Spoiler ahead for Netflix's Holidate.
Netflix’s holiday themed rom-com Holidate is a tough film to pigeon-hole, despite what expectations may tell the audience. While it looks like a simple Christmas flavored romance that people feel they’ve already seen time and again, it’s actually a refreshingly raunchy story that spans a year’s worth of time. Unsatisfied with merely settling for the traditional December holiday it starts on, director John Whitesell and writer Tiffany Paulsen’s movie isn’t content to settle on one single festivity. Rather, we see an entire calendar worth of holidays played out, which led to some of Emma Roberts’ favorite scenes to shoot for the film.
As I was able to speak with Ms. Roberts and her co-star Luke Bracey on behalf of CinemaBlend, the subject had come up on how they would sell Holidate to an audience that might be burned out on this sort of story. With streaming services and television networks alike engaging in an arms race to feed the need for light and fluffy seasonal romance, whole marathons are programmed even in the middle of summer that show off countless snow filled gestures of love and affection. It all feels a bit static after a while, which makes the fact that Holidate switched things up with its year-round approach all the more refreshing. Appreciating that fact greatly, Emma Roberts shared the following holidays as her favorites when it came to filming:
Easter has to be one of the funniest holiday set pieces that Holidate can claim as its own. The sequence that Emma Roberts in particular is mentioning is a prime example of how different the Netflix original truly is. First of all, not many other romantic comedies can claim that they even take place during a holiday like Easter, or even St. Patrick’s Day. So giving a new holiday some life in the classic “boy meets girl, boy and girl swear to just be friendly dates for the holidays” genre certainly helps make things a little more exciting than the routine love comedy under the mistletoe.
But the way the sequence is portrayed in Holidate is even more proof that there’s a room for so many special occasions to get the meet-cute treatment. We’re shown a full on torrent of children storming down a hill, in pursuit of those hidden treats they’ve traditionally quested for. The chocolate bunny on top of the entire enterprise has to be the fact that as we first see this wave of young warriors gamboling furiously down the hill they’re willing to fight on, Ludacris’ classic tune “Move Bitch” is being played over the action. It’s exactly the sort of energy that a performer like Emma Roberts thrives on, to be sure, as the unexpected approach to the material leads to some unexpected fun for viewers to behold.
The path less travelled style used to make Holidate helps the film really shine, as Emma Roberts and Luke Bracey’s chemistry could sell any scenario to an audience. Though there’s a lot of unexpected raunch and variously underseen holidays included in the path to the movie’s ultimate conclusion, Roberts and Bracey are traditionally charming, which makes Easter just as romantically and comedically significant as a Christmas story ever would be. Most importantly, you can tell they were having fun together while making Holidate, and that makes the fun scenes to film even more enjoyable to watch.
Even in a standard romantic comedy, something as simple as two characters having a conversation can feel like a chore if you don’t have the right performers or dialogue. Rom-coms are one of the genres most guilty of standard patter that’s designed as mere filler to lead to the next kiss, which makes Holidate’s job all the more difficult on the surface. That challenge is more than exceeded by the TV-MA rated hijinks that are included, as seeing a couple falling in love through quips and sexual favors in a mall parking lot is definitely not something you’ll see on the Hallmark Channel. You mostly won’t see that sort of thing happen in the standard Netflix romantic comedy that parks itself on the streaming service’s library in time for Christmas. Watching both of Holidate’s co-stars engaging in that sort of behavior, while also dishing out more relatable dialogue, shows just how and why this tale was so much fun to tell.
We’re just about to see 2020’s Halloween season wrap up, ushering the world into the countdown to Thanksgiving and even Christmas. Considering the type of year it’s been, we could all use some extra fun and laughs in our lives. So if you’re already planning out your holiday movie binges for the rest of the year, you can catch Holidate on Netflix, as the film is currently available for streaming. But if you’re still into celebrating spooky season past November 1st, don’t worry, as there’s definitely a Halloween scene included in the mix. While you’re at it, be sure to check out our 2020 release schedule, as even Netflix still has some films planned to debut in theaters before the year is out.
CinemaBlend's James Bond (expert). Also versed in Large Scale Aggressors, time travel, and Guillermo del Toro. He fights for The User.
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