And now my friends, it is December – and that means my movie reviews for the next 3 weeks will be ALL CHRISTMAS ALL THE TIME!!! Thanks to Lifetime, Hallmark, Lifetime Movie Network and ABC Family – there will be no shortage of festive piles of reindeer poop for me to review. Some will be premieres (did YOU know Carrie Fisher was still making movies? In 2012?!), some will be years old but only just recently caught my eye. All will be terrible.
And what better movie to set the tone, than one starring Mr. Berlin Wall himself, DAVID HASSELHOFF.
We open on a lovely Seattle Christmas season. The cutesy Christmas display and clanging bells are already so overwhelmingly sweet during the opening credits that I just KNOW I’ll have diabetes at the end of this mess. Now we see our female protagonist played by Caroline Rhea aka one of Sabrina the Teenage Witch’s aunts. You remember her, she’s the one on the right:
But we can tell already that Caroline Rhea will NOT be partaking in any magical hijinks, or any fun at all in this movie. How can we tell? She’s wearing a BLACK PANTSUIT, the least jolly outfit in all the land. This bitch is gonna be SUCH a GRINCH.
It’s 9 days before Christmas, and BUSINESS MOM is having a by-the-numbers movie morning. She’s so harried! She has a business breakfast she needs to get to, her husband (Jack) is also important and late, her eldest daughter (Anna) is aloof and uninterested, her middle son (David) is being bullied by neighborhood toughs, and her youngest daughter (Steffie) is hiding in a closet making her dolls fight each other, which is not at all indicative of a very serious mental problem that she should see a psychiatrist about. Maybe we should also check that closet for guns? No time – Business Mom only has so much free time this morning, and she’s gotta use it to insult her mother-in-law. Grrrr, hilarious family tensions!! Also – really hoping we get her name soon, so I don’t have to shorten Business Mom and keep referring to her as “B M”.
I don’t know how she does it, but she makes it to work on time. And I get a name! She is Maya. And Maya does….I dunno – ads? No, makeup. And she’s trying to land a deal with a comically foreign Russian perfume magnate. This deal must be finalized by Christmas, and in the meantime – Boris is excited to experience a real American Christmas!! He invites himself over to Maya’s for Christmas Eve, which is actually really rude. Now she has to throw a party! And she just doesn’t have the TIME! What will she do? She’ll probably have to hire some sort of….I dunno, party planner? Holiday themed party planner.
Also – really, with this Russian guy? I don’t trust him. First it’s our Christmas Eve celebrations, and then he and his Cuban friends are TAKING OVER OUR SUBURBAN HIGH SCHOOLS.
That evening back at Stereotypical Two Working Adult Family House, dinner is re-heated Thai food, and no one eats together. Oh, and the youngest daughter is planning to execute one of her dolls in the morning, and everyone just shrugs off her quirkiness. Except me – I’ve contacted the authorities to have her searched at school tomorrow. This one….this one gives me the creeps.
They are so stressed and overwhelmed and there are too many people coming over for this Christmas Eve party. But don’t worry, some guy at Jack’s office blah blah blah – let’s hire the Christmas Consultant!! So they go to meet him. And oh my God, like out of one of my merriest dreams, in walks David Hasselhoff, and he starts screaming Merry Christmas at them in different languages and he’s dressed like THIS:
Ahhh, he’s perfect. And he’s scaring them. And his name is Owen, but let’s keep calling him Hoff. Hoff gives them the hard sell on why he will help with their holiday bullshit and how for the rest of the year he does other events, but how Christmas is where his heart is. Hoff! Love! Christmas! He even uses these pens:
He’s hired! Let’s get to work! Hoff comes over to meet the family/inspect the house, and show that he has a truly unsettling amount of intel on all the children. He starts barking orders at them and calling them his elves and opening his paisley vest to reveal candy strapped to his body. Wait, seriously? Maybe don’t leave this guy alone with your kids. Well fine – leave him alone with Steffie. No one would mourn the loss of that little creeper.
They head out to find the perfect tree, which seems to be an exercise in the Hoff reliving some of his worst PTSD nightmares from ‘Nam. He’s crawling through the tree lot, yelling at everyone and throwing pinecones (GRENADES) at people’s faces. But no matter – they find the tree and get it up just as family members begin to arrive. Hoff is introduced as a friend of the family, because it would be too embarrassing to let anyone know they hired a party planner. Much better to have them think they befriended a random stranger in the last 24 hours and invited him to live in their house with them. A stranger prone to outbursts of song and pulling garlands out of their young son’s shirt. What I’m saying is: This family has got it all figured out.
We’ve got Jack’s parents who hate Maya (DUH), Maya’s Mom who is older and so keeps mentioning her bladder, Jack’s creepy cousin who walks in with a 6-pack and a sleeping bag (providing all the backstory on him we need) and Maya’s younger and prettier sister who runs marathons because she is perfect. Before anyone gets a chance to enjoy the delicious hors d’oeuvres the Hoff slaved over, Steffie floats down the stairs to tell everyone that they’re going to die one day. For real with this kid? Did she crawl out of their TV? I can’t find a proper picture of her, but she actually looks like Barbara Hershey’s daughter Victoria in “Beaches”. Who, if memory serves, was quite a little shit as well.
Anyhooooooo, Hoff keeps everyone calm and distracts them from Steffie’s increasingly dark cries for help/warning signs. He does so by enlisting them to do all the Christmas work he was hired and paid a million dollars to do. Oh, Hoff!! You rascal!! He literally walked around swinging a giant candy cane while everyone else put up all the decorations, and then accepted all the compliments when it was done. The man is a genius.
Maya feels inadequate in the face of all of the Hoff’s great work. As well she should – she CHOSE a career over family, and we all know you can’t have both. So go hug your fax machine, Maya – while the Hoff steals your children’s love!!
Now the Hoff is taking everyone shopping, and learning all of their secrets. David is getting beat up by the neighbor! Anna likes a boy! Maya is stressed about that Russian client, who is ACTUALLY named Boris! Fantastic – I was just being culturally insensitive when I called him Boris, but it looks like the Lifetime writers are on the same page. I wonder if they’re hiring….
The Hoff takes the children caroling. They are dressed like this:
And somehow it is turned into a competition with another group of carolers, which might be the least believable part of this movie so far. In all my 23 years on Earth (WINK), I’ve never seen one human caroler, let alone a band, let alone multiple bands of carolers. People don’t just break out into song, not ever. Do you know how quickly the kids in “Glee” would get their asses beat in the real world? *sigh* Not nearly quick enough, my friends. I hate them all so much.
The Hoff then sets up an elaborate romantic evening for Maya and Jack. This consists of a sleigh set up in front of a green scene in their garage, to simulate an intimate ride through the snow; when they are really surrounded by paint cans and garbage and probably rats with AIDS. Also – where did this green screen come from? Did the Hoff have it in his PT Cruiser? He is so fucking magical, you guys. While on this romantic sleigh ride (for the married couple but also him because he’s pretending to drive them), Hoff mentions his wife and a Christmas tradition they always share. This is the 2nd, maybe 3rd time he’s brought up his wife when NO ONE ASKED. It also begs mentioning that he said in the beginning that he works up to midnight on Christmas Eve, but spends Christmas Day with his family. Now! I don’t want to brag, but I’m a bit of a made-for-TV-holiday-movie expert (*puts gun in mouth*), and I can already tell you where this is going. The Hoff’s wife is dead. She died on Christmas. And he’ll be spending Christmas Day at her graveside, mourning her. And the reason he got into the Christmas Consulting racket, was as a way to honor her memory. OK? That is my professional prediction. If I’m wrong, I’ll chug this glass of wine I just poured. If I’m right, I’ll reward myself with more wine. OK, let’s continue!
Blah Blah Blah, Christmas Pageant, Yay Yay Yay, David Hasselhoff in ugly Christmas sweaters! The Hoff gives David some advice/the strength to stand up to the fat ginger neighbor kid that’s been bullying him. Obstacle cleared! The Hoff orders a pizza from the boy Anna likes, and forces them to make plans for a date! Obstacle cleared! If Christmas were a video game, the Hoff would be SO CLOSE to reaching the final boss. He just needs to fix little Steffie’s emotional problems, which I’m sure he can do with some tinsel.
Finally, it’s Christmas Eve! Time for the big huge American Christmas Eve party to impress Maya’s Commie client. Everything is going great, until Anna delivers a speech thanking the Hoff for all he’s done. Maya flips out, because she wanted all the credit for playing Angry Birds on her phone all week. So she blows up his spot and tells everyone that he is the HIRED HELP, and then yells at each guest one by one before attacking the Hoff with a giant candy cane (oh, the irony!) and firing him. You guuuuuuys! It’s Christmas Eve and everything is ruined!! This is the worst Christmas ever!! Oh, and the Russian is upset and Maya gets fired. Ooooof.
Now it is Christmas morning, and Maya gets up to survey the wreckage. She fucked Christmas up good. But she has also learned a lesson in the process – about how Christmas is about family, and some other noise. So her husband and children forgive her, and perform the shittiest version of “O Come All Ye Faithful” for her. It’s so bad that now I’m wondering if they actually didn’t forgive her, and this is her punishment. Either way, she has been inspired to make things right with the Hoff – so she rushes to his house. It’s weird that she knows where he lives, but OK. He’s not there, because DUH – didn’t I SAY he’d be at the cemetery? Didn’t I SAY that? Pay attention to me, Caroline Rhea.
Sure enough, she runs into a neighbor, who tells her the Hoff’s wife has been dead for 5 years. Toooooold ya. But oh rats – he’s not at her graveside, he’s walking around downtown and looking at all the department store windows, which was one of his traditions with his wife before she OD’d, or however she died. These are weird family traditions. Doesn’t anyone else get drunk at 11am and feverishly scratch off Lotto tickets in the hopes that they’ll win enough money to never have to see their relatives again? Because that’s a CONROY FAMILY TRADITION. Sure enough, though – his Christmas Consultancy business IS a tribute to his dead wife, so I’m calling this one a W. Maya apologizes to the Hoff – they are best friends now. They go home to Maya’s place where her boss and the Russian are there to re-hire her, their explanation being that they had sex the night before. No, that’s really the reason. Then a random chick in a Santa hat walks in and declares that she loves Christmas, and so you know she and the Hoff will be together forever. EVERYTHING IS GOOD AGAIN!!! This makes the Hoff happy. Happy enough to accordion all over the place:
Then there is a creepy family dance party, during which I assume Steffie slinks off to poison the egg nog. Because that bitch? That bitch is crazy. MERRY CHRISTMAS!!