The Christmas Contract ★★½

let’s run through the tropes
✅ pretty lady protagonist vaguely named after christmas
✅ both the audience and said pretty lady initially want to punch the guy you know she’s gonna fall for
✅ small town
✅ sham romance that leads to real romance
✅ an entire family’s holiday refocused help the couple that’s been together for a few days realize they’re actually in love
❌ an avoidable misunderstanding ruins EVERYTHING

honestly? i was just so impressed with how good everyone was at open, honest communication (at least relatively, given the deception central to the premise)... it’s just refreshing to see characters seem invested in avoiding this genre’s stock preventable/hurtful misunderstandings.

at one point our hero(?) complains “they’re terrible! they’re all exactly the same” about a series of cheap romance novels. at first i thought it was the tortured writer’s thinly veiled statement about lifetime holiday movies, and sure this CAJUN-STYLE christmas joint may not have been perfect (aside from Hilarie Burton 😍) but y’know what? I am delighted to sit here and say this was Not Terrible 😌

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