Hallmark TV is basking in some glowing press notices this morning because they went gay! Finally. However, before any panic sets in we should tell you that the Channel finally their festive season has caught up with its rivals Lifetime TV who produced The Chrismas Set UP in 2021 which starred Ben Lewis and Blake Lee, two actors who are married in real life.
The Hallmark Channel is famous for its cookie-cutter scripts and cheesy, feel-good romances but has never featured a same-sex couple in the main storyline, and we knew that when they did they would not stray too far from their tried (or tired) and tested formula.
Well credit, where it is due, and with talented out-gay actors as stars and even an out-gay director, Hallmark laid really good groundwork for a feel-good sentimental romance. However, in light of some of the recent controversy surrounding Billy Eichner’s Bros. will this movie appeal beyond the LGBTQ community?
The story does not stretch the imagination, and once the plot is set, you know exactly how is all going to end. Not that is a bad thing for this queer critic who likes a good old-fashioned happy-ever-after ending occasionally.
Mean Girls’ Jonathan Bennett plays Sam Dalton, a proud bachelor working as a wealth consultant for we guess wealthy people. His very successful career is balanced by his dire dating history, hence he is about to fly to Hawaii for Christmas alone
But that is about to change as his sister Kathleen (Chelsea Hobbs) has to hit the road because the baby they’re adopting is arriving earlier than expected. So could he PLEASE take care of their two kids Miles (Everett Andes) and Dania (Mila Morgan)?
So Sam somewhat begrudgingly postpones his holiday in Hawaii and makes tracks to the suburbs. The surprise is his sister’s next-door neighbor Jason DeVito (George Krissa). Kathleen had never told him about Sam as they were total opposites (not physically!!) Jason not only wanted to settle down there in the burbs, but he was also actively looking for the love of his life AND to adopt a baby with him,
No Spoiler alert here but we can tell you that you will love the onscreen chemistry between Bennett and Krissa which positively sizzles. There are naturally too handsome for words but more importantly, they both give convincing pitch-perfect performances.
One disappointment, if you think you are going see some hot man-on-man action, then forget it, The most you will see is a very brief scene of lip-locking at the end.
Hallmark needs to show its support of the LGBTQ+ community after it got its knickers in a twist recently over for its decision to pull four commercials from wedding planning company Zola which featured two women kissing. However, it continued to air two that featured a heterosexual couple kissing. They were panicked to respond with pressure from the ubiquitous conservative group One Million Moms, which called for a boycott of the network. Then later Hallmark’s owners reversed course and both reinstated the ads and issued an apology.
So kudos for this new start for The Holiday Sitter but this is only ONE from a grand total of 40 Christmas movies they have made this year alone. And please do not make us wait until next Christmas for another LGBTQ+ movie: it may surprise you BUT we are queer all year.
Review : Roger Walker-Dack
Editor in Chief : Queerguru
Member of G.A.L.E.C.A. (Gay & Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association) and NLGJA The Association of LGBT
Journalists. and The Online Film Critics Society. Ex Contributung Editor The Gay Uk &Contributor Edge Media
Former CEO and Menswear Designer of Roger Dack Ltd in the UK
one of the hardest-working journalists in the business' Michael Goff of Towleroad