Well here we go again, am I right? I was kind of mildly excited for this movie because of the potential for Lake Tahoe Christmas vibes. I love a good mountain lodge Christmas movie. But other than that I kept my expectations low and my attention span short for this one. Let’s get after it.
Claire is a busy hotel manager at a very fancy resort in Lake Tahoe. I believe it’s called “The Inn on the Lake.” SO CLEVER. As she walks, she interrupts several conversations like she knows every guest in the place. I’ve never experienced such a chipper hotel manager in my life. Oh, and George Lopez is there. Also, Pat Monahan from Train is there. I DIDN’T HATE THEM IN THIS MOVIE. Anyway, Claire is accosted by a silly goose of a hotel guest who wants to use her “Star Rewards” for all sorts of things at this hotel. The only problem is that those are points for a different hotel chain. I love the whole bit and it is not the last time she does it.
Claire stops into her dad’s office. He owns the whole hotel. He runs through the list of Christmas activities happening at the resort this year and she has a pun for each one. It’s a lot. Her dad is like, hey you’re spending QUITE a bit of time on our Christmas Eve Variety show. So what’s that about? And she’s like, I’m just really passionate about Christmas themed variety shows, Dad.
Soon, we learn WHY she’s focusing so much on the variety show. She is hoping to attract the attention of a big Las Vegas resort and would like to run THEIR variety show. It seems to be working because she receives a call from their manager or CEO or whatever and says that if the show goes well, they’ll likely want to hire her. She’s elated. She turns to the first person she says, Pat; I mean Jackson. She’s like, can you keep a secret? And he’s like, No. And I love him for that. She tells him anyway. He is a little surprised that she’d want to leave her family’s resort and like, live in Las Vegas but otherwise he’s happy for her.
We also learn that she USED to manage a pretty big “rock” band who’s biggest hit is an original Christmas song. Sure, Jan. The band is called “Wild Lynx.” I’ve put up with a lot of silly band names but I don’t know if I can get behind this one, especially considering these boys look like a preppier version of Hanson. The only grungy part about them seems to be the lead singer’s commitment to “training” his hair to wash it less. WE ALL NOTICE. Anyway, they have a tense meeting at a local radio station and seemingly announce they’re all home for Christmas in Lake Tahoe. They are taking some MUCH NEEDED time off.
Later some night in the future; or that same night; who knows? Claire hears that famous Christmas song and rolls her eyes. Then, she sees her old pal Ryan getting attacked by adoring fans. She doesn’t want to run into him so she hides in some sort of tent. Unfortunately, Ryan, desperate to get away from said adoring fans, choses that same location to hide as well. Claire is shocked to see him. He tells her he’s home for the holidays.
Things take a turn for the worst for ol Claire bear when she arrives home. Her mom tells her that they are basically doing every Christmas activity with Ryan and his family since the parents are best friends. This includes a Christmas concert featuring Ryan’s niece. BUT MOM! That’s my ex-boyfriend. Isn’t a little rude to expect me to hang out with him? Nobody seems to care about that.
So, at some point in the future, the whole crew goes to watch this niece’s performance. Ryan’s parents are the exact same set of parents we saw in “An Unexpected Christmas.” FUN. Anyway, Claire and Ryan end up sitting together and reminiscing about programs of Christmas past. After the show, Claire inexplicably apologizes to this child for ruining the show. I rewound it a couple times and I cannot figure out why she has to apologize? Anyway, it is so bad that she ends up giving all the kids free tubing passes.
Shortly thereafter, her big variety show starts falling apart. Her big headliner gets sick and has to cancel. Soon, several other acts cancel because the headliner can’t come. In short, it’s a disaster. So, she decides she needs to bite the bullet and ask the Wild Lynx for a favor.
In what MUST be the same kitchen from Maya’s parents’ in Gingerbread Miracle, Claire catches Ryan coming back from his first run in a year. Without any earmuffs of anything! She asks if he wants to take a walk. He’s like, but I just kind of got done doing that…only way faster. But Okay.
He immediately says no but only because the band is not speaking! It seems that no one else’s hair training is going quite as well as their lead singer so they’ve all been arguing. Also, Ryan wants to slow down on touring and write more songs. Alistair? Is that the lead singer’s name? Alistair really wants to maintain their aggressive schedule. So, they’re not speaking. BUT he promises to help her find more performers.
At this point, Claire seems to abandon all other hotel duties as she focuses solely on saving this variety show. I never see ANY of the activities her father mentions at the beginning of the movie. She and Ryan scroll through social media to see who’s in town for the holidays. They discover that a famous comedian is in town. Wouldn’t she LOVE to spend Christmas Eve working?
After getting a really quick rejection from her agent, the pair of them concoct a silly little idea to pretend to be wait staff to sneak into this comedienne’s room and convince her themselves. Ryan and Jackson do this great talking in code bit and figure out what room she’s in.
They arrive at her room fully prepared to convince her. However, she is quite a mess when they arrive. She’s just been dumped by her boyfriend. After a lovely heart to heart with Claire, this woman recognizing Ryan and realizes what they’re up to. In spite of all that, she agrees to headline the show. She also gives them a random “stocking stuffer” on their way out.
Later, at the joint family white elephant gift exchange, we discover that this “stocking stuffer” is actually a gift certificate for Botox and all the ladies want it. I find this to be amusing. After this little party, Claire discovers that a famous acapella band is playing in Reno. She decides to ask them to participate in the variety show as well. After some additional sneakiness, Ryan and Claire manage to talk THIS band into giving up their Christmas plans as well. I think Claire offers to fly ALL OF THEIR FAMILIES OUT AND PUT THEM UP AT THE RESORT. I mean, what are we talking here? That is an insane amount of money to offer. Anyway, they obviously agree.
At some point, Claire discovers that Jackson is an aspiring musician and has been leaving work early to play at some open mic nights. Somehow, he ends up in the variety show as well.
Ryan has his own Christmas miracle after he and the Wild Lynx boys work out their issues. They let Ryan take some time off to focus on writing but agree he can rejoin whenever. Oh, and he’s going to live in Lake Tahoe. The band also agrees to participate in the variety show. So, things are really shaping up nicely for ol Claire.
Then, the manager or whoever from that big Vegas resort arrives for the show. Claire’s dad just happens to overhear that he’s come to the resort JUST to see the variety show. He asks Claire what that’s all about and she finally has to tell him what she’s been up to. She reiterates that her passion has always been variety show planning, not hotel management. He is mostly sad that she didn’t just tell him in the first place. I THINK. I don’t quite remember.
Finally, it’s the night we’ve all been waiting for. The comedienne does her silly little Christmas themed stand up. Jackson sings a song I’ve decided I LOVE and I wish they would have shown the whole thing. The acapella group sings too and I would have liked to see more of that. And finally, Jackson teams up with the Wild Lynx boys to sing one last song. I like that one too! The show is a big hit.
After the show, Claire’s dad tells her that if she wants to focus on making their resort an entertainment destination comparable to Las Vegas, he has her support. That big Las Vegas resort wants her too though! So she is in quite a pickle. Ultimately, she decides to stay in Lake Tahoe and she and Ryan kiss and presumably get back together! So everyone wins I guess.
Guys, this was another perfectly fine movie. I am a little tired of the “let’s scramble to put together an event that would normally take several months of planning” because it makes the whole movie seem chaotic and unrealistic but that’s the world we live in. I would have LOVED to see more of the Christmas activities Claire’s dad mentioned in the beginning of the movie. And I would have liked more Lake Tahoe winter activities! Actually a Lake Tahoe themed winter movie would be fun. But yeah this movie was centered around this silly variety show instead. I was also expecting Laura Osnes to sing and she didn’t. Isn’t that sort of a waste? Anyway, it was fine. What did you think?