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Stream It Or Skip It: ‘The Jingle Bell Jubilee’ on Hulu/GAF, in Which a Widower and a Teacher Reconnect to Save a Christmas Festival

Great American Family is collaborating with Hulu to take viewers to The Jingle Bell Jubilee this Christmas. Marshall Williams and Erin Agostino take the lead in this holiday romance that tries to sell the classic friends to lovers trope while the characters work to save a town’s Christmas jubilee. Get used to hearing the word “jubilee,” by the way, because you’re going to experience it more in this one film than perhaps you ever have before in your life. ...For More CONTINUE THE FULL READING▶▶

The Gist: It’s the holiday season and widower Nate Albertson (Marshall Williams) has recently moved back to the town of Larchmont Falls with his teenage son Brandon (Kowen Cadorath) to work as the new city manager. Nate is thrown head-first into work as he takes lead on the annual Jingle Bell Jubilee, which he used to love participating in until his father’s job made his family move out West just before Nate’s senior year of high school.

In showing Brandon around his new high school, Nate crosses paths with Hope Wilson (Erin Agostino), a former classmate of his who is now an English teacher at the school and just so happens to be Brandon’s new homeroom teacher. Hope runs a program called ReGiftmas, which was inspired by her grandmother, who first came up with the idea of expressing gratitude and generosity during the holidays by collecting household items she and loved ones hardly used to be regifted in a cedar chest given to a different family in need each year.

Impressed with Hope’s passion project and scrambling to organize everything for the Jinglebell Jubilee in time, Nate asks Hope to help incorporate ReGiftmas in the event’s Christmas Charity Drive, beginning a partnership that has the potential to become something more. Well, that is until Hope’s friend and school vice principal, Allison (Samantha Kendrick), and Hope’s current friend and former short-lived flame, semi-pro hockey player Andy (Kristian Jordan), are thrown into the mix to shake things up. Will any of them get their happily ever after (and with whom)?

The Jingle Bell Jubilee

What Movies Will It Remind You Of?: Friends falling for one another (and having their friends fall for each other in the process as well) is giving When Harry Met Sally.

Performance Worth Watching: Every character feels a bit like a caricature, so it’s hard to pick any one standout for this movie. I guess in that regard, everyone does the best with the material they’ve been given?

Memorable Dialogue: “You’re just so full of love, like something’s lighting you up from within.” “Okay, that’s a little much.” I agree with Hope, that is a little much! This movie’s mission seems to be hammering home what an Earth angel Hope is. I mean, her name is “Hope” for crying out loud, it’s not super subtle.

A Holiday Tradition: Every year on the week leading up to Christmas, Larchmont Falls’s City Hall opens up their doors for a big festival that includes music, food, events, and games, leading up to the big Jingle Bell Jubilee Christmas dance on Christmas Eve. Oh and there’s a photo booth, sign me UP.

The Jingle Bell Jubilee

Does the Title Make Any Sense?: Oh, you bet it does. Especially since you hear the words “Jingle Bell Jubilee” about a million times (give or take) throughout the movie.

Our Take: Much like fellow GAF title A Royal Date for Christmas, this movie would make a very good drinking game. Maybe too good, actually, because if you took a drink every time a character says “Jingle Bell Jubilee” or “ReGiftmas” you may actually die before the movie ends. It was kind of funny at first but it’s eventually done enough times that it feels less self-aware than concerning. Indeed, much about The Jingle Bell Jubilee is painfully earnest in a way that makes it hard for anything about the movie or its characters to feel memorable or impactful in any big way.

In large part, this is due to the lack of depth seen in pretty much all of the characters. That’s actually where most of the issues start, because the characters themselves aren’t that well-rounded, which makes it sometimes difficult to place stakes or importance in the things they say or do. For example, Nate is the perennial “Mr. Nice Guy” who is doing his best even though he sometimes struggles to juggle everything as a single dad. Oh and he’s kind of a klutz, because someone in these movies always has to be.

The characters and their personalities continue to be painted in broad strokes. Allison is the “best friend” side character whose interest in Nate is conveniently totally forgotten when she hears that Andy likes her. Simple, simple Andy seemingly just has a crush on Allison because she’s into hockey, which apparently is very rare for women, per this movie (as a female hockey fan, I personally resent that).

And broadest of them all is Hope, who is evidently so bashful and lovable and perfect she doesn’t even know how great she is. She’s apparently an expert at picking Christmas trees, wrapping gifts, baking, and delivering the perfect unrehearsed yet extremely impactful speech on live TV (even though it was her first time ever on the news). She’s the kind of character whose only “flaws” are being too generous… oh and not liking hockey (gasp). It just kind of stinks to see a female lead whose whole thing is that making other people happy is what makes her happy. Wanting to make other people’s lives better is a wonderful thing, but when that’s the character’s whole raison d’être, you can’t help wondering if she has any personhood or purpose for herself at all.

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Baba Voss

A Prolific Writer, Vast In Series of Publications Basically on Politics, Entertainment, Sport, Life Style, Fashion, Business, Technology, Health, History etc.

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