Ah, the way that the film industry plays with the calendar! We haven’t had Hallowe’en yet and the Christmas films have started! Fortunately, I’m more of a Santa guy than a spooky guy. So, flick on the Gemütlichkeit switch and let’s see what we have to start with. It turns out that we have Christmas At The Holly Day Inn. Funnily enough I’d not long ago seen that title in the Apple iTunes Store under as an advanced order option and here I am sitting in front of an advance screener. Better get my Father Christmas hat on and press play!
Christmas At The Holly Day Inn tells the story of Emma Holly (Tamla Kari). She is a frazzled executive who gets the nasty end of the stick during a meeting when the promotion she deserves and is expecting is given to her boss’s golfing buddy. She hands in her notice and goes home to then eponymous Holly Day Inn which is run by her father, Ben Holly (Colin Baker). When she gets there Emma finds that the inn is empty apart from her father and his dog. He is thinking of selling up as he is old, tired, lonely, and doesn’t have the energy or money to make to decorate for the holidays.
This Has Been The Most Unconventional Christmas Ever
On her way home she gets a puncture and demonstrates two things; 1, she has no idea how to change a tyre, and 2, she is one of the very few people in the last five years to have bought a car with a full size, spare tyre! It also sets up the inevitable meet cute with Oliver Perry (Kevin Leslie). Unfortunately for Emma, Oliver has been sent by an evil property developer Larry (Philip Martin Brown) to close the deal to force through the purchase of the Holly Day Inn. When Emma bumps into Oliver later on, she assumes, gods only know why, that Oliver is a travel writer and gets him to come and stay at the inn so he can give them a good write up.
So now it is all set up for the inevitable outcomes. The falling in love, the discovery of the betrayal, the arguments, accusations, and allegations which must, surely, result in a happy ending. I mean…we’ve had over a century of films that set things up, knock them all over the place, and then sort it all out at the end. It is, pretty much, the definition of the three act screenplay structure and that goes back to Aristotle! It’s all in place, the setup, the confrontation, and the resolution. And we grab a glass of mulled wine, sit back with a mince pie, and let the warmth spread through the cockles of your heart and, probably, the heart of your cockles.
This Has Been A Holiday Tradition At The Inn Since…
Let’s face it, there are very few surprises with Christmas At The Holly Day Inn, but that isn’t really a problem. You want the warm, cosy feeling that you are expecting from a family-friendly, multi-generational romantic comedy set at Christmas and Christmas At The Holly Day Inn delivers. I can’t help but think that it was shot at the height of summer as there was an awful lot of set dressing around to cover up the lush green grass and fully leaved trees in the background but they obviously spent the budget on things other than expensive CGI backgrounds. My guess would be getting a good cast!
As well as all the cast that I’ve mentioned, there is a treat for UK soap fans in the form of the coffee shop owner Molly who is played by Anita Dobson. She has appeared in loads of things but will always be remembered for 274 episodes of Eastenders and being the pivot point of the highest rated episode on Christmas Day 1986…I still remember that episode! Molly has had a crush on Ben for ages and everyone knows it except him; speaking as a terminally unaware man, I can empathise. Christmas At The Holly Day Inn has no real surprises but, frankly, doesn’t need them! It will be released on digital 6 November 2023.
Movie Grade: B+
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Former teacher, lecturer, homelessness administrator, pharmacy dispenser now happily retired, happily married, and a very happy granddad. I live next to the Mersey but on the side Daniel Craig and Taron Egerton come from rather than the side the Beatles came from!