From December 1 – 25, I will endeavor to watch a different Christmas movie each day and write about it on this blog. Here are the parameters:
- The movies I choose from cannot have been distributed in theaters for wide release (so no Elf, The Santa Clause, etc.). Movies made for TV, direct to video, streaming, or otherwise independent are up for grabs.
- I will only cover live-action full-length feature films. No reality shows or television shows (but again, made for TV movies are fine). I also won’t cover any holiday specials (ex. the Bob Ross special, Mariah Carey holiday special, Charlie Brown Christmas, etc.).
- All the available movies to stream (along with a Hallmark wildcard) are in a Google sheet, from which I’ll randomly choose one each day. If the movie turns out to be truly unwatchable within the first 10 minutes, I will redraw.
- Each movie will be rated based on a very strict set of Christmas criteria.
Got it? Let’s go!
Naughty & Nice (2014)
Directed by: Sam Irvin
Written by: John Wierick
Starring: Haylie Duff and Tilky Jones
Synopsis: “A cynical radio host is banished to Colorado, where he has an on-air spat with a hopeless romantic. Soon, their antagonistic relationship sparks the interest of the whole town.”
Watch on: Hulu
Pepper (Tilky Jones), of the radio show Pepper & Spice, is your typical shock jock who gets banished to Colorado from sunny LA after embarrassing the station’s biggest sponsor.
Meanwhile, Sandra Love (Haylie Duff) is a talk radio therapist who is upset to learn she has to babysit her new cohost, Pepper, and keep him out of trouble. In terms of meet-cutes, it’s a pretty absurd one, even for Christmas rom-coms. Yes that’s not one, but two, radio hosts in this movie.
Like any good made-for-TV movie, there’s some good B/C-list stunt casting. Terrence Carson (Living Single) shines as Pepper’s agent while Maureen McCormick (Marcia, Marcia, Marcia!) plays Sandy’s mom.
The plot is pretty straightforward–opposites attract as the unlikely pair falls in love. While Tilky Jones is handsome and pretty charismatic, Pepper is an undeniable asshole throughout the whole movie with few moments of redemption, making it hard to see why Sandy–who has a PhD in psychology from Northwestern–would ever take a second look at him.
Despite some cute moments, I’m not convinced Pepper isn’t a terrorist. He fills Sandy’s office with packing peanuts (to make it snow), shoots at her with a nerf gun while they’re on the air, and even gets an old man killed! Yes, that is an actual plot point in this movie.
By the end of the movie’s proposal (involving Sandy and Pepper’s three listeners and the first actual snowfall of the whole movie), I felt pretty cold toward both of them. She turns down a promotion in Dallas for a guy who can’t even drive stick and they really think they’re going to make this marriage in Colorado work. Now that’s a sequel I would watch.
A real Christmas movie should be so full of snow that the characters are at risk of suffocating on it. The more snowflakes, the snowier (and more Christmasy) the movie.
Snowmeter: 1 out 10 snowflakes. There was about 30 seconds of snow in the whole movie!
What emotional cord is the movie trying to strike? Is it all about believing in the season? Or is it about the disillusioned bakery owner finding love once again? The higher the mistletoe, the feels this movie has.
The Feels: 4 out 10 mistletoes. Points for actual mistletoe in the movie, but Pepper is the worst.
How good of a job does the movie do at getting you in the mood for Christmas? The more snowy white Santa beards, the more Christmas cheer.
Overall Christmas Spirit: 3 out of 10 Santa beards. The movie is more rom-com than Christmas movie.
Would I Recommend? Only if you’re a big Haylie Duff fan.