Welcome to another season-appropriate movie review. Today we’re going to take a closer look at I’ll be Home for Christmas.
The Plot (as found on Rotten Tomatoes):
Estranged from his father (Gary Cole), college student Jake (Jonathan Taylor Thomas) is lured home to New York for Christmas with the promise of receiving a classic Porsche as a gift. When the bullying football team dumps him in the desert in a Santa suit, Jake is left without identification or money to help him make the journey. Meanwhile, his girlfriend, Allie (Jessica Biel), does not know where he is, and accepts a cross-country ride from Jake’s rival, Eddie (Adam LaVorgna).
This is another Christmas movie that pretty much came out of left field for me. I had never even heard of it, but Disney+ threw it my way, so here we are. To be honest, now that I have seen it, I can tell you that I wouldn’t have missed much had I continued living in ignorance.
I guess the main appeal of the movie when it came out back in 1998 was that the lead is played by Jonathan Taylor Thomas and that his girlfriend is played by Jessica Biel. I would assume that posters of both of them adorned a significant number of bedroom walls back in the 90s. However, in 2021 that is not enough to make this movie work.
There is nothing particularly charming about this film and definitely nothing too funny. The script is extremely messy and it doesn’t help that pretty everybody is very unlikeable. Thomas’ character (Jake) is a self-centered idiot and continues to be so throughout the entire film. I didn’t buy his “redemption” in the last, what?, 3 minutes of the film. Biel’s character has a point in being angry but I was rather irritated that she was such a bitch towards that guy she hitched a ride with. Like, you know he’s a twat, you really hate him, so either don’t drive with him or stop being so rude to somebody who is technically doing you a favor. That guy, of course, can go into the ocean. But that’s a whole other problem. 😅
So, Jake is trying to make it home for Christmas. For some reason, he hates his family? Or is it just his stepmom? Honestly, that part was extremely underdeveloped, and I had a hard timing feeling for Jake. I understand why his family wants him home but the scenes with them were also so devoid of any charm, warmth, or feeling that it didn’t work for me either.
Most of the script is almost cringy with Jake jumping through so many hoops to make it home. The situations are so weird, and I honestly don’t know who the writers managed to convince somebody that the script makes any sense. Like, not even remotely.
I think pretty much the only thing I enjoyed was the music. I’ll be Home for Christmas featured some great tunes, so at least it wasn’t a total loss. But other than that I mostly rolled my eyes instead of being amused or even caring about any of the characters.
This was a really disappointing Christmas film was lacks warmth, charm, good characters, and most definitely a halfway decent story. Not one I’m gonna add to my annual X-Mas rotation!
Did you watch the film? Let me know in the comments!