Jennie Garth in Holidaze (2013)

The Family Woman

Melody Gerard (Jennie Garth) is a big city executive who works for Save Now the mega discount store which is building new stores all across America and destroying small towns in the process. With Thanksgiving coming up Melody finds herself returning to Streetsville, her home town, to try and persuade the town to vote in favour of permitting a Save Now which is not easy as many are not in favour of it including her childhood sweetheart Carter (Cameron Mathison). Not enjoying being back home for a single minute Melody has an accident and when she comes around she finds herself still in Streetsville but an alternate one where she never left but married Carter instead whilst running a small cafe.

It's Christmas Combo time with another movie which takes some familiar and frequently used movie themes and then shoe horns them together. In the case of "Holidaze", daze because of Melody being knocked out rather than because an exec thought he was being down with the kids, we have the two themes with firstly the former hometown girl turned city lover who returns home to push forward a redevelopment plan which threatens the town. Yes we are in the realms of the small town mom and pop stores under threat from the evil mega stores who only think about profit rather than community. As I said it is familiar and "Holidaze" doesn't achieve anything with this you won't have found in other movies as Melody gets to understand and appreciate the importance of small shop communities.

Cameron Mathison in Holidaze (2013)

But then we have the other familiar theme which is simply "The Family Man" as Melody gets to see another version of her life if she had chosen to stay in Streetsville to marry Carter. I could say "It's a Wonderful Life" but in truth it is more a kin to Nic Cage's movie than Jimmy Stewart's Christmas classic. As such we get the confusion comedy of Melody in this whole other hometown world which is alien to her and initially hates but of course warms to the more time she spends there getting use to it.

As such "Holidaze" is predictable but that is not a criticism as sometimes familiar is all you need and in this case it works. The reason for that is because the combination of Jennie Garth and Cameron Mathison works as they both have a certain appeal. So okay the chemistry between them doesn't fly off of the screen but there is warmth and kindness which delivers plenty of charm.

What this all boils down to is that "Holidaze" isn't anything special as all it does is take some well used themes, weave them together and ends up with a familiar, fun and easy to watch holiday comedy. Much of that is down to the appeal of Garth and Mathison who just have that certain vibe which is entertaining.