VOD film review: A Christmas Detour
Mike Williams | On 22, Dec 2016
Director: Ron Oliver
Cast: Candace Cameron Bure, Paul Greene
Watch A Christmas Detour online in the UK: N/A
Festive flings are something of a given around Christmastime, but what about when the idea is woven into a film that uses the premise of random, unavailable persons stranded at an airport slap-bang in the festive season? Well, this, it seems.
From the moment this holiday tale begins, there’s a strong sterility that’s exacerbated by the wooden acting and dire dialogue that never lets up, not even for a moment. And it’s in this painfully contrived airport setup that we’re introduced to our characters: a self-involved, look-at-me-I’m-a-journalist-and-am-important Paige (Candace Cameron Bure), whose personality grates on you to absolute breaking point, and strapping male lead Dylan (Paul Greene), who does his best to appear really creepy in the handful of his establishing shots.
After their flight is cancelled, this seemingly content bride-to-be and broken-hearted, smouldering (and still totally creepy) gent team up with a friendly couple to road trip their way to where they all need to get to for the holidays. It’s a barebones plot that’s been done to death in many mediocre romantic comedies, so finding something interesting or original here is key.
Unfortunately, we don’t get anything interesting or original throughout A Christmas Detour’s 85-minute duration, in a movie that feels much, much longer. The chemistry between the pair is sarcastic and bickery, with Dylan especially playing it oh-so-cool with his backhandedness, while, you’ve guessed it, still coming across like he’s been shadowing this woman since before the movie began. Combine this with a leading lady whose faux happiness in life begins to show and we’ve got two broken individuals who are still seeking ‘the one’. Even though Paige is engaged and on her way to see her future hubby – a ridiculously wealthy, chiselled-jawed suit – the script forces us to believe these two new acquaintances could get together.
In all the frivolity of awkward flirts and ineptly-conceived dialogue, we slowly get where the writers struggle to take us, and without an ounce of subtlety or grace. Then, as a viewer, you begin to process the movie’s message, because its morals certainly don’t sit comfortably with its packaging – we’re encouraged to back this mysterious and unsettlingly strange man as he pursues this unattainable, confused woman. It’s as if the filmmakers want to try and subvert any views on monogamy and say to hell with it.
Branded a comedy, A Christmas Detour does, on plenty of occasions, try to be funny, but continues to fall flat. The writers seem to have had a complete lapse in wit and humour and instead settled for straight-forward, uncomplicated (and un-amusing) sentences thrown in simply as plot devices without giving us anything to properly engage with.
A Christmas Detour is predictable from the offset, so there’s little excitement or surprise. It suffices as a basic festive movie for sentimentalists, but overall, this is not a stimulating experience by any means.
A Christmas Detour is not currently available on UK VOD.