It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas (2019)

Eric Mabius, Tricia Helfer, Aliza Vellani, Raf Rogers,
When a New England Christmas decorating competition searches for the town with the most Christmas spirit, the mayors of East and West Riverton go all out to get their towns to the top of the holiday heap.
  • 6.2 /10.0 IMDB Rating:
  • DatePublished:
  • 2021-11-25 Added:
  • Rick Garman, Writer:
  • David Weaver, Director:
  • Jamie Goehring, John MacCarthy, Producer:


4 / 10

Like a nice looking decoration that lacks charm

The title of the film is one of those that is both corny and oddly sweet. The premise wasn't all that exciting, which was no surprise to me, and sounded very predictable and reviews were not so great. Have nothing against Tricia Helfer and Eric Mabius and Hallmark has been responsible for a good deal of stuff worth watching. That is including films that conceptually don't promise a lot but delivers more than expected. Maybe 'It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas' could have been one of those films.

Sadly that was not the case. 'It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas' is one of those semi-watchable for completest sake Hallmark Christmas films, but also one that generally was to me below average and a little worse than what was expected. There are things not done too badly, but 'It's Beginning to Look Like Christmas' is on the whole lacking in quite a lot of areas including the central chemistry. 2019 was not a great year for Hallmark Christmas films, with only a few being above decent, and while not one of the worst from that year this is a good representation of why.

'It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas' is certainly not all bad. It is shot nicely and the locations are picturesque and appropriately festive. Some of the soundtrack captures the Christmas spirit in an affectionately nostalgic way.

Helfer is charming as the female lead and gives her role one hundred percent commitment without going over the top.

Mabius' character however is dull and too uptight and he injects very little enthusiasm let alone personality to him. He and Helfer have no chemistry together, they don't look comfortable together and they were not believable as friends let alone lovers. The relationship is not developed that well either, taking too much while to reach any turning point and then it feels rushed later. If it was focused on more too, that would have helped. There was too much focus on the whole competition aspect, which did get juvenile and lost its charm too early. The supporting cast don't really stand out all that much and their characters are basically samey variants of many characters in Hallmark films.

While most of the film looks quite nice, there are times where it is on the over-decorated side and in a way that's pretty gaudy. The script is pretty stilted, with the two leads speaking in a way that often sounded awkward, and there is a lot of the cringe factor. The story is basically a cobbling together of most Hallmark cliches in plot developments and characterisation, everything here has been seen before and everything here has felt pretty worn out for a while now. It also moves slowly, especially in the rather uneventful first half, and doesn't have much warmth or charm (pretty dreary and bland mostly). The ending is another one of those rushed, too tidy and forced ones.

Overall, not everything is done badly but a lot is wrong here sadly. 4/10.

5 / 10

It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas

5/10 - maybe I am just suffering from Christmas movie fatigue, but I didn't really care for this one

7 / 10

Slow start but hang on

There's Tricia Helfer as number six and other similar characters. Then there's the Hallmark Helfer. I have loved her in some of those roles. There wasn't enough of the latter in the first half of the movie.

The movie spent too much time and focus on the competition premise. It reminded me of Martha in Good Witch. In that show, Martha is intentionally made obnoxious. I got tired of that aspect of this movie.

It becomes pretty obvious what's going to happen, but it works and definitely reflects a positive Christmas spirit. Obnoxious is gone and the Hallmark Helfer has made an appearance.

Some have complained that there is no chemistry between these leads. I think it's there, but it's a little different. For one thing, like I said earlier, the first half of the movie doesn't give chemistry much chance. Also, maybe it's more subtle than we're used to.

5 / 10

Zero chemistry

These actors are badly cast together. No chesmitry at all. She is too tall for him. Not believable at all. And a sugar sweet, fake, phony, absurd, lidicrous, embarrassing ending.

2 / 10

No chemistry

No chemistry between the leads, wooden acting, didn't care about the characters or storyline. This one is a miss. The only good thing is it wasn't starring overused Lacey, Danica or Candice.