A Holiday for Love (1996)
Old in Town
If "A Holiday for Love" which also goes by the name "Christmas in My Hometown" wasn't a Christmas movie I would probably be less enthusiastic about it as it is as unoriginal and obvious as they come. But thankfully it is a Christmas movie, it has beautiful snowy settings, Christmas trees and roaring log fires as well as a town covered in decorations and all of that makes its lack of originality less of an issue. "A Holiday for Love" also stars Melissa Gilbert at her adorable best and a handsome Tim Matheson which also help to make all that obviousness less of an issue.
Jake Peterson (Tim Matheson - While Justice Sleeps) works for the Beane Tractor company in the city and just before Christmas learns that he is to be sent to Athens, Nebraska to oversee the downsizing of the factory but to arrive posing as a man looking to buy tractors. Jake is not keen on the idea as he was born in Athens and whilst he hasn't been home since he was a child feels uneasy about what he has to do. On the way there he ends up caught in a snow blizzard and ends up at the home of widow Emma Murphy (Melissa Gilbert - Touch of Truth) and her daughter Noelle (Michelle Trachtenberg) who initially mistake him for a burglar but discover that he is in town supposedly to place a huge order with the factory. Not only does there seem to be a spark between Jake and Emma but the whole town believe he is there to place a huge order making things even more complicated for Jake.
So as you can see from that brief plot "A Holiday for Love" is not in the least bit original and more recently Renée Zellweger starred in "New in Town" which uses a very similar storyline. But whilst it is obvious that Emma will fall for Jake only for the truth to come out and possibly spoil their Christmas romance it is still watchable. It has an easy going tone, plenty of beautiful Christmassy scenes and just enough humour which frequently borders on the corny but never over eggs it. And whilst obvious the whole romantic side of things works.
The simple reason is that not only is "A Holiday for Love" visually appealing it also features an appealing cast. Melissa Gilbert makes your heart melt when ever she smiles and Tim Matheson has that handsome city look down a treat and carries off being the butt of various jokes quite nicely. It's not that their characters are deep or are different to anything you will have come across before but Melissa Gilbert and Tim Matheson make them instantly likeable. And for those who want something else there is also a young Michelle Trachtenberg as Emma's smart as a whip daughter Noelle.
What this all boils down to is that "A Holiday for Love" isn't by any stretch of the imagination original but it is simply charming and very Christmassy. It relies heavily on the likeability of Melissa Gilbert and Tim Matheson but then they are very likeable and so it works.
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