Thursday, December 13, 2018

Movie Review: "Christmas Inheritance" (2017)

Director: Ernie Barbarash
Year: 2017
Rating: NR
Running Time: 1 hour, 44 minutes

Wealthy socialite Ellen Langford travels to her father's hometown to deliver a box of letters to her uncle. To prove she has what it takes to run her dad's business, and without relying on her social status and credit cards, Ellen is instructed that she must go to the town incognito, and she can't spend more than $100 dollars while she's there.

Christmas Inheritance 2017 Netflix movie still Eliza Taylor Michael Xavier
"Some secrets are too big a burden to keep." (Image Source)
For nearly two decades, The Hallmark Channel has had a monopoly on producing disposable Christmas romances that the masses seem to love and adore. Now, Netflix has risen like a Christmas Phoenix to beat Hallmark at their own game. "Christmas Inheritance" is directed by Ernie Barbarash, who has directed numerous movies for The Hallmark Channel including "A Royal Winter" and "Reading Writing & Romance." It is written by Dinah Eng, whose only other writing credit is "The Reluctant Nanny," which is currently available on the Lifetime Network website. *sigh* This film tells the story of a wealthy socialite named Ellen Langford (Eliza Taylor), who is known more for her partying than her humanitarianism. She is next in line to inherit her father's company but wants to prove that she can be reliable and is not just another rowdy party gal. Her father gives her the task of delivering a box of letters to her uncle Zeke in his small hometown of Snow Falls. The only catch is, she can't use her credit cards, only gets $100 for the entire trip, and can't tell anyone who she is. When she arrives, she bumps into Jake (Jake Lacy), who works at her uncle Zeke's inn. Unfortunately, her uncle Zeke is not there when she arrives, which forces her to wait around and learn about the community where her father's business was founded.
Christmas Inheritance 2017 Netflix movie still Eliza Taylor Andie MacDowell
"Sometimes bold moves are worth making." (Image Source)
Isn't smalltown America just great?! It's soo0o0o0o0o0ooOOOoo much better than that stinky ol' homeless-infested, drab, overcrowded, big poopy old New York City! People in small towns know how to look after one other, and they don't need their cell phones, and they know how to dress for cold weather because it's always soo0o0o0oooo0OOOOo0oo0 warm in New York City and no one EVER needs to bundle up there!!! Small towns also seem to be a place where you can get a rather luxurious country hotel suite for less than $100 bucks a night and still have plenty of money left over! Maybe we've just been frequenting the wrong tiny towns our whole lives.

The overall narrative of "Christmas Inheritance" is as formulaic as can be. From the first couple of minutes, we knew exactly what was going to happen. It's clear from the get-go that the party-hard New York City socialite will learn to appreciate small town living come movie's end, and it even has the obvious by-the-book cliche romance to boot. At the start of the story, Ellen is in a relationship with a self-centered big city guy named Gray (Michael Xavier), a man who we're confident couldn't wipe his own ass without help. Lucky for her, the broken, down-to-earth, single, selfless country boy is waiting in the wings. Of course, Ellen and Jake don't get along at first. They clash heads about anything and everything, which is a tell-tale sign in any rom-com that they will eventually end up together. From there, it follows the beat-by-beat romance formula we've all come to know Hate? Depends on who you are. First, Jake and Ellen start out as enemies, then they quickly become friends and start to fall in love with each other despite the fact that she's engaged to someone else. Then, they have a fallout because of the lies she told (WHICH JAKE LITERALLY SHOULD HAVE OVERHEARD BECAUSE ELLEN CALLED HER UNCLE "UNCLE ZEKE" TWICE ON ONE PHONE CALL RIGHT IN FRONT OF HIM UGHHHHH), and eventually, they reconcile because all is always forgiven after a 30-second montage! The acting here is basic, but not entirely intolerable (but come on, Andie Macdowell and Jake Lacy, you're better than this). We can't say the same for the story because it's more than a little dull at times.
Christmas Inheritance 2017 Netflix movie still Eliza Taylor Jake Lacy
"You can play all lovey-dovey with the locals all you want, but trust me, you'll never be one." (Image Source)
Despite its glaring flaws, "Christmas Inheritance" tries its damnedest to capture the spirit of the holiday. By that standard alone, it's marginally successful. For those who have a deep love for and acceptance of Hallmark Channel-style movies, you may not hate this. We don't begrudge anyone who likes schmaltzy, over-acted films like this during the Christmas season, but we can't lie and call this a successful, well-made movie. We didn't absolutely hate it, but we didn't like it, either.

My Rating: 4/10
BigJ's Rating: 4/10
IMDB's Rating: ~5.7/10
RT Rating: ~50%
Do we recommend this movie: No.

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