Around this time last year, I conned the other FYA ladies into watching all the Christmas-themed ABC Family original movies that could be found on Netflix Instant. The movies were pretty much universally despised (the notable exception being the one I got to watch), thereby ensuring my place on the naughty list for years to come. And yet, I must not be one for learning my lessons. Because here I am a year later, watching another. The power of Santa (and my Christmas spirit) compels me!
Summary (with spoilers):
Holly (Tia Mowry) is about to audition for her town’s local Christmas carolling acapella group, The Snow Belles, which are inexplicably popular. (Seriously, their yearly headlining event is to sing carols every Christmas Eve at the local mall.) Originally founded by her mother, she’s been waiting years for a new spot to open up, despite the fact that the Belles rehearse in matching pink tracksuits. But when Holly shows up late for the audition, Snow Belles leader Marci (Tori Spelling) uses Holly’s tardiness as an excuse to pick someone less talented, who won’t outshine her. Holly is devastated about not making the Snow Belles and being unable to sing at the mall on Christmas Eve (no, really), but her sister suggests she start her own group. Holly is able to convince the mall manager to audition them on Christmas Eve singing instead of giving it outright to the Belles.
Holly manages to put together a rag-tag acapella group out of her co-workers, including her adorable cube-neighbor Ajay, who is not the romantic lead, even though he should be. Both groups practice remixes of public domain Christmas carols because ABC Family apparently spent all of their song licensing money so Tori Spelling could sing All I Want For Christmas Is You. Holly is worried that her group doesn’t have what it takes, but later she stumbles across a local bar. In it she finds her workaholic, tool-bag of a boss working the crowd with some sweet karaoke jams. She proceeds to blackmail him (with karaoke video footage) into helping her group (later dubbed the Mistle-tones) with their performance.
Marci is furious that the Belles have to compete for their spot and some scheming takes place that doesn’t really effect the plot in any memorable way. Holly and her workaholic boss whose name I can’t be bothered to remember because he is not the in-all-ways-superior Ajay begin flirting with each other. At the work Holiday party, workaholic boss outs himself as a karaoke star and officially joins the Mistle-tones. Later, he and Holly make out and then immediately after, he is offered his dream job in Asia on the condition that he leave on a plane that night.
The mall proceeds to have their very elaborate American Idol style auditions. And in this seemingly small town, there are an extraordinary number of people who love to perform. Like this group:
In a move that surprised me, workaholic boss bails on the audition and The Mistle-tones do not win. But lessons are learned and Holly proves to be the bigger woman. Then workaholic boss returns with a grand romantic gesture, having turned down his job so he can sing songs with the woman he made out with once. And presumably everyone lives happily ever after.
Who Should Fire Their Agent:
I guess no one, really? The two big names in this movie have both spent a fair share of time involved in the TV movie scene. Tia just seems so adorable and my lingering Sister, Sister nostalgia ensures that I will always want good things for her (and her sister). And if she really did all the singing, then she’s super duper talented. But considering two of her recent credits include this TV movie and the voice of a Bratz doll, I’m going to add The Mistle-Tones! into the win column for her. Tori got to spend her time dressing up in ridiculous rich lady clothes doing rich lady things and I would venture to guess it was a pretty fun role for her. The main romantic lead (Jonathan Patrick Moore) played someone who wasn’t Prince William in Lifetime’s William & Kate. So. Yeah.
Bad Santa Award (or, Most Offensive Part):
I added this category because I feel like these movies often have one (or more) terribly offensive, cringe inducing moments. In this case, it was the three drag queens who auditioned for the Belles at the beginning of the movie. It was played for laughs, but there was nothing funny about their audition other poor singing. Oh wait, I guess they were expecting us to laugh at the men wearing dresses. Fuck you, ABC Family.
Stocking Full Of:
Someone else’s favorite candy. Sure, it’s annoying when people give you candy you don’t like. And it will probably sit around your house for some time. But eventually you’ll eat it because candy is candy and any will do in a pinch.
This movie give me that little dash of the Holiday spirit I was after. This isn’t really my kind of movie, but it wasn’t bad. It had some cute and funny moments and my eyes didn’t end up rolling nearly as much as I anticipated. And considering the company this movie keeps, I’m going to guess this movie is on the relatively good side of the ABC Family original spectrum.