Netflix Review: ‘Holiday Rush’ Lacks the Charm of a Christmas Classic

Christmas movies, for the most part, are not usually confined to a particular genre. From horror films like ‘Black Christmas’ to comedies like ‘Trading Places’, there is indeed a Christmas movie for everyone. But if there’s one thing that is common about all of these films is that almost all of them present storylines that revolve around the true spirit of Christmas. ‘Christmas Rush’ treads a similar path, and though I wouldn’t really call it a Christmas classic, it is the kind of film that you can very well enjoy with your family on a warm winter evening.

At some point, we are all lulled into believing that true happiness lies in material things, but life has its own ways of making us realize that true elation and joy only comes from those we love. In the past, many fabled tales of Christmas like ‘A Christmas Carol’ and ‘The Gift of The Magi’ have emphasized on how “it’s not about what you got, but who you got around you.” And now, Netflix’s ‘Christmas Rush’ is another one of those familiar tender Christmas tales, which does not offer anything newfangled, yet, in its own unprepossessing manner, it has some genuinely heart-warming moments. 

Directed by Leslie Small, the film centers DJ Rush Williams, who is the widowed father of three. After the tragic death of his wife, he carelessly fulfills all the demands of his children, and despite the fact that his mother keeps warning him on how he is spoiling them, he showers them with every lavish luxury they can ask for. Being a successful DJ that he is, he never really concerns himself with all the things that his kids now expect from him. But one day, all of this changes when he ends up losing his job. 

His world comes crashing down when he realizes that, all this while, he had been pampering his kids, and now, it’s not even possible for him to keep up with their needs. With the help of his co-worker and mother, he sets out on a journey towards re-inventing himself as a DJ, and along with that, as he begins to downsize on everything he owns, he and his family learn that true happiness does not come from the things that surround you, but only comes from the people who are with you. 

When it comes down to being a family-friendly film that can be enjoyed by all demographics, ‘Christmas Rush’, for the most part, works really well and perfectly encapsulates the dynamic of a struggling family. From its age-appropriate comedy to its wholesome festive themes, pretty much everything suggests that it has been created solely for a family viewing. 

But though the film establishes a potentially good, and to an extent, even a refreshing family-movie concept, it comes to a halt later on and does not offer much. Romany Malco (‘A Million Little Things’, ‘The 40 Year Old Virgin’) seems like the kind of actor who could very well pull off a good rom-com. But in ‘Holiday Rush’, when it comes down to his romance and chemistry with Roxy (La La Anthony), it all just falls flat because of how abruptly a viewer is introduced to their relationship. 

In context with his relationship with his family, Rush comes off as a very likable character as he always puts his family before him, and though there are times when he falters as a father, he eventually learns that nothing matters more to him than his kids. Unfortunately, though the film does gradually transition to a point where they get a predictable “happily ever after” ending, we don’t really get to see the kids getting humbled by any poignant lessons, instead, they just start co-operating with Rush’s financial condition and future decisions out of the blue. Even the antagonists of the film figuratively throw their hands up somewhere in the middle and just disappear from the second half movie. 

There are moments in the film where Rush is haunted, or I’d rather say “comforted”, by the ghost of his dead wife who appears as an angelic figure for a few moments and then leaves. If executed well, this might have been as moving as it was intended to be, but because of the lack of any proper build-up to it, it comes off as unearned sentimentality which is just being used for forcing some emotions into viewers. 

Overall, ‘Holiday Rush’ packs all the cuteness and innocence that you would expect from a movie of its kind. But as much as it tries to be a Christmas classic, it often flounders because of its lack of depth. But because of how it is seemingly appropriate for all ages and cultures, and it does not confine itself to being a film typically about a Black family, it is certainly watchable. However, there are much better films out there that can actually get you all misty-eyed with their yuletide cheer and drama.

Read More: Where Was Holiday Rush Filmed?

Rating: 2/5