Thanksgiving is over and the Christmas season has kicked into high gear. Netflix, with its usual timely holiday releases, dropped a new movie, “Holiday Rush,” on Nov. 28. However, this new entry in the streaming giant’s Christmas catalog is missing more than a few key elements to make it an enjoyable holiday movie.
“Holiday Rush” feels like an attempt to recreate the feel and tone of a Lifetime original movie with the addition of a “deeper meaning” — yet, it falls flat on its face.
The film centers around four children who have lost their mother and are being spoiled by their father, Rashon “Rush” Williams.
When Rush, played by Romany Malco, loses his job as a radio DJ, the family is forced to find a new way to celebrate Christmas with less focus on gifts.
While Malco gives a solid performance, the script is a bit corny. Rush also narrates large segments of the plot at some points during the movie, but then ceases to do so at other points in a seemingly random way. This is distracting and sticks out as an odd feature of the film.
Important aspects within the plot, like the mother’s death and Rush’s love interest are randomly packed into small scenes that end up feeling forced into the narrative. The plot was, unfortunately, fairly half-baked.
There is a lot of strange mixing and overlapping of various plotlines that don’t seem to go together: The spoiled nature of the children gets mixed in with the plotline of their late mother, which gets lost in the multiple love interests which then also get mixed with Rush’s career troubles. The film continually jumps between plotlines which leads to them all falling short.
If the movie was given an extra half hour, the plot likely would have been more coherent. However, the film’s many pieces were not nearly as fleshed out as they should have been and, as a result, render the film somewhat incoherent.
Another shortcoming involves the film’s distractingly poor lighting design that makes the movie look like it was filmed on artificial studio sets. Audiences tend to expect a higher production quality with movies (especially those made on a Netflix budget), yet “Holiday Rush” looks more like a low-budget television sitcom than a well-made film.
There is a nice attempt by the movie to incorporate a theme of increasing greed among children who ask for thousands of dollars worth of Christmas gifts, but much like other parts of “Holiday Rush,” the idea is not fully fleshed out and ultimately feels weak.
The movie had promising aspects to it, including Malco as its lead, but missed important story beats and climaxes to create the cheesy holiday family movie that Americans love to indulge in in December.