I wasn’t sure about “Holiday Engagement” in the first 10 minutes, but once the plot started rolling I was hooked. It’s easy to get on Hilary’s (Bonnie Somerville) side after her horrible fiancé dumps her with the most insensitive explanation ever: work needs to come first. And her mother, Shelley Long, is just overbearing enough to sell her desperate move to offer someone free Playa del Carmen tickets to play her fiancé at Thanksgiving. David the actor (Jordan Bridges), whom she picks after requesting internet audition videos, is also completely charming, despite the fact that his most recent gig involves portraying a giant cell phone. I also feel for Hilary, who’s lost her part-time newspaper job due to print being long dead, which any journalist would sympathize with.
Basically, this is a more realistic version of “Holiday in Handcuffs,” since it has a real incentive for someone to play a fake fiancé that doesn’t involve kidnapping. But “Handcuffs” had a much better cast. So basically, if you took that cast and had them portray this more believable fake fiancé plot, you’d have a pretty perfect movie. (However, the lead characters do end up having pretty good chemistry, even though it doesn’t seem that way at first. I love it when they sing together.) And it ties up nicely with a bow (and even a cute lab puppy!), just like you’d expect from a Hallmark movie.
So I wouldn’t say it’s the best thing ever, but it’s certainly cute, light and not a bad choice if you’re in the holiday-movie mood.