In Christmas With You, aging pop star Angelina (Aimee Garcia) is told by her label that she needs to write a holiday song or else be dropped. So she tries to find inspiration in all the wrong places.
When she sees a cover of one of her songs posted on Instagram by a young fan, Angelina decides to make the fan’s wish come true and meet her. When she does, Angelina and the teen begin a musical collaboration that might help her get past the burnout that is taking over her career.
It’s not easy to find a believable connection between two people when they aren’t interacting on a real basis, but the movie attempts to build it through a plot contrivance. The resulting film is a bland rom-com that feels like a Mad Libs take on modern lingo. It lacks the chemistry and heart of a good rom-com, and it isn’t fun to watch.
Netflix’s flurry of comebacks this year continues with Christmas With You, a family-friendly rom-com that stars Freddie Prinze Jr., who returns to the rom-com genre after roles in Boys and Girls and She’s All That. The cheesy comedy doesn’t have much to say, but it does make up for that with its sugary, lighthearted escapades and unexpected seasonal touches.
Director Gabriela Tagliaviani directed the film, which is a sequel to her Spanish-language comedy Despite Everything. She also wrote the screenplay.
A seasoned writer and director, Tagliaviani has also worked on several TV shows, including Ladies’ Night and Without Men.
The film’s cast includes Deja Monique Cruz as Cristina, a young fan who vowed to one day meet her idol. When Angelina watches the teen’s cover, she is enamored with her performance and decides to fulfill her wish.
It’s unclear how exactly the pair met, but Garcia said in an interview with Us that she is “definitely a fan” of Prinze. And that she was “very excited” for the opportunity to work with him.
At first, the pair seems polar opposites, but their similarities become evident as they write together and try to create a song that will inspire both of them. They both have a need to reconnect with their fans.
Their relationship also grows closer as they write the song together and attend a concert. In a way, it feels like a throwback to old school movies, where love birds would fall in love through writing music together.
A few moments in the film try to inject some real emotion, but it’s so lacking that they feel out of place. The two teen’s bond over their dead mothers is especially touching, but the underlying story doesn’t have much to offer.
It’s a little cliched, but Christmas With You is a decent enough film to pass the time over the holidays. Its wholesome content is a welcome break from some of the more sappy Christmas films out there. The cast is also solid, with Aimee Garcia and Freddie Prinze Jr. delivering strong performances, but the film is ultimately a letdown.