Movie Review: The Christmas Contest (2021)

Synopsis: Years after their breakup, Lara and Ben find themselves competing against each other in a televised Christmas competition. While they both want to win the $50,000 prize for their respective charities, renewed feelings may force them to choose between winning and a shot at getting back together.

Who's in it? The movie stars Candace Cameron Bure, John Brotherton, Barbara Niven, BJ Harrison and Keenan Tracey.

Review: My wife and I saw this movie advertised multiple times while binge watching Hallmark movies over the weekend. It looked interesting so we made sure to set aside time to watch it when it aired last night. Unfortunately, I just didn't like this one as much as I thought I would.

I'll start out by saying I think the idea was a good one (though I feel like it's been done before) and had quite a bit of potential. However, the film just never really lives up to that potential, at least in my opinion.

One of the things that hurt this movie was it was very predictable, even for a film in this genre. I was able to correctly guess at who would end up winning the contest at about the halfway point of the movie along with the outcome of every other little subplot in the film. Yes, it is a Hallmark movie and there will be those who will tell you that is to be expected but, after seeing plenty of other Hallmark movies that defied that expectation this past weekend, I am going to say that's no longer a good excuse.

I also have to say I was unimpressed with Lara (Bure) and Ben (Brotherton) as a couple. Their whole renewed relationship honestly just felt forced to me and, just as important, the movie fails to prove their rekindled relationship won't end up the same way it did the first time around, especially since, other than a job change and a promise to work harder and not be as competitive, I didn't see any proof either of them actually experienced real growth. 

In fact, Ben kind of reminded me of some of the boyfriend characters from other Hallmark films that were ultimately dumped when the woman found a "better" guy. Though, to be fair, Lara didn't seem like such a great catch at times either so maybe they just ended up together because nobody else wanted them?

Final Opinion: As I said, the movie had some potential but ultimately falls flat, even when compared to other films in this genre. I don't think it was worth the hype it was given over the course of the holiday weekend.

My Grade: C


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