Hallmark made history last year with the debut of Christmas house, the network’s first Christmas movie featuring a gay couple in lead roles. The film was a success and the best Hallmark film of the 2020 season, if I may say so. Now the Mitchell family is back Christmas House 2: Cover Those Halls. Does Hallmark have a successful new Christmas franchise? Or is this family gathering just as awkward as the ones in real life?
CHRISTMAS HOUSE 2: COVER THOSE ROOMS: STREAM IT OR SKIP IT?
The essence: It’s been a few years since we last saw the Mitchells and the family has grown. Brandon (Jonathan Bennett) and Jake (Brad Harder) have adopted a second child and are now a family of four. TV star Mike (Robert Buckley) is still with Andi (Ana Ayora) and closer than ever to their son Noah (Mattia Castrillo). And instead of having just one Christmas home this year, the Mitchells will double and double their number of vacation homes!
This all occurs as part of a live, televised celebrity Christmas decorations contest called Cover those hallways (think The great Christmas lights fightbut starring the families of the stars of America’s favorite criminal procedures). But when Mike Mitchell’s competition, the perfectly named Finn Rockland from Brooklyn Medical-Drops Cover those hallways, the producers decide to pit brother against brother. Yes it is Handsome Justice star Mike Mitchell versus his baker brother Brandon Mitchell, and this holiday competition has never been more difficult!
The décor of the grieving Christmas houses serves as the backdrop for many new complications in the extended Mitchell family. Bill (Treat Williams) and Phylis (Sharon Lawrence) are learning their lines for a local theater Christmas play; Mike wants to find the perfect way to propose to Andi, but the surprise return of Andi’s ex-husband has Mike in his feelings about his place in Noah’s life; and Brandon and Jake are trying to create unique Christmas memories for their kids, which is hard when the holiday season involves redecorating homes from ground floor to attic with nothing but Christmas cheer. It’s another Mitchell family Christmas, so you know it’s going to be eventful.
What movies will it remind you of ?: There are 2006 Adorn the Halls, obviously, except I’d say this Hallmark movie is infinitely more visible (sorry Danny DeVito and Matthew Broderick). And because of the program within the nature of a television movie of Cover those hallways, the sequel adds some confessional moments to the camera that only make the Mitchells feel more like Hallmark. Modern Family.
Performance worth watching: Now that Bill and Phylis’s relationship is hitting full blast again, Treat Williams and Sharon Lawrence are spending the sequel letting their children provide all the emotional moments. These two are great together and have such fun natural chemistry, so it’s great to see them just having fun. Casting Mr. and Mrs. Mitchell as the leads in a strange little Christmas play was an inspired choice.
Diálogo memorable: The Christmas house The franchise remains one of Hallmark’s funniest. This is how Mike, exhausted, sums up his Christmas blues: “I already have my girlfriend’s ex-shark hitter cooking Colombian food with Noah. I don’t need you to try to outdo me too! “
A Christmas tradition: Like all other seasonal reality competition shows that have become a television tradition, occupants of Hallmark’s Christmas universe can watch Cover those hallways every year. And of course there is the Christmas house, which is first and foremost about creating memories with the family. Will that be lost now that Mike and Brandon are competing on television? Of course he will.
Does the title make sense ?: It makes more sense, not just because the movie’s show is titled Cover those hallways, but because the sequel gives us two Christmas houses. If the franchise continues for a few more years, they may have to change the name to The Christmas dead end.
Our Take: How do you make a sequel to a Christmas romantic comedy? Once the main couple have kissed and professed their love, where to go? Netflix has this problem with its franchises. The aftermath of A christmas prince he simply wandered aimlessly in the politics of a fictional European country. The Princess switch the franchise succeeded in skipping genres with each new sequel; this years The Princess Switch 3 is a romance / heist movie. Could Christmas house Discover a way forward now that Mike and Andi are together? This is a difficult problem to solve!
That is why I am pleased to report that The Christmas House 2 found a completely unique and narratively rewarding way forward. Instead of introducing new characters to set up blind dates or break up one of our favorite couples or have the Mitchells, I don’t know, form a motley hockey team and make their way to regionals, The Christmas House 2 It does what I rarely see Hallmark movies do – it brings very real family issues to the fore, while bringing back all the Christmas fun from the first movie.
It turns out that Hallmark characters can do more than fall in love! Instead, the characters of The Christmas House 2 deal with the problems that arise after a happy ending. How will Mike propose to Andi and more importantly, how can he be Noah’s father if Andi’s ex is back in town? And what is driving Brandon to be so competitive with his brother? They are two grown men, shouldn’t they be able to get along? The better Christmas has to be a Perfect Christmas? Most importantly, how does a family unit balance as it grows to include more and more people?
Most importantly, however, The Christmas House 2 touches on some problems that are entirely specific to the gay vacation experience. One more time, Christmas house He doesn’t treat Brandon and Jake like any Hallmark couple. They are a gay Hallmark couple, and much of their actions as a couple and their relationships with the larger Mitchell family center on that fact. It’s also beautiful to watch, because it’s important to show that gay couples have a lot more issues to deal with than just coming out of the closet. I never thought a Hallmark film would touch the pressures of gay performative excellence with such precision, but I’m so glad it does!
But he’s not just tuning in to this movie to see what problems the Mitchells will overcome before the light switch is turned on in the Christmas houses. You’re also tuning in to spend time with these characters and, most importantly, have fun with them. There’s a lot of fun, mainly because Hallmark found gold when they put together this specific cast of actors. Buckley and Bennett have such a brotherly vibe to them, and they sell it in the competitive scenes. Y the dramatic scenes. The same goes for any combination of actors too, like Jake and Andi, who have to deal with their loved ones by reverting to comically childish behaviors. Like last year, The Christmas House 2 It will give you all the Christmas jokes and Christmas sensations you need.
General, The Christmas House 2 it’s exactly the right kind of sequel. It fuels the franchise as it brings with it – and builds – everything we loved about the first film. Fingers crossed to visit the Mitchells every year from now on. It is a tradition!
Our calling: STREAM IT. The sequel shows that Christmas house it is built to last.