Anyone who knows me well knows I hate Hallmark Channel movies, I mean, really hate them. I hate these movies because they’re just mind numbingly cheesy and so squeaky clean you want to be physically ill. Now, I’ll be the first one to admit I like some predictable films, but the difference is that those films at least had some quality acting and a plot that kept you halfway interested. Hallmark Channel movies are the exact same thing every single time and usually have mediocre acting and a plot as thin as a sheet of paper. Netflix’s Holiday in the Wild is a Hallmark Channel movie… but on Netflix.
I usually really enjoy Kristin Davis. I’m a huge Sex and the City lover, the HBO series and the films, and it makes me frustrated when I see her in something so dull like this because I know she can be sexy and dramatic and have layers to her. Her character here isn’t even really a character, much like Rob Lowe’s isn’t either. Both her and Lowe’s characters are just meant to be together. Their own personal details aren’t important to the script at all. I feel worse for Lowe here because at least we get a couple minor pieces of info about Davis. We literally have nothing to go off of with him and he has zero development. That’s the real problem with films like this, there is no real development of anything, not the characters and certainly not the story. A film connecting with its audience depends upon how much they care about their characters and the plot, unfortunately the writers just don’t care here.
The film opens with a short scene that kicks off the plot but it’s so abrupt that it doesn’t have any impact. We as the audience haven’t been given a chance to get to know these people we’re supposed to care about so when this monumental thing happens in the first scene… you don’t really care. The film hasn’t given you any reason at all to care so why would you. After that initial scene, we follow our main character to Africa where of course she meets Rob Lowe and the main plot, if you can call it that, starts. The idea of this plot sounds nice. Two middle aged single people who care about elephant conservation falling in love… how nice!
The problem is that it’s so incredibly dull and all the emotions feel forced. Rob Lowe is incredibly good looking and can be quite charming when he wants to be, but gosh he’s left stranded by this inept script. The film doesn’t know how to make the best out of Lowe or Davis, they have them engage in the most dull run of the mill dialogue and it’s not sweet or heart warming, it’s just bland. I would’ve liked seeing these characters behave like real people, talk about their desires, get a little outside the box. When you have two attractive single people in the wild with very little hang-ups… you can do quite a bit romantically. I can’t speak for anyone else but I kept hoping for an adventurous love scene, in one of their tents while it’s raining… just something to spice this thing up.
I think of one of the best romantic comedies ever made is Something’s Gotta Give because that film did something so right. That film had these passionate believable love scenes that actually meant something special to the characters and represented growth. It also had such great dialogue afterwards that gave their connection depth. Holiday in the Wild needs to take a lesson from good romance films that know how to create meaningful depth as far as story and characters go.
When a scene is supposed to be moving, I want to actually be affected, not roll my eyes, and trust me, there’s plenty of roll your eyes moments here. It’s very unfortunate because there was a great opportunity here to tell a story about two lonely people who find a sense of meaning in one another, instead we get surface level cheesiness that has absolutely no meaning. The only thing that has meaning and is actually positive about this film is the elephants and the conservation effort. Seeing the beautiful elephants and the stunning African scenery is lovely and the message about wildlife this offers is very important. If only the rest was up to par.
Holiday in the Wild is completely empty and dull. There’s nothing of any substance to see here and you know every single little detail coming, there’s zero effort to try to make any aspect interesting or entertaining.