Most, if not all, are familiar with the Hallmark Christmas film; riddled with cliches, laden with half-baked messages and themes, and is overall a very cheesy affair. Which wouldn't be so bad if it wasn't for the usual poor technical elements and wooden acting. Your Christmas or Mine 2 asks the wild question: what if a Hallmark Christmas movie was… good?
The original film sees lovers Hayley (Cora Kirk) and James (Asa Butterfield) parting ways after the end of the winter term at uni, but they end up spending Christmas at each other's families when they each decide to surprise the other with an out-of-the-blue visit. For the sequel, Hayley's working class clan from Macclesfield and James' posh upper-class family join up for a festive holiday abroad, but of course hijinks ensue when there is a hotel mix-up.
With the poshos in a rundown mountain shack and the northern gang up in a five star luxury retreat, there's an obvious culture-clash theme taking centre stage but also some genuinely fun gags and sequences. Your Christmas or Mine 2 hits its stride when letting the characters loose and the cast revel in the silliness. Some highlights include James literally wrestling with a goat and Hayley chasing after a precious item that gets accidentally flung off a balcony.
What makes this sequel work so well is how genuinely charming it is, and it's all thanks to the performances, writing and savvy direction. Hayley and her family are stereotypically down-to-earth and brash but extremely likeable, and whilst James is equally charming his relatives lean hard into their snobby attitudes, which will admittedly draw some laughs. The entire cast have some great lines to chew on, but it's the visual gags heightened by simple but effective blocking and composition that really sell the jokes.
Audiences are in for a festive treat with endearing characters and fun goofs, that is until the second act climax threatens to derail the entire experience. As with any Hallmark Christmas flick, or even most rom-coms, the plot can often rely on characters misunderstanding basic situations. Here, they produce some laughs, but it's also used to crank up the drama which feels wholly unnecessary and egregious. Not just because this instance has a very simple resolution that is ignored, but because it completely betrays the characters and their personalities.
Whilst it's admirable that Your Christmas or Mine 2 attempts to tackle class issues, it's so surface level that it fails to say anything meaningful or even get the audience thinking. There's no denying, however, that this is a sweet festive treat that'll put a smile on any scrooge's face.
Your Christmas or Mine 2 will be streaming on Prime Video from December 8th