This movie begins on a tour in Rome. Our lead, Angela is an American tour guide… in Rome. She takes her tour group to a 400 year old Italian bakery as a special treat. One of the guests asks if some of the items are gluten free. Angela is like, probably? Turns out they were NOT! But apparently there is a $200 shot for gluten allergies so it’s all good! In light of this, and a series of other shocking missteps, she gets a talking to by her boss. Apparently she goes above and beyond in her job in the very worst way. Like, letting children hold a REAL sword and NOT REALIZING they took it all the way home with them. So, she gets fired. I am…unsympathetic after hearing the whole run down.
Our male lead, Oliver, drinks a festive drink with a candy cane sticking out of it in a business meeting. Why don’t we just forget about paragraph 7 so we can all go Christmas shopping? Two casual plates of Christmas cookies on the table at this BUSINESS MEETING. He slides a number across the table to close the deal. Nobody care about the logistics.
He goes into his boss’s office and she tells him he needs to go to Rome to close another deal. Yes please!
He types away in the back of a cab and types on his phone. MISSING ALL THE CULTURE. He gets dropped off apparently no where near his hotel and runs right in to Angela because he is looking at his phone. He is ecstatic she is American and she is super rude to him. He needs directions to a restaurant with all his stuff and she offers to just take him. Angela is SHOCKED he’s working so close to Christmas. She says she’s not working today and is thinking of starting her own company. They make it to the restaurant and he tries to pay her. She says in Italy, if someone gives you a gift, you have to accept it. It’s very rude not to. She is an expert on Roman culture. And she won’t let you forget it! And then Oliver seems to suggest he has never been out of the country or… learned social studies because he surprised that there are cultural differences between Italy and the United States. The Italian business man who Oliver is supposed to meet, over hears them chatting and invites Angela to join them for their BUSINESS MEETING.
They sit down inside. Oliver wants to cut right to the chase about his intentions to buy Luigi’s company. In doing so, Oliver seems to be ignoring all of Angela’s business advice. To be fair, she is a tour guide. Angela interrupts and says it’s Oliver’s first time in Rome. And then Oliver says he plans to just work the whole time! Like, wouldn’t his company WANT him to see the sights on their dime? Luigi, the businessman is aghast. And Angela swoops in again. Luigi invites him to the business factory tomorrow afternoon.
Oliver is mad because he feels like now he has to write a book report on Rome. Angela tries to leave again but he doesn’t know where he’s going again. He hands her his business card. They part ways but then he has another idea. How about he hires her to be his tour guide for the week? He offers to pay her double her normal rate. Again, on the company’s dime or what? She is surprisingly uninterested for someone who is unemployed. She’s like, let me give you a tour my way. And he’s like, I literally couldn’t care less how you give me a tour.
He runs into Jack and Margaret Fletcher, who he knows from work somehow? and he does some marketing for Angela. He suggests that she offers private tours and they seem interested. She is again, a little ungrateful for someone who needs a job. But I think she is mostly offended at how quickly he can come up with great names for a tour company. Notably, TOGA TOURS. Fantastic. Not offensive at all.
Angela tells Oliver they’re getting an early start to the tour tomorrow…at the crack of mid morning at 10AM. Apparently this is early in Italy. And this is why Rome is no longer the center of the world.
In the morning, Oliver wanders around his hotel room in his bathrobe. His boss calls and wonders if Luigi accepted their offer. She is a no nonsense business gal. Also, she’s paying for his trip. He’s like, I’m super Roman now and that’s not how we do business here, ESTELLE. Angela arrives for the tour. She puts a snowflake shaped pin on Oliver with a GPS tracking device so she won’t lose him. Does Oliver ever think about anything other than business? He whips out a guidebook he bought. She throws it in the garbage. She is NOT ABOUT CHECKLIST TOURISM. She needs him to experience the soul of Rome and Christmas not the SIGHTS. He’s like, you owe me $20. She shows him her favorite view of Rome.
Then he wants coffee. She tells him that he basically ordered plain milk instead of a coffee earlier today. How did he not notice that his drink didn’t taste like coffee? They go to a coffee stand and she gets three so they can pay it forward. The vendor says, “Prego” and she’s like, EXCUSE ME?
He says he loves Christmas because everyone wants to take time off and so he can get stuff done. But what was that candy cane drink all about ten minutes ago? He asks what she needs to start her tour company. She says she needs investors and a business plan. So, everything then. She’s done zero work on this idea. He says he can write her a business plan if she helps him with Luigi. Then, they try to figure out what motivates Luigi. Apparently it’s not money. It’s “heart”. But why is he interested in selling it to a giant corporation in New York then? So, it must be a little bit about the money. CAPITALISM.
They stroll through town and she suggests buying Christmas gifts. He already sent his parents on a cruise. Nice work, Ollie. She suggests he buy gifts for Luigi’s grandkids. He’s like, wait how many people do I have to buy Christmas gifts for?
At the factory, Luigi gives him a tour. It looks like a ceramics class at a rec center. The workers all work in SILENCE. He takes them to a room with a bunch of Christmas trees with hand made ornaments. Oliver keeps trying to talk about business terms. Luigi is like, I don’t care about business. I care about art. This is NOT an ornament business. We don’t care about making money. Except when we need money.
Whew. I do love that holly ornament though. Luigi asks if he’s been enjoying his time. Yes! Says Oliver. I even saw all seven hills of Rome. Luigi asks him which hill he likes the best and he mispronounces it. And then Oliver tells him how they did a pay it forward coffee. Luigi is really stoked about that and the gifts for his grandkids. So, he invites them to dinner at his house the next day.
Later, Angela runs into her old boss. He’s like, oh, cute tour for one person. Tomasso, the boss, says if he wants a real American tour, he should call him. He’ll show him the top ten sights!! Oliver talks Angela up to Tomasso. She’s running a boutique personalized tour company after all! A tour for Americans by an American. Just what everyone wants. Also, Disney is definitely not already doing this all over the world. Then Oliver says “Saving my bacon” for the second time in this movie.
Oliver is like, we should eat something and Angela is like, are you asking me on a date? Does anyone ever actually say that? She says she can’t go because she’s going to get a Christmas tree and he invites himself along. Isn’t he starving? Could they at least get something on the way? Oliver is painfully American. Can’t you just feel it? I can say this because I am a super cultured traveler myself. Wait, how has Angela not gotten her tree yet? A little girl comes running in. Oh, it is her neighbor. The little girl’s parents come in too. The parents invite them to build gingerbread houses. Did anyone get this poor guy a sandwich or something though?
We have a mini gingerbread house making montage and the little girl is phenomenal at making gingerbread houses. It is like a really somber and serious event, which is how this usually goes for me. They are all working alone and in silence. Oliver seems like he’s trying to make the Coliseum. And it immediately falls apart. Also, they drink hot chocolate in Italy! In the afternoon!
Angela walks Oliver back to his hotel like a proper gentleman. They talk more about her business. She says they need to do Rome like the Romans. You know the saying, When in Rome! Oh boy, again, please don’t stop reading. She says he will have to bake something to bring to dinner tomorrow. He has a mild panic attack.
When Angela gets back to her house, unmurdered after walking alone at dark, she sees that Oliver has emailed her a draft business plan.
The next morning, she says she has a name for her business. “When in Roma”. That’s fine. Then she she wants them to double up on a Vespa. When they stop, he is still in a full state of panic over her crazy driving. I die over Angela’s hunter green pea coat. She takes him to the NOT gluten friendly bakery. For some reason, she makes him keep him eyes closed and feeds him something. Ew. It’s Italian fruit cake. The baker invites him back to his kitchen so they can make their own Panettone.
Oh yay, they have everything set up like a cooking show, which is my favorite way to bake. He sifts the flour and two hours later, they have all the flour they need. And then they decide that takes too long and just dump it in. Are they each making their own? Then Oliver asks why she’s in Rome. Her parents met here! They took her there when she was ten and fell in love. But they both passed away. Also, five years ago, she was planning the perfect Christmas wedding and her fiancé bailed a week before. So, she packed up and came to Rome! She’s been hiding here ever since.
How are these crazy kids going to make it? And then she plays Patrick Swayze to Oliver’s Demi Moore as she shows him how to knead the dough.
Oilver’s boss calls and she is worried about all the expenses she’s incurring while he is basically on a vacation. Also, they FaceTime which is super weird. I get embarrassed if I accidentally FaceTime my own siblings. YOU ARE NOT THINKING LIKE A ROMAN, ESTELLE.
Next, Angela takes him to the fountain. He still has his tracking device on. He throws in three coins in the fountain and she panics. Apparently, three coins brings you true love. She shows him a picture of her parents in her dude wallet. Where’s that bread they made?
It’s time for the fancy dinner. Oliver is blown away by how nice Angela looks. And it IS a great dress. I’m all in on it. Even though they weren’t carrying it with them when they left, they brought the Panettone and Luigi and his family freaks out about how good it is. They look at all the Christmas ornaments. All handmade by their family. Then Angela and Oliver have a weird exchange at the tree. Later, they walk around in the garden. Probably wondering when they’re going to eat. They’ve been there for hours. He whips out his phone to take a SELFIE with her. Send me a copy? Angela says. Is she an elderly person? Has she never sent a picture to someone with her phone?
Finally eating dinner, the family is still freaking out about the panettone. Oliver talks up Angela’s company to family. The Fletchers offer to take a look to possibly invest.
They all head back to the hotel. He asks her if she wants to go get hot chocolate and she’s like, no I gotta work on that business plan. And he’s like, can I help? And she’s like no no. I gotta just be by myself.
The next morning, Angela works on her business plan using the worst font imaginable.
Oliver tells her she should take the day off so he can ask her on a date. She agrees to go finally because she’s not a dummy dumb dumb dumb. She’s like, let me do that reservation because you don’t know anything but he says no way, Jose.
Oliver heads to ceramics class at the Roman rec center, where he sits with Luigi’s five silent employees hand painting an ornament. He took a couple art classes in college so he’s like REALLY good at art. Luigi tells him he is selling the company to him. Here’s a question though, why is Luigi even selling this company if he is so concerned about family and tradition and not money? He has grandkids and the company has been in his family for hundreds of years…and he doesn’t want them to increase production of the ornaments. So, what is this all about?
Back at the hotel, Angela gives her presentation in the lobby. She offers a buffet gift card to anyone who signs in with their email address and agrees to listen to her presentation. She seemingly has done a lot of work on this business in the last two days. She wants to offer customized Christmas tours and they’re like yeah that’s not going to be enough. But then she’s like, no I’ll do other seasons too. Like wouldn’t Rome at Easter be SUPER FUN? She has ten employees lined up and apparently all the BEST tour guides would quit their steady jobs to come work for her. She has a friend who is a web designer so I hope they’ll help sort out that Papyrus font disaster she was working with earlier. They pat her on the head and go on their way.
That night, Oliver and Angela get all dressed up for their date (?) Is it a date?!!! Angela keeps wondering. We don’t have time for your stupidity here, Angela. Oliver’s arranged a horse drawn carriage and then they go to a restaurant. He doesn’t want to talk about ANY BUSINESS at dinner because he’s SUPER Roman now. So they sit in silence for an hour. Then they can finally hear how the other’s day went. He closed his deal and Angela is very shocked and happy for him. But like, is it that surprising? And her meeting went well too. He pats her on the head for her little business start up work. What is her background? Like, what did she do in Seattle besides just be obsessed with Italy? Then he gives her his hand painted ornament. It surprisingly does not look like a child made it. She’s like, oh I remember ALL the ornaments from Luigi’s factory and I don’t remember this one. He’s like, yeah dude I made it. Also, how do you remember all the other ornaments. She’s like, I was kind of hoping you’d get me that cute holly leaf one I saw yesterday but this one is fine too. Then Angela says she has a gift for him. But if it were me, after getting Oliver’s gift, I would have thrown mine away. She gives him this tiny cheap picture frame they saw at the market with a picture of them inside. I am MORTIFIED for her. He’s like, yeah cool thanks. I spent ALL day working on mine but this is nice too. Then they talk about trying to make a long distance relationship work. And he says he might like to stay through New Years! He ignores a work call. Then he does something I HATE which is ask her to dance. Oh, good. Other people are dancing. I feel better about it now.
Then while they’re dancing, they KISS. He gets a second work call and decides he better take it. His boss tells him to get his butt back so he can start his brand new VP job on the 26th. Business people don’t celebrate Boxing Day. He goes back in the restaurant to tell the news. She is like, wait, if you’re not staying for Christmas then girl, BYE. He’s like, but you said earlier you were okay with long distance and she’s like, well that as ten minutes ago okay? And don’t you dare ask me to consider moving to New York because my stuff here is way more important. So then she leaves.
The next day is Christmas Eve and she ignores his calls. He starts packing up. For some reason, he has his bathroom sink filled with water. He drops his phone in the water for like one second and it stops working. Hello? That’s not what happens to phones now a days. So, now the phone is totally dead. He has his phone wrapped in a towel at the front desk like a real rookie. He sees the Fletchers and tells them he is headed to the “Caroling Concert” with his bro Luigi before taking a Red Eye…on Christmas Eve? What a huge bummer. If he doesn’t have to be there until the 26th, he could conceivably have done that on the 25th also. But, here we are.
Angela has a nice heart to heart with her neighbor, who tells her she’s being a dummy. Angela says her Seattle friends offered her a job there. She isn’t considering New York because Oliver made his choice. The neighbor tells her she’s being a dumb dumb. Also, her life seems much more portable than Oliver’s. Why doesn’t she consider moving? Anyway, she goes to tell Oliver that she wants to make it work. She goes to the hotel but he’s not there and he’s not answering his phone! She sees the Fletchers, who race through town on matching vespas to get to the Christmas Caroling Concert. They park really far away and just leave their scooters in the street. Then, finally, Angela remembers she put a GPS tracker on Oliver! That wasn’t creepy at all! But Angela, I thought you said GPS doesn’t work in Rome at Christmas? So which is it. Anyway, they walk through the massive, silent crowd to find Oliver. She’s like, let’s do long distance! He’s like, no actually I’m going to move here because that makes the most sense!! I’m going to run Luigi’s business here so you can keep plugging away at your cute little tour business. But again, what was the point of this acquisition? And then they kiss and say a bunch of things that make me say “ew.” Let’s see how we did.
- Workaholic too busy for Christmas
- Clumsy meet cute
- Christmas baking
- Christmas puns
Total score: 4/20 This movie was pretty light on the Christmas tropes!