Movie Review: Lights, Camera, Christmas (2022)

Synopsis: After quitting on her dream of a career in fashion design, Kerry Devine now runs a struggling boutique in her hometown and is on the verge of financial ruin. When a film crew comes to her town to make a holiday movie, she is less than interested. However, a chance encounter with the movie's stars results in a large sale from her boutique, an opportunity to be the movie's costume person and a romantic relationship with the film's leading man, Brad Baxter.

Who's in it? The movie stars Kimberley Sustad, John Brotherton, Laura Soltis, Matthew Kevin Anderson and Leila Harrison.

Review: This film has been on my Christmas movie list for a couple weeks and my wife and I finally had a chance to watch it last night. I wasn't sure what to expect from it at first, but it ended up being one of my favorites from 2022.

There are a couple things I really liked about this movie. One of them was the fun way it sort of gives a behind-the-scenes glimpse of a Hallmark movie being made (in this case, the fictional My Favorite Santa) while, at the same time, being what you would expect from a Hallmark film. I especially liked how the story is told in flashback form via questions being asked during a cast/crew panel discussion regarding My Favorite Santa. I don't normally like movies that are told via flashback but that was admittedly clever.

Kerry (Sustad) and Brad (Brotherton) are a fun couple to watch. I liked how Brad essentially had two personalities, the over-the-top movie star and the more serious and vulnerable guy who is afraid to take risks by taking roles that are outside his comfort zone. As a result of this, it was easy to see why Kerry would start out not really liking him all that much but eventually warm up to him. It also made their inevitable big fight (happens in pretty much every rom-com) much more impactful and believable with the outcome not being nearly as predictable as it is in other films from this genre.

The side story involving the divorced Caleb and Jill Turner (Anderson and Harrison) was equally as interesting. There was some great comedy as they refused to talk to each other directly despite him being the producer and her the writer/director and it was fun to watch them finally realize how much they still cared about each other and gradually become a couple again. It was a nice two-for-one romantic surprise considering that story could have been a movie in itself.

Brad's co-star, Mariah (Veronica Long) was also a pleasant surprise and I kind of wish the movie would have found more for her to do. She fell into the typical "best friend" role that is common in these movies but did it in a way that made her seem like something a little more. I would have loved to have seen her get her own romantic ending too, though that might have admittedly been a bit too much.

I think the only thing that truly would have made this movie better is if My Favorite Santa was an actual movie. How cool would it be to see this film then, next year, see the movie they were making with Brotherton and Long in the lead roles? I definitely would watch it, especially since the plot seemed interesting.

Final Opinion: Some parts were a bit predictable, but the movie plot allowed for a variety of unusual and funny twists (like trying to start a snowball fight but discovering the snow is actually potato flakes) and even the supporting characters are memorable. It's a movie I would recommend watching this holiday season as a result.

My Grade: A


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