I’ve been hooked on ABC Original Movies lately, and gave a slew of them a try. After loving “12 Dates of Christmas,” I decided to try out both “Christmas Cupid” and “Holiday in Handcuffs.” I enjoyed them, but wouldn’t really classify either as especially great. But the two non-Christmas-themed ones I came across are worth a watch!
The best thing about “Christmas Cupid” (2010) was Ashley Benson’s (“Pretty Little Liars”) performance as a shallow but likable party-girl celebrity, Caitlin Quinn. Basically a funny Netflix comment summed it up perfectly: “Ashley Benson played an awesome drunk dead girl.” The main character Sloane (Christina Milian), however, was just not likable, which is no fault of the actress. She was just written so shallow I couldn’t be on her side. She also treated Dr. Patrick, played by Chad Michael Murray (“One Tree Hill”), far too badly. I mean, you’ve seen Murray, right? Yeah. He’s not the type of guy who gets treated badly by girls; I just didn’t buy it. But if you’re a “Liars” fan like me, you could seriously just watch this movie for Benson’s performance alone.
“Holiday in Handcuffs” (2007) also seemed like a winner, and it certainly had some charm, but overall it just didn’t pan-out. It was, of course, entertaining to see Mario Lopez (AC Slater) and Melissa Joan Hart (“Sabrina the Teenage Witch”) play opposite one another, but the whole premise, though sometimes humorous despite the silliness, just wasn’t remotely believable. A person deranged enough to kidnap someone to play their date at Christmas is just not likeable, even when played by Hart, but I will say it’s not completely worth dismissing. I’d file it under passable if your expectations are really low going in.
One I did enjoy from the ABC Original Movie crop was “Beauty & the Briefcase” starring Hilary Duff. I was probably going to like this regardless because it involves freelancing for Cosmo and Duff (love her), but I seriously found it above average in its overall entertainment. The story was interesting enough (she’s writing an article about turning to the finance profession to meet great men), Jaime Pressly has a small role as the candid but likable Cosmo editor (who doesn’t like her?) and Michael McMillian (“True Blood,” “What I Like About You”) did a good job as Duff’s uptight but endearing boss. It wasn’t the best thing ever, but it worked and was certainly cute.
And my favorite out of the ones I watched recently was “My Fake Fiance” (2009). Here’s a Melissa Joan Hart movie that completely worked. I think it helped that her character was realistic and she and her costar, Joseph Lawrence, had some serious chemistry. In fact, it was so good I’m even considering watching the series starring them called “Melissa & Joey,” which is also available on Netflix Instant. (It seems to be in a “Who’s the Boss?” vein, which isn’t really a bad thing. I’ll let you know what I think.) The story for this movie was also really creative. Jennifer’s been robbed and Vince is a compulsive gambler. They both need money and decide to get “pretend” married just for the gifts/cash. And you can guess what happens. Kind of brilliant, immoral and really funny.
So if you’ve got some extra time this holiday season, I’d give the Yeses, or even the Maybes, on this list a try. One way or another, hopefully these articles give you enough insight to avoid any movies on Netflix that look appealing while scrolling but may not be worth an hour and a half of your life.