‘Holidate’ begins with two scenarios that holiday singletons inevitably encounter during the Christmas season. With Emma Roberts playing Sloane and Luke Bracey playing Aussie Jackson, we see Sloane confront endless interrogation from her family on her relationship status and Jackson escapes clingy partners.

A ‘holidate’ works as a perfect solution for both of them. Sloane’s mother’s first topics of conversation with her daughter include criticism of her outfit and bombarding her with questions such as “Why aren’t you married?” From this, we learn that Sloane’s relationship status is of everyone’s concern as that’s evidently more important than the dinner, quality time, presents or holiday season itself!

As the movie confronts every (yes, every) holiday throughout the year head-on with the two consistently reuniting as each other’s “platonic plus ones”, the later into the year we get, the stronger their bond grows. When it eventually blossoms into the ‘she loves me – he loves me not’ situation, the two ultimately come together before the ending credits. There is, however, an odd amount of inter-familial swapping of dates, not least helped by Sloane’s cougar Aunt Susan. With cheating, a wedding, and even an iconic Dirty Dancing lift involved, the plot stays loyal to its romantic comedy genre while loaded with entertaining comedic scenes throughout.

Sloane serves as the anti-feminist archetype by embracing being objectified and is generally relatable with her love for chocolate, impressive tolerance for alcohol as well as her tendency to go shopping in pyjamas (can’t relate I swear). However, ‘Holidate’ does attempt to reform the gender roles of its main characters as we see the male lead is saddened by the rejection and lack of reciprocated affection shown by his counterpart.

At one point, Jackson confides to his friend Neil; “Do you know what the last thing she said to me was? See you at Thanksgiving. Like it was completely meaningless to her.” In this manner, the film pokes fun at gender stereotypes in the realm of dating and reverses them, making fun of the male negligence that women typically experience.

While it’s no Hugh Grant romance, (if you haven’t seen Love Actually, stop reading and go to Amazon Prime immediately), it is a decent rom-com regardless. Although cheesy and predictable, with a cliché plot and the typical over the top grand gesture of apology, you can’t help but see the chemistry between the two characters and root for them nonetheless. ‘Holidate’ is ultimately a light-hearted funny movie, shedding comedy on the pressure often felt by the plus-one question. The film offers a gimmicky plot with humour predominantly revolving around slapstick comedy and dropping the occasional f-bomb, but it is perfect for a quiet night in if you find yourself with a surprising amount of free time.

While the high-tier actors portrayed the roles well with their convincing chemistry, the main issue with the film is the script and editing. The plot includes the potential for a genuinely cute story between Sloane and Jackson, but instead it’s deprecated by cheap gags and plotlines that prove ultimately pointless. Some parts were evidently snipped from the ending such as the initial problems introduced between side characters York and his fiancée Liz.

With good cinematography, casting, shooting and visual design, the only flaws that contributed toward the film’s bad reviews overall would be the lack of synchronisation in plotlines and the cheapening of the plot because of the poor writing. Ultimately, ‘Holidate’ is a film about the blossoming of a love-hate relationship to a whirlwind romance. It is perfect for any time of the year.

Run time: 1 hr 44 min

Streaming on Netflix

Ciara Farrell – Film and Television Writer