Christmas With You is another early riser in the 2022 holiday movie season. It’s got some flaws that will likely keep it out of the year’s Top 10 Christmas movie charts, but it’s refreshingly warm and sweet like a nice mug of hot apple cider.
Pop star Angelina (Aimee Garcia, Lucifer) needs a hit. She’s been coasting on her previous success for awhile and there’s grumblings that her best days are behind her. Angelina can handle the professional pressure though – she’s been in the spotlight since her teens. It’s the personal loss that hits the hardest as Angelina just hasn’t been feeling it creatively since her mother died.
Cue up one of her followers, Cristina (Deja Monique Cruz). Like her idol, Cristina lost her mother recently, but at least can share her love of music with her devoted father, Miguel (Freddie Prinze Jr.), who’s also the music teacher at her school.
Burnt out on her superstar lifestyle, Angelina decides to take an impromptu trip – with her manager, Monique (Zenzi Williams, Black Panther) – to go visit Cristina and make her Christmas wish come true.
Cristina has a full-fangirl meltdown and encourages Angelina to stay at their place when a massive snowstorm blankets the area. Not so terribly that Angelina and Monique can’t drive to Miguel’s home, but you get it.
Surprised to find Miguel has some good songwriting instincts of his own, Angelina seeks a partnership to co-write the next great Christmas hit…and maybe more.
- Andor – Rix Road review S1 E12
- IDW Publishing reviews 11/23/22 – GI Joe: A Real American Hero #300
- The Walking Dead – Rest in Peace review S11 E24
- DC Comics reviews 11/22/22 – DC vs Vampires #11, Human Target #9
For the plentiful array of Christmas decorations, Garcia and Prinze Jr.’s chemistry doesn’t exactly light up the screen. Jennifer Lopez and Owen Wilson’s Marry Me had a similar issue in the writers fail to credibly explain how a pop star could magically fall for a regular dude.
Marry Me’s writing team seemed to recognize the flaw before giving up and relying on Lopez and Wilson’s charisma to make it workable even if their chemistry was questionable.
Garcia and Prinze Jr.’s connection comes off more ordained by the plot and script. There’s very little spark to their scenes. In some ways the romantic subplot feels tacked on. It’s not surprising then that some of the supporting cast, including Williams, Socorro Santiago as Miguel’s mother and Gabriel Sloyer as Angelina’s telenovela ex, Ricardo frequently end up stealing the show.
Maybe the film would have clicked further if Angelina and Cristina bonded over missing their mothers while Miguel encourages this once and a lifetime moment for Cristina from a distance.
The script, by Paco Farias, Jennifer C. Stetson and Michael Varrati, offers some welcome deviations from the cliché elements of these films.
Cristina is never an insufferable brat pouting because she doesn’t get her way. The up-and-coming pop star Cheri (Nicolette Stephanie Templier, FBI) isn’t positioned as some egotistical rival to Angelina and is surprisingly sweet and generous. And the potentially thorny songwriting credits don’t become an issue at all.
Christmas with You isn’t pitch perfect, but it’s got enough going in its favor that it’s worth checking out this season.
Rating: 7 out of 10
Photo Credit: Netflix