Netflix UK film review: Christmas with a View
James R | On 15, Dec 2019
Director: Justin G. Dyck
Cast: Kaitlyn Leeb, Scott Cavalheiro
Watch Christmas with a View online in the UK: Netflix UK
We unwrap a different Christmas film from Netflix’s dubious seasonal selection every day. For 12 days. It’s the 12 Days of Netflix.
From Bradley Cooper’s Burnt to Gordon Ramsay playing himself in Love’s Kitchen, it’s no secret that movies and chefs are a recipe almost guaranteed for disaster, especially when there’s a sprinkling of romance. (Chef, by Jon Favreau, is the mouth-watering exception that proves the rule.) Christmas with a View, then, a movie that not only combines chefs and romance, but also chucks in Christmas, comes with a warning note to anyone who’s allergic to bad films.
The movie whisks is away to a ski resort where Clara (Kaitlyn Leeb) is working as a restaurant manager. She’s a kind-hearted, misunderstood sort, who tried to start her own restaurant and failed. The resort is abuzz, though, when along comes new chef Shane (Scott Cavalheiro). He’s a kind-hearted, misunderstood sort, who is famous for his cooking TV show and wants to get away from the spotlight of fame. You don’t need to be a Michelin-starred cook to guess what’s on the menu for the couple.
If that sounds like a faintly cringe-worthy premise, you’d be right – even down to the slimy resort manager Hugh (Mark Ghanime). Every item on the set course list for a Christmas rom-com is served up as expected. There’s the mother and father-like couple who run the local B&B. There’s the chatty best friend, Bonnie. There’s the adoring and slightly creepy super-fans who follow Shane to the resort and make Clara jealous. And there’s the candlelit dinner where Clara and Shane tell each other their not-very-secret passion for, well, food.
Everything comes with an extra portion of cheese, from the repetitive shots of food porn to one shocking moment where someone literally tries to pave this paradise and put up a parking lot. And yet Leeb and Cavalheiro are surprisingly sweet together, managing to have conversations that actually sound and feel like gradually warming dates between two curious strangers.
Their charming chemistry, though, is undermined repeatedly by the plodding script, which doesn’t manage to conjure up any drama, skimps on the laughter and never really manages to justify why Shane has a supposed reputation as a bad boy of the cookery world. There’s something to be said for its comfort-eating familiarity, but this low-stakes rom-com is a disappointingly bland dish in dire need of some seasoning and spice.
Christmas with a View is available on Netflix UK, as part of an £9.99 monthly subscription.