Netflix: A Holiday Disappointment

As most students know, one of the best ways to avoid the stress of finals – or just avoid finals in general – and prep for that long-awaited holiday break is to dive into the comforts of Netflix.  While ABC Family has been providing an amazing line-up of holiday movies for its annual 25 Days of Christmas, the festive options on Netflix are limited.

A few well-known favorites such as Christmas with the Kranks and Bad Santa can be found under the ‘Holiday Favorites’ Netflix genre, but other than those, the offerings are unimpressive.  There are, however, a wide variety of children’s holiday movies and plenty of never-heard-of films to try out.  Unfortunately, these movies don’t hold much promise as most are rated with less than four stars.

Happy Christmas is one available option to viewers. Featuring beloved Pitch Perfect actress Anna Kendrick, the rated R holiday film surprisingly has just one star. It lives up to that review.  Happy Christmas follows Kendrick’s character, Jenny, who is suffering from a break-up right before the holiday season.  Jenny moves in with her older brother, his wife, and their son in Chicago.  Her immature personality proves to be destructive to their once-calm home.  Her drunken, marijuana-filled evenings create a ruckus in the home where two-year-old baby Jude is growing and learning.  The ‘holiday’ film has only minor hints of seasonal qualities, like when Jenny receives a gift from her new pot-selling boyfriend, and when Jude excitedly receives a stuffed dolphin on Christmas morning.  Other than these situations and festive decorations lighting up the house, the film lacks a sense of holiday excitement.

Lena Dunham, who plays Jenny’s best friend, Carson, provides some much-needed excitement and humor to the lackluster film.  The story also seems to skip out on plot as situations are sporadic and random.  One lasting issue throughout the 82 minute story is Jenny convincing her sister-in-law, Kelly, to write a new book.  The stay-at-home mom has been struggling with her minimal writing time and needs that push from Jenny to become content with her life, her career, and motherhood.  Jenny assist Kelly daily on what the book should include, but the film never provides the outcome of the publication.

Metacritic shares mixed reviews about Happy Christmas, and gives the film a score of 70.  The indie comedy-drama is noted as “a gently funny ensemble comedy that feels less like a movie than a short story.”  Another user describes it as “a subtle, witty, wise and deeply compassionate American movie.”  A less-impressed user calls the characters “unlikeable” and explains that the film overall “just doesn’t charm.”

This film is clearly on the lower end of the scale for stars Anna Kendrick and Lena Dunham.  Although it’s an interesting change-up from the stereotypical holiday film, it’s probably not the best choice if searching for a happy-go-lucky Christmas movie.  If yearning for an extra festive holiday movie, a better Netflix option may be Santa Paws or Kung Fu Panda: Holiday.  A full line-up of ABC Family’s 25 Days of Christmas can be found at

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