It’s time to bring out the Christmas cheer, the holiday lights, and the winter wear (not where I’m at though) and get merry because the holiday season is here! Netflix has it in the bag for a selection of the most random Christmas content that comes out every year that somehow feels very Hallmark meets big budget. We’ve had the likes of Vanessa Hudgens and Rose McIver do an entire series of films for the holidays. This year, we’re starting off quite weak with a family Christmas movie that doesn’t quite seem family-appropriate. The film in question, Best. Christmas. Ever! falls under the category of “family vacation goes wrong until it becomes the best Christmas ever”.
What Happens In The Film?
Charlotte Sanders is always bitter during Christmas because her (used to be) friend Jackie sends a newsletter marking her family’s big achievements every year. Jackie Jennings has it all: the big house, a fantastic job (which she’s just retired from, according to the newsletter), a perfectly fit husband, and two kids who are overachievers. On the other hand, Charlotte believes her family is not as perfect because it’s too normal, with one child believing she’s a superhero in the Marvel universe (except she makes DC jokes) and a son who has a friend in a monkey toy named Bob. Her husband, on the other hand, renovates old houses, and she is a tech genius, an inventor of sorts, who works for StarTech Industries. Their latest invention—a life hazard. Charlotte and her family are meant to drive to her sister’s house for the festivities to commence, but her son Grant has other plans. When she asks him to put in his aunt’s new address, he puts Jackie’s address instead (oh boy, how real). Char is one of those people who always takes precautions and then also complains about everything she doesn’t have because she can’t take risks.
When they reach the house, Char is totally surprised that her sister hit the lottery because the house is huge and fantastic-looking (You’d think Char would be all over Jackie’s Instagram, no?). When Jackie opens the door, Char is very surprised and quite disappointed, to say the least, but because it’s so late and everyone is tired, they have no choice but to stay over. Anyway, Jackie says in her newsletters that anyone is welcome to their home. Char’s disdain for Jackie also stems from the fact that Jackie used to date her husband Rob back in the day when they also had a college band together. Seeing them all chummy is not helping her mood at all. So, of course, the next day they’re snowed in, and there’s no way for them to get out. Jackie’s daughter Beatrix is supposed to be the youngest kid to get into Harvard (and I’ve met Santa Claus), and Jackie’s husband has a perfect body that no one can keep their eyes off of.
Seeing as they have no choice but to stay there, Char decides the only way she can make it up to herself is by proving that Jackie has been lying all these years and that she doesn’t actually have the perfect life she claims she does. But of course, she’s wrong, and slowly she ticks off all the things that Jackie’s mentioned in her newsletter. In the meantime, Bea notices that the fireplace is shut when letters arrive from Santa, so she decides to prove that Santa isn’t real, taking Grant’s help. First, when they go tree shopping, the kids decide to play a prank on Santa, taking off his beard using Bob the Monkey and some tree gum.
Back in the Jennings household, Char gets the mail for the family and notices one from her own family. She thinks that Jackie and Rob have actually been keeping in touch all these years without her knowledge. Now Char’s mission is to try and see what’s in that letter, but all the snooping around just leads to one mess after another. There’s a Christmas pageant in the town that Jackie’s dreamy husband Valentino always takes care of, and this time there are more people to help. Jackie and Rob even sing a little song during rehearsals to distract the kids from their Santa research.
Char makes a huge mess at night when she’s frustrated from her jealousy and snoops around in a basement-like room in the house. Valentino finds her and kicks her in the stomach (yikes), thinking she’s a burglar. It turns out she’s ruined a surprise that Jackie had planned for Valentino. A dollhouse that she rebuilt after it was burned down in a fire in memory of his mother. Valentino’s mother used to make these dollhouses and wanted to make this one for him and his children, but passed before she could. After hearing this story and trying to get off the floor, Char accidentally topples the table (way to go! ), ruining not just the surprise but the actual gift too. At the same time, she learns that her husband has been sending out the same type of newsletters that she’s absolutely hated to friends and family because he’s terribly proud of them. Obviously, Char is left feeling awful about herself and needing to redeem herself.
Do The Sanders Get Rob’s Dream House?
Char spends the rest of the movie trying to fix her mistakes and appreciate what she has. Their son runs away because he doesn’t want Santa to be a lie, and Jackie helps Char find him. Before this, though, she’d purchased the big house that Rob wanted to refurbish with all their savings, but it seems StarTech has come into a crisis and will be out of business soon. Realizing she will be out of a job soon, she decides to stop the deal, but on her way to the office to sign the papers, she skids on the snow, meeting Rose, the angel from Valentino’s show (the pageant, not the fashion one). She says that she’s glad the Sanders visited Jackie because she needs people by her side, especially at this time of the year. Char finds this statement a little bit strange, but she notices a billboard that reads “Daniel Jennings Memorial Fund”.
When she returns home, she goes into Daniel’s locked-up room. Jackie shows up and tells Char that there was no way she could mention something like that in a holiday newsletter, so she ended up skipping one year. When she decided to write the new newsletter, she made it seem like Daniel’s doing everything he dreamt of—”changing the world” Finally, Jackie shows Char the solar-powered hot air balloon that she made in Daniel’s memory. The star on the hot air balloon is especially significant because it’s meant to be the star for Valentino’s show as well as the star that guided Char to their house when they first arrived. It turns out Jackie was checking if it was working at the time. When Jackie tries to get on it in time for the show, the hot air balloon malfunctions. Of course, there’s an engineer in the house, and Char gets her redemption by fixing the balloon and joining Jackie on the ride. The ladder remains lowered, and they end up picking up the Santa sleigh on top of their house without Santa in it. Char decides to seize the opportunity to make the children “believe,” so she pretends to be Santa in the sleigh herself. It works; she returns Bob, who has been missing, to Grant by throwing him from the sleigh.
They lower the balloon so that they can get rid of the sleigh, and a white-bearded man appears to help Char. Before she can thank him, he disappears (how fascinating; Father Christmas is really real!). Jackie manages to go back up and light the star for the show, making everyone very happy. At the end of the film, faith in Christmas is restored, and Char is a good person who trusts her husband. Now, both families go on vacation together and basically do everything together, including sending in the holiday newsletters, because Christmas with Jackie is always life-altering.
Best. Christmas. Ever! is very confused about who its audience is. Family films can be child-friendly and yet entertaining for adults, like the good old Home Alone or Elf, which are just classic good times. The phrase “moving furniture” will never sit right with me anymore, and that’s just sad. Ultimately, this is a failed experiment, and although it’s meant to “feel good,” it’s boring and tries to take it up a notch with a dead kid, which really doesn’t help the film as a whole. Ultimately, I wouldn’t recommend this film, it definitely goes on Netflix’s roster of the worst Christmas films.