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16 Dec 2023


NextImg:Stream It Or Skip It: ‘The Holiday Proposal Plan’ on Lifetime, An Infuriating and Disappointing Entry In The ‘Exes Realizing They Still Love Each Other’ Genre

Lifetime’s The Holiday Proposal Plan is a scheme-heavy movie about a woman and her estranged ex who plan to help their best friends get engaged at Christmas. In the process, they remember why they fell in love, but essentially it takes an hour of irritating bickering and absurd, farce-like deception for them to reach that conclusion.

Opening Shot: We see shots of an idyllic, wintry mountain town covered in snow, followed by a dining table set up with loads of festive treats from around the world. Then we cut to Los Angeles, where travel writer Sunny Kravitz (Tatyana Ali) enters her office and her boss, Genevieve, butters her up because she needs Sunny to work over Christmas.

The Gist: Sunny has launched a hugely successful women’s travel column that has gained her thousands of fans, women who have been inspired to travel thanks to her. Her best friend Bree (Whitney Able) hosts the column’s companion TV show, Girls Gone Global. But right before Christmas, Bree gets worried because her boyfriend and Jarod (Geovanni Gopradi) canceled their holiday vacation plans after learning she’d have to work while they were traveling, and Bree is worried that he wants time away from her to evaluate their relationship.

The two women cook up a plan that seems to solve all their problems: Sunny pitches an idea for a column that showcases twelve Christmas traditions from all over the world… but the big finale will be a proposal that takes place at Sunny’s parents’ bed and breakfast in the mountains. Bree’s proposal. (I’m still not sure what this has to do with international traditions but we’ll just go with it.) Sunny will write about it in her column, and Bree will feature it on her show. Sure, it means they’ll both be working over Christmas, but in the end, hopefully it will end in Bree’s proposal: Bree will be happy, and Sunny’s boss will get the content she needs.

The only trouble is getting Jarod to agree to go to the chalet in the first place, so Bree asks Kip (Jesse Kove), Sunny’s ex-boyfriend and Jarod’s old friend, to come along. Kip and Sunny broke up because Sunny skipped out on Christmas with Kip’s family the year before because she was traveling for work, and things have been bitter between them ever since. Jarod is blindsided when he arrives at the chalet, not realizing Bree or Sunny will be there, and much like him, I’m already frustrated and exhausted by the plot-heavy hijinks.

As each day passes, the deception builds. Sunny and Kip broke up because she worked too much, so she’s been keeping the fact that she’s working over the break a secret from him. Not to mention the proposal plot that Jarod is not supposed to know about, but which is not subtle. As Bree and Jarod grow closer, so too do Sunny and Kip – until he learns she’s BEEN WORKING THIS WHOLE TIME so he bails. Will they make up in time for Christmas or what?!

What Movies Will It Remind You Of? The Holiday Proposal Plan shares a lot in common with another new holiday film, Freevee’s EXmas, as two former lovers spend an uncomfortable Christmas together.

A Holiday Tradition: The movie features twelve holiday traditions from different countries, like making Swedish rice pudding (superstition has it that the lucky woman who finds an almond hidden in hers will be the next to marry), or the Czech tradition of women throwing boots at a door (superstition has it that the lucky woman who lands closest to the door will be the next to marry)… you get the picture. These traditions are all real, but as a way to move the plot along, they are also not subtle. “Wow, you’re really knocking us on our heads with that whole marriage thing, aren’t you?” Jarod says as the women describe the Czech boot-throwing game. DING DING! Now you’re getting the plot of the movie, Jarod!

Does the Title Make Any Sense?: It is a very effective and literal title, yes.

Our Take: It’s not often that I want to shut a movie off 20 minutes in, but this movie is so thick with convoluted plots and crummy acting that it felt like an eternity muddling through the next hour and ten minutes. To illustrate how Sunny and Kip don’t get along, there’s not a single interaction for the first half of the film that isn’t flecked with winces and grimaces in each others’ direction and exasperated insults. Jarod is similarly disgruntled since he’s annoyed to be there, too, and constantly takes shots at Bree for working too much.

Not only is there no chemistry between the romantic couples, there’s no reason for me to root for them. The men aren’t supportive of the women’s careers, and the women have unrealistic expectations of their partners. Nothing anyone does makes sense either: over the course of their holiday week, the women are putting on the whole 12 traditions of Christmas thing for everyone, but they’re pretending that it’s not for work so that the men don’t get mad that they’re working over the holiday.

All of this is supposed to set up tension, but what it actually does is depict everyone as shallow and terrible at communicating. When Kip finally finds out that Sunny’s been staging all of the international holiday traditions for… the article she’s working on!… he flips out and gives her a whole “I feel like such a fool” speech. Because she’s doing fun work for a job she loves? I hate everything about this plot, honestly. (Eventually, she stands up to her boss and declares that she will not be writing an article about Christmas after all! But she will have something on her boss’s desk by New Year’s!)

There is so much I don’t quite understand about what’s happening. I’m still not sure how Sunny’s column and Bree’s TV show are connected, or whether the proposal makes it into anyone’s column or show, as that’s never mentioned again, so I’m just going to suspend my confusion and not overthink it. And Kip is supposedly a farmer, which is literally a 24-7 kind of job, and yet he’s mad that Sunny works too much? Sure, Jan. (I don’t always get so annoyed by seemingly minor details, but these are just a few examples of the sloppy writing that made me really mad at this movie.)

Just do yourself a favor and go watch Tatyana Ali in one of The Fresh Prince of Bel Air‘s Christmas episodes and call it a day.

Parting Shot: Sunny and Kip kiss under the mistletoe, which is, in fact, the twelfth and final global holiday tradition she had planned.

Performance Worth Watching: If I could give an ensemble Razzie to the four main actors here, I would.

Memorable Dialogue: “We make not such a bad team when we’re on the same side, yeah?” Kip tells Sunny when he shows up at the house at the very end of the movie (dressed like a plainclothes Captain America in a brown leather jacket and white tee) after everyone thought he had dumped her forever.

Our Call: SKIP IT and go do something more fun like eating gravel or driving your car into a ditch.