Falling for Christmas lands with a thud

Falling for Christmas (Netflix)

The new Netflix Holiday Romance fails to be a worthy launching pad for Lindsay Lohan’s comeback.

At this moment, combining Lindsay Lohan and Christmas movies sounds like a gift to viewers. It worked for Vanessa Hudgens with The Princess Switch. Her fellow Mean Girls co-star Lacey Chabert has cornered the market. Now Lohan returns from a 3-year acting hiatus after various setbacks to take on the holiday season in the direct-to-Netflix fluff Falling for Christmas. It seems a sure thing for loyal Netflix and chill folks. Unfortunately, the film fails to capture any true romance, landing flat on its face.  

Set in the mountains of Salt Lake City, Utah, we meet snobby hotel heiress Sierra Belmont (Lohan) and her team prepping her breakfast, makeup, and wardrobe. She can’t be bothered to do anything herself. After all, that’s what her wealthy father, Beauregard Belmont (Jack Wagner), pays them for. Sierra’s current beau is the instantly annoying Tad (Malignant star George Young), a self-absorbed influencer who offers stereotypical quips about vapid millennial culture.

Falling for Christmas (Netflix)
Falling for Christmas doesn’t deliver Lindsay Lohan her comeback. (Netflix)

When Tad attempts to propose to Sierra, an unfortunate skiing accident leaves her with a bump on the head and no memory. Luckily, The North Star Lodge owner Jake Russell (Chord Overstreet) finds her. He’s willing to take her in until her mind comes around, setting a course for a romance at the cozy lodge. Over time, Sierra grows closer to his smiley-faced daughter Avy (Olivia Perez), engages in the Christmas festivities, and becomes someone she never was before.  

Falling for Christmas begins the Lohanissance with the hope of providing holiday cheer. Instead, it delivers an empty package. The first negative sign is stock footage of people skiing and crisp snow-capped mountains in the horizon fit for a screensaver. At the same time, the narrative action takes place in small studios repurposed to look like quaint lodges or Christmas marts. That’s not to say that the bar for holiday material is high. Nonetheless, longtime Hallmark Channel writer/producer Janeen Damian still fails to deliver something fresh this holiday season in her first crack at the directing chair. So if you’re hoping for the next version of Happiest Season, adjust your expectations to something more like lame cheesiness. 

Still, there remains an undeniable charm in the twinkling eyes of Lohan. Undoubtedly, she’s the only redeeming part of Falling for Christmas. Even then, though, she’s hamstrung by the lack of chemistry with Overstreet. We’re asked to believe they’re falling in love, but it never feels more than just the two people who said yes to the project. He is a big nothing, lacking in charming looks or a sense of humor, leaving the character as bland as a bag of white rice. Even if Damian’s direction moves the attention to Lohan, her co-star leaves her out in the cold.  

[Falling for Christmas] delivers an empty package.

As far as the direction goes, Damian is doing the bare minimum of Christmas movie production, including the contractual Netflix cross-promotion with last year’s A Castle for Christmas. It’s all assorted garland, flannel scarves, and warm sweaters as mood setting. The screenplay from Jeff Bonnett and Ron Oliver loses the audience by flipping to Tad’s journey back to the hotel. His walk through the forest with a friendly ice fisher never finds the funny in the scenario. On top of that, it robs what little momentum there is in Sierra and Jake’s romance. That’s deadly when the plot’s direction is already obvious to the viewer.  

Is Falling for Christmas bad? The surprising answer is that it’s not bad enough. It has its moments where it gets close. Rampant continuity issues. A fake cup of hot cocoa that never spills. A blatant body double stand-in for a Lohan-Overstreet kiss. Alas, it isn’t enough. A trainwreck might be more enjoyable, letting it stand out from the plethora of holiday content. Instead, this ends up more like wallpaper. This may be the start of Lindsay Lohan’s return to acting. Unfortunately, it’s in service of a bad, forgettable movie. 

Falling for Christmas heats up Holiday ham beginning November 10 on Netflix.

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