My Fake Christmas Partner
Rob (Joseph Lawrence - Wish For Christmas) knows that having just broken up with his girlfriend his parents are going to be on at him to find a nice girl to settle down with, especially his granma Theresa (Paula Shaw - Coming Home for Christmas) who is sick in hospital and her last wish is to see him settled and happy. Julie (Emily Hampshire - Snow Cake) is in a very similar boat as she finds her parents trying to set her up with various ex boyfriends, surprising her when they invite them to dinner. It is why Julie decides to advertise for a fake boyfriend for Christmas and why when Rob sees the advert applies because they can both help each other out with their pushy parents and friends. The only trouble is that whilst purely a business relationship they didn't account on actually falling for each other.
I've mentioned it before in other reviews of Christmas movies but there is a certain something which can turn what at any other time of the year would be a cheesy romantic comedy into a fun one. That brings me to "Hitched for the Holidays" which with its unoriginal story of a couple pretending to date so that their parents won't meddle or get on at them, it would have been corny, cliche nonsense at any other time of the year. But because "Hitched for the Holidays" is a Christmas movie with some predictable but nice romantic scenes the cheesy annoying stuff becomes less annoying. That doesn't mean that we are talking a good Christmas movie here because quite frankly there is plenty which still ends up annoying but it has a bit of that Christmas magic which makes it entertaining.
Now I reckon Joseph Lawrence must have been feeling some deja vu when he read the script for "Hitched for the Holidays" because just 3 years earlier he appeared with Melissa Joan Hart in "My Fake Fiance" which has a very similar fake relationship storyline. Then again the whole fake relationship storyline whilst often used is not bad and so whilst "Hitched for the Holidays" is seriously predictable as Rob and Julie end up falling for each other it is pleasant. In fact it even has a bit of depth as whilst we have a first half which features plenty of humour and romance as Rob has to pretend to be Jewish whilst Julie tries to fit in with his family we also get suggestion why Rob fears commitment and why Julie tries to be nice to everyone. It's not huge depth but at least it adds something extra to what otherwise is a predictable movie.
The trouble is that even for a romantic comedy "Hitched for the Holidays" feels faker than the fake relationship at the heart of the movie. Joseph Lawrence seems so stiff as Rob and whilst his character is a serious guy it makes it feel unnatural. There are also issues with those who play his family because they are over the top stereotypes, too over the top even for a made for TV Christmas movie. In the end Emily Hampshire is the only one who ends up impressing because she delivers something close to adorable as Julie.
What this all boils down to is that "Hitched for the Holidays" is a routine made for TV Christmas movie which takes the familiar fake relationship story and sets it during the Christmas period. It's not by any means terrible but neither is it that good and so whilst worth a watch if you spot it on the schedule it's not something you would go out of your way to watch again.