Hallmark

Haul Out The Holly: Lit Up! (2023)

December 16, 2023

On the 0-Christmas scale I give it a "Chuckles at Christmas"
5.7/10
--%
27%

Unlike several recent films that have had some geography challenges (Holiday Road (2023), Checkin’ It Twice (2023)), this film was actually filmed in Utah, in Cottonwood Heights. You will immediately recognize the majestic Wasatch Front! Further, the film contains so many references to Utah pop culture! Things like, “No man can serve two Santas!”, or the need to let people decorate, “…how, where, or what they may.” Some might think this is too much. We didn’t mind and thought it was a clever homage to Utah culture.

If you didn’t see Haul out the Holly (2022) then watch that one first. This is the sequel and, while not as good, is still one of my favorites of the year. These Hallmarks are unlike any others. They are funny, the writing clever, the characters play their roles so well, and there isn’t an executive from the big city who returns to a small town.

This is seriously more like a Romcom than a Hallmark. My wife and I thought it was clever and had us laughing, but the kids thought it was hilarious as well.

Okay, Emily (Lacey Chabert) and hilariously anal-retentive HOA president Jared (Wes Brown) lead a cast of neighborhood do-gooders to deck out the neighborhood once again with Christmas Cheer. The HOA is over-the-top, the characters are beyond normal, and the dynamics hilariously antagonistic. Supporting cast only strengthens the show. Led by Stephen Tobolowsky playing Ned…wait, what? Aaaaah, let’s take a trip back to 1993.

https://youtu.be/XqSYC_vwhDg?feature=shared

Yes, the same Stephen Tobolowsky playing a character named Ned in Haul Out The Holly: Lit Up.

AND HE NAILS IT! Whether its talking about Bosnian sourced Russian made security systems or hilarious frenemy battles with his neighbors, Ned is a key part of the comedy.

This plot begins when a reality TV show family end up moving right onto Evergreen Lane. The family, The Jolly Johnsons wreak havoc on tradition and threaten to pull the neighborhood apart. What ensues is just an enjoyable movie. It isn’t the best by any metric. It isn’t the funniest. It isn’t really that Hallmarky, but it is just….good.

 

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