Holiday Joy revolves around the beleaguered teenage Joy, who acts as the ad hoc mother of her dysfunctional family (her father and two brothers, one younger and one older). There is some nice emotional moments created when it is revealed that Joy’s mother died and lead actress Bailee Madison does well as Joy despite the lacklustre script. At the very least, the audience sympathises with her situation somewhat. But then, like a relentless Disney movie tsunami, the audience is bombarded with cliche after cliche before finally arriving to the moral of the story; appreciate what you have in life because even if things seem bad, you will miss it when it’s gone.
Whilst this is a positive message and entirely appropriate for a Christmas film, the way in which it is communicated is bland and overdone. Even the Lindsay Lohan remake of the Parent Trap (which, I assume, must be the benchmark of this kind of body swap, family comedy genre) has more heart and character than this film.
Again, Bailee Madison is a minor saving grace, but the other actors mostly deliver the flat material with minimal charisma. Even the requisite cute family dog didn’t have a meaty enough role to sink his canine teeth into. Nonetheless Madison and the costume/makeup department do a good job at portraying her before and after the car crash. She does seem like an entirely different girl after the accident but the film goes nowhere with its premise or its life lessons. The reality that being “cool” has its own problems and then, predictably, wakes up from the dream in a hospital where, afterwards, she returns to her old life with a new sense of self respect and admiration.
To sum up, if you want holiday cheer and positivity you would be better off looking for it at the local Christmas market because, contrary to the title, this film is sadly not much of a “joy” to watch.
Written by Josh Lambie – Student Pages Student Writer