Christmas in Cuffs
The most amusing thing about "Holiday in Handcuffs" is that I once heard someone call it original and different, sorry bit it most certainly isn't original and different. Whilst the story may see a desperate young woman kidnap a man to take home to the parents for Christmas so not to disappoint them by being single "Holiday in Handcuffs" is really just a variation on the fake fiance storyline. But whilst not overly original "Holiday in Handcuffs" is fun in a very typical Christmas romantic comedy sort of way with a lot of cliche, some cheese but also some simple charm which makes it entertaining.
Trudie Chandler (Melissa Joan Hart - Can't Hardly Wait) is dreading Christmas with her family as she has always felt a disappointment to her pushy parents and when she misses a job interview and then dumped by her boyfriend Nick on the day they are due to drive to the remote log cabin for Christmas she flips out. Desperate she kidnaps a handsome young man called David (Mario Lopez) and forces him to go with her to the cabin to pretend to be Nick, explaining to her parents that he likes to joke about being kidnapped to get around David's reluctance to be there. But whilst initially furious at Trudie for kidnapping him and desperate to escape David slowly warms to her, realising that her pushy parents are part of the reason why she went to such extremes.
So as already mentioned whilst "Holiday in Handcuffs" has this story of Trudie forcing David to spend Christmas with her and her family, kidnapping and blind folding him in the process the truth is the basic storyline is unoriginal. At its heart we have this often used story of a fake relationship, the phoney boyfriend brought home to dupe the parents and get them off of Trudie's case and inevitably what starts as phoney ends up real. It has been done before even used in other Christmas movies but it works despite being predictable, well lets be honest if you can't guess the happy ever after ending you need to watch more movies.
With it being so obvious "Holiday in Handcuffs" becomes about the Christmas charm and the humour and it does end up hit n miss. An encounter with a garage owner is amusing as he believes Trudie when she says that her boyfriend is bound in the car as they are going for a weekend of bondage but then the humour of the entire family being quirky fails. The same with the charm because whilst the snowy location make it a beautiful Christmas movie the whole Christmas romantic side is a bit too cheesy. It's a shame because when it works "Holiday in Handcuffs" is genuinely good fun but unfortunately it misfires just as often, trying too hard to be funny with jokes which end up stupid.
Because the romantic charm of "Holiday in Handcuffs" doesn't quite work it means that whilst individually Melissa Joan Hart and Mario Lopez play their parts well the actually slow burn of them falling for each other never really sparks into life. In the end it is often the parents played by Timothy Bottoms and Markie Post who end up delivering the biggest laughs but even then it is again often too forced.
What this all boils down to is that "Holiday in Handcuffs" is your routine phoney romance which just happens to be set at Christmas. It is fun and amusing but it is no different to so many other fake partner movies and so ends up quite forgettable.