pleased.
The next day, Jennie and Nick are setting up for another party. They argue about pigs in a blanket, and it’s as unfunny as you can imagine. But we start to see why Nick is going to take over the company – he’s super charming. He even juggles for the wait staff! Seriously. They have a party to set up, Nick! Petra shows up and asks Jennie to take Nick along to her next meeting. She’s reluctant, but agrees. All the while, Nick is literally juggling in the background and the wait staff is going WILD for this.
The important meeting is for Tyrell Toys, a large toy company. For years and years, they were active partners in a big annual Christmas party thrown for the community. It was a toy drive and hot turkey dinner for families in need. The owner, Arthur Tyrell, retired and left the company years ago. It was absorbed by a larger company Piedmont. Jennie is trying to secure Piedmont as the major donor for this year’s party. The buffoon they sent to have this meeting is the appropriately named Todd, who spends the entire meeting flirting with Jennie in front of Nick. He even asks her out and she accepts. Unprofessional!
That night, Nick and Jennie are planning another party. Whilst helping him hang some boughs, their hands touch (!) as they reminisce about Tyrell Toys parties as children. It’s boringly sweet. A little while later, however, Jennie catches Nick entertaining a bunch of women (wait staff again, I’m pretty sure) with shitty jokes. When she approaches to break up the laugh factory, he asks her to tell a joke for everyone, like she’s a stand-up comedian. Embarrassed, she says “I’m not funny” and storms off.
A day or two later, they have to meet with some lady for a senior arts centre. Noooo, not another arts centre dilemma! Wait, it’s fine. The lady just needs inspiration for their theme, and Jennie’s just coming up with bad idea after bad idea. Nick jumps in to help and suggests that because this lady was all refreshed coming off a cruise vacation, why not have a Mele Kalikimaka/Hawaiian Christmas theme? The lady LOVES it. Jennie’s just getting more and more pissed.
They fight in front of Petra. She handles this like an adult and makes them apologize to one another. Then she goes on to explain that Nick will be taking over Petra’s Party Planning, as he is family. Nepotism at work!
To apologize for everything, Nick takes Jennie out for street meat and then psycho-analyzes why she doesn’t have a boyfriend. Instead of being offended, she says it’s because she compares every dude to her dead dad. Yikes. She explains that at a Tyrell Toys Christmas party in the days of yore, she asked Santa for a job for her recently-jobless father. Arthur Tyrell – who sat in as Santa – hired him a week later. Well, I hope his qualifications were okay! Nick goes on to explain that he finds himself performing for people, even in regular conversation, and feels like he’s always “on” like a clock radio. Except when he’s around her!
Oh good, time for her date with Todd. He’s soooooo boring and gives her advice about nepotism, and then wows her with a view of the Empire State lights. Wake me up when this date is over.
Check-in for the Mele Kalikimaka party: everyone loves it. Nick and Jennie pulled it off, and seniors are banging all over the place. I wish! A vivacious blonde named Kim shows up out of nowhere. Apparently, she’s an old friend of Nick’s from theatre. They invite Jennie out for drinks, but because she’s jealous, she says no and goes home instead.
Guys, this movie was so blandly normal that I can’t even work up anger. And outrage is my thing!
Jennie’s come up with a theme for the Tyrell Toys Christmas party. About five days before the party. The theme: Nutcracker. Apparently, it was her favourite play as a kid. Todd’s very noncommittal about this, and then tells her Piedmont wants sexy: Lamborghinis, bar girls, VIP rooms! Jennie’s appalled and is maybe starting to realize Todd is a dud.
Oh wow, what a coincidence that Nick loved the Nutcracker too.
Jennie finds out that Petra gave one of her accounts – a children’s hospital party – to Nick. He came up with a Land of Sweets theme, and is getting Kim to come along to help. Jennie’s overcome with jealousy, because she then realizes Nick has an amazing imagination just like dear old dead dad.
I’m falling asleep…
Now, Jennie’s trying to show Todd what the Tyrell Toys party would look like. She has a few ballerinas and a live band playing, with some decorations hung about. He hilariously hates it, because it’s all wrong for Piedmont, and storms off. Nick shows up to console the crying Jennie.
To even further humiliate Jennie, Todd shows up at her workplace to officially fire her! But then he gives her a Christmas gift: an archived photo of her looking at the Tyrell Christmas lights as a kid. How did he find this? Why is he giving her a gift after one date? Get out of here, Todd. Your gift is the worst.
Oh, did I mention that Nick’s an actor and went for a bunch of auditions for a soap opera role before coming to New York? OMG, I wish I was reviewing a soap opera instead. Murder! Revenge! Twins! Sex! Martinis!
Nick finds out he got the part, and then finds out Jennie got fired. He is bound and determined to make this right.
Jennie goes to a Tyrell Toys store. She sees old Arthur (as Santa). He gives her some advice, but I was too busy dreaming about dudes waking up from comas with different faces.
Nick apparently spent the morning gathering families that had all benefited from the generosity of Tyrell Toys Christmas party in the past to encourage Jennie. I hope Nick paid for their morning off work to massage someone’s ego. Jennie cries a lot, as this is the sweetest thing anyone’s done for her.
Jennie’s starting to realize she doesn’t want Nick to leave for Hollywood. Nick is torn, and goes to Aunt Petra for some career advice. She should’ve slapped him and told him she was his real mother, but instead she gives boring advice that I wasn’t listening to.
I don’t know. Nick goes to Todd, trying to convince him to change Piedmont’s mind, but he doesn’t budge. WHO CARES! But big dumb Todd feels bad, I guess, because he sends a dozen red roses to Jennie as an apology. Just as Nick comes in with a single red rose! He attributes it to Todd’s dozen, not wanting to confuse an already fragile Jennie with his feelings. She’s having a change of heart about Todd, and Nick sees it.
In turn, so he accepts the job, and now has to leave on Christmas Eve (sure)! He’ll miss the best Christmas party ever!
Party planning committee. Okay, so here’s Jennie’s big idea to keep the party alive. Since Piedmont wants nothing to do with it, they’ll rename it Arthur Tyrell’s Nutcracker Dream and they only have a week to plan, you guys! The reason why Jennie has refused to do what Piedmont wants is that the Tyrell Toys tradition is too important to the community to abandon completely.
Kim takes Jennie aside to explain that she’s just friends with Nick, because she sees the way he looks at Jennie. It should be noted that Kim has seriously incredible skin and I’m jealous of it. (The actress is 21, so that explains it).
Uh-oh! Piedmont caught wind of the new party, and since Arthur had apparently signed a non-compete clause when he retired, trouble’s brewing! Jennie mentions the non-compete clause should just apply to starting another store, but who cares. Petra’s pissed that Jennie kept all of this from her, but then gets un-pissed and for some reason, looks up the definition of “party” in her dictionary even though she’s a party planner so…
Anyway, Jennie didn’t want Petra to get mad at her for getting fired by Piedmont. Petra’s totes cool with everything, says she’s ready for a lawsuit threat (oh, okay), and gives Jennie the A-OK to proceed.
Jennie shows up at Piedmont’s to stab Todd in the back and tell him she’s pregnant with his baby as he lies dying give back the photo to Todd, and patronizes him about the real spirit of Christmas.
Another scene with Nick and Jennie eating street meat. This is their thing, I guess. They share a moment when she has ketchup all over her mouth. It’s actually a cute scene, because Torrey Devitto genuinely seemed to giggle the entire time (rather than frown or pout or cry like in every other scene).
She confesses that she broke up with Todd. Jennie, you went on one date. You don’t break up with someone after one date; you just STOP SEEING THEM. Nick’s relieved because Todd “was a mouse king, and you, Jennie, are a nutcracker.” She’s pleased by this compliment, but is this really a compliment? To take a page from Petra’s book, let me look up the definition of nutcracker: an implement for cracking nuts. Just great, Jennie.
Well, it’s Christmas Eve, so it’s time for Nick to get going. He says goodbye to Petra. Now it’s time to bid farewell to Jennie, even though Petra’s like, standing right there listening to their entire conversation. We find out his most excellent character name is DR. STONE HUNTER. Fabulous.
She kisses him! He gets emotional and says, “Don’t make me cry, Stanton.” Let me take this moment to say that he got choked up once before in the movie, and it was actually very refreshing to see a male character unabashedly tear up in a way that’s not gross or overdone. Well done, Dr. Stone Hunter, you got me!
Jennie gives him a gift, and he feels bad for not having one to give in return. He waits to open the gift while in line for his flight. Dude, you could’ve just opened it in the car to know if this would change your mind or not! The gift is a clock radio.
The best Christmas party ever is about to begin! Oh wait, it just did. Dozens of children literally trample in. There is just a cacophony of fake snow blowing everywhere, all over the trays of food carried by ballerinas and toy soldiers and even a mouse king. Have fun eating your pigs in a blanket with shredded plastic on top, kids.
Todd and his boss are at the cool Piedmont party, but his boss is like…super interested in the competitor, so he somehow tunes in to a LIVE BROADCAST of the Nutcracker party via his phone? WHAT?! Anyway, he’s intrigued and leaves with Todd to go check it out. When they get there, the boss is amazed and wants to know more. I think Todd’s about to say something about Jennie here:
“— the most amazing woman I’ve ever met,” Nick interjects from across the room (!!!)
Wait, how did he get back across town on Christmas Eve just in time?
Oh, some ongoing line between Nick and Jennie was that the “element of surprise is the key to a successful party.” Writing down this line took me SO LONG to get it right, by the way. Fun fact for you, the reader.
He doesn’t want Hollywood, he wants her! They kiss in front of all the kids (why do movies continue to do this, it’s super gross and weird). Piedmont dude LOVES this party, and gets mad at Todd for rejecting the whole idea, because this is gold, Jerry, gold! He drags Todd to go help old Arthur as Santa.
Petra reveals that she wants both Nick and Jennie to take the reins for her when she’s officially retired. I’m sure that’ll go well. They toast to the greatest Christmas party ever while fake snow fills their lungs.
Nick didn’t have a single friend to talk to, except for Aunt Petra, but he was convincingly charming. Jennie was your stereotypical uptight female, which is always disappointing to see. Could’ve used more interrupted weddings and switched babies.
Top IMDb Comment:
If you think It’s A Wonderful Life rates a 10, Best Christmas Party Ever is at least a 20.
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