A woman who loses love may have found another shot in this sometimes raunch holiday rom-com produced and co-written by Vince Vaughn.
Jessie is an aspiring photographer who takes a job at a local mall doing Christmas photos. Her boyfriend Shawn is an aspiring businessman who sees everything as a brand and looks for new ways to make money. When Shawn is given an opportunity for a major job in New York before the holidays, he breaks up with Jessie, fearing her career path isn’t in sync with his. However, Shawn’s parents, unhappy with the decision he made, decides to invite Jessie to their home for Christmas anyway, which she reluctantly agrees.
Upon her arrival, she is met with a warm welcome immediately as Shawn’s mother has always felt close to Jessie as if she were her daughter. The next day, Jessie wakes up and is surprised when she meets David, Shawn’s free-wheeling cousin and his dog Polo. Jessie and David immediately hit it off. Even when local baker Becky tries relentlessly to rekindle her old flame with David. However, things are about to get even more complicated when Shawn arrives from New York and is shocked to see Jessie there with his family.
Christmas movies are definitely a dime a dozen with the genre of the romantic comedy. By now, everyone is enjoying those Lifetime or Hallmark romantic comedies that tend to be the same thing over and over again. Boy meets girl, girl meets boy, they fall in love in time for Christmas. While this new film is like one of those typical holiday rom-coms, it does being something a little different in the structure and some pretty raunchy dialogue mixed in.
What’s very interesting in the structure is that the story involves a jilted woman still invited to her ex’s parents house regardless of the fact their son is her ex-boyfriend. Brittany Snow, fresh off her role in X, goes a more lighthearted role as Jessie, a young woman who has a passion for photography. Former Saturday Night Live star Alex Moffat is a mix of stern, hilarious, and raunchy in his role of the ex Shawn. He seems all business minded until he starts comparing business to the raunchiness of fornicating. Moffat disappears and then reappears midway through, and his scenes just get funnier and funnier.
When Justin Long’s David comes into the picture, what’s great is that the tension that is set to build between he and Jessie is perfectly timed. Where in most of the typical holiday rom-coms, the romance builds up practically right away, here, the romance starts out as the slow burn even when we see David reject Becky’s flirtatious ways and kudos to Joanna Garcia Swisher for playing a role that deems her not so much the femme fatale, but more someone who is accepting of her situation but in a twist of fate goes on the same level of another major character. Let’s add to the mix George Wendt and Julia Duffy as Shawn’s parents, the titular Campbells. Especially Duffy, who loves to go outside certain boundaries at times yet remain loyal to her hubby, especially reminding him when it’s a certain time of the morning.
Christmas with the Campbells is a fun meshing of your typical Lifetime/Hallmark holiday movie with the raunchy dialogue of Wedding Crashers without going overboard in the department. A terrific cast makes this one to enjoy if you love a fun (and wild) holiday comedy.
WFG RATING: A-
RLJE Films and AMC+ presents a Wild West Picture Show/Naughty and Nice production. Director: Clare Niederpruem. Producers: Vince Vaughn, Peter Billingsley, and Dan Lagana. Writers: Vince Vaughn, Dan Lagana, and Barbara Kymlicka. Cinematography: Kristoffer Carrillo. Editing: Simon Davidson.
Cast: Brittany Snow, Justin Long, Alex Moffat, Joanna Garcia Swisher, George Wendt, Julia Duffy.
The film will be in select theaters and streaming on AMC+ on December 2.