It’s a soulless and formulaic dime-a-dozen romantic comedy, making it almost impossible to feel the slightest emotional connection to these characters.
While it’s only November, streaming platforms seem intent on drowning viewers in as much syrupy holiday cheer as possible. EXMas on Amazon Prime Freevee is one such title. The film, directed by Jonah Feingold, reunites Gossip Girl writer Dan Steele with star Leighton Meester for a project that should have never gone past the vision board phase.
Despite its two promising leads, the movie is forgettable and full of tired tropes that should have been left behind more than a decade ago. With a plot as thin as ice and soap-level performances, EXmas might just be a strong contender for the worst seasonal movie to greet our screens this year.
EXmas review and plot summary
The premise is as simple as it is nonsensical. Ali (Meester) and Graham (Robbie Amell) used to be engaged before she dumped him for being too focused on his work and not supportive enough of her ambitions.
After Graham tells his family, dad Dennis (Michael Hitchcock), mom Jeannie (Kathryn Greenwood), and siblings Mindy (Veronika Slowikowska) and Elliott (Steven Huy), that he won’t be able to make it home for the holidays, they go ahead and invite Ali instead. To their surprise, Graham shows up at the family house anyway, and he’s less than pleased to find his ex-fiance there.
Without spoiling it, the rest of the film goes exactly as you’d expect. We get to spend the runtime watching these two grown adults bickering like children and pining for the family’s love. Graham feels his family might love Ali more than him, and he’s probably right.
The two former lovers even enter this bizarre bet where the winner gets to stay in Graham’s family while the loser has to move on with their life. Aside from them discussing the “bet,” nothing ever comes out of it.
There’s a running joke about some mystery thief constantly stealing baby Jesus from Jeannie’s Nativity display. Both Graham and Ali get respective love interests to make each other jealous. We even have one obligatory going out and getting wasted plotline, to keep things interesting.
Yet nothing is interesting about this film and none of the performances are particularly convincing, either. It looks like the cast was there to cash in a check and didn’t feel the need to try delivering their lines in any meaningful way. I’m not even convinced anyone bothered to memorize their lines, as there are several scenes where it looks as if they were reading from a prompt.
There’s one particular close-up shot where a character is supposedly crying. As the camera zooms in on their facial expression, the lack of tears or semblance of emotion becomes comically evident.
Is EXmas worth streaming on Freevee?
For some people, the holiday movie genre is boring and done to death. I disagree. Seasonal heartfelt movies have their place and there are many titles such as Home Alone and How the Grinch Stole Christmas deserve to be rewatched every December.
Sadly, EXmas is not on the list. It’s a poorly thought-out and joyless seasonal film I can’t recommend you waste your time streaming. Not even as a Freevee.
What did you think of EXmas? Comment below.
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