PLOT: After a spontaneous kiss, a struggling designer ends up falling in love with her demanding boss’s boyfriend as she decorates his home for a Christmas party.
If I was a betting man, I would say that a lot of these Christmas movies that involve a love story are from a template. My assumption is that there has to be a quick turnaround between conception and production because there is little to no effort to add nuance to the plot. Every love triangle is boiled-down to the simplistic: one person is the one while the other is so obviously not. Like, it’s not even close and I find that a little insulting. The best love triangles are when you can see the guy/girl choosing either love interest, and there is a slight nuances between the choices that will have audiences lobby based on personal preference, not because the writers want you to feel that way.
A Christmas Kiss does deserve kudos for trying to do a love triangle that included some real life implications. They failed to make them realistic though, but I will give them credit for attempting it. Wendy, played by Laura Breckenridge (Related, Southern Belles), is an aspiring interior designer who has become a workaholic under her ultra demanding boss, Priscilla — played by Elisabeth Rohm (Law and Order, Angel). One night while running an errand for her boss, Wendy spontaneously kisses a guy in an elevator. Once the elevator stops, she runs to meet her friends and tell them about the kiss and the guy she’ll never see again.
After Wendy comes down from cloud nine, she returns to work and helps her boss prepare the house for her “travelling boyfriend”. On her way out at the end of the day, she runs into the boyfriend, and wait for it… he’s the guy from the elevator (dun-dun-DUNNNNNNN)! This was as predictable as it sounds, and the rest of the movie feels like a paint by numbers script. I only guessed wrong on the ending, which I was happily surprised about because it showed legitimate character growth from Wendy.
Despite the average script, the lead actresses — Rohm and Breckenridge — did a good job of making their characters polar opposites. At no point did either character bleed over into the other’s role — evil woman and good girl. It’s amazing that Breckenridge doesn’t get more roles in the romantic comedy genre because her on-screen personality is perfect for the nice girl and her smile is as sweet and disarming as it gets.
A Christmas Kiss is a very straight-forward secular celebration of Christmas and doesn’t touch on the religious aspect of the holiday at all.
There is only a certain amount ways that you can tell a love story in a two-hour movie. What I really enjoyed about the story’s presentation is that they allow Adam to naturally fall in love with Wendy instead of having him have a eureka moment late in the film. It’s refreshing to see a well-structured love story play out; no matter how obvious the outcome.
Wendy’s job is to literally design and decorate Adam’s house for Christmas. Even if they didn’t have her inspiration come from A Christmas Carol, the attention to detail to have each scene filled with Christmas clichés was top-notch. Hell, the play they attend is the Nutcracker. Only a few more songs, including a group signing scene and this is a perfect score.
Christmas-ness Score: 4.5 out of 5
A Christmas Kiss does the opposite of Kristin’s Christmas Past and allows its leads to carry the better scenes in the movie. Rohm especially shines when she’s in full-on Disney villain mode, and she instantly makes you hate her from the moment she shows up. Ever since Law and Order, she’s shown the ability to be tough and independent, but Priscilla is like Serena Southerlyn after she went to Gordon Gekko school of greed. Breckenridge and Rohm make great adversaries and would be perfect in a television series, which would have also helped with the love story. The condensed time frame of both the in-movie time and the running time made most of the romantic connections come through exposition rather than actions. Not an awful movie for the genre, but nowhere near a classic.