Hallmark made history last year with the launch of The Christmas house, the network’s first holiday movie starring a gay couple in the lead roles. The movie was a hit and the best Hallmark movie of the 2020 season, if I do say so myself. Now the Mitchell family is back The Christmas House 2: Decorate these rooms. Does Hallmark have a new blockbuster vacation franchise? Or is this family reunion as awkward as those in real life?
The essential: It’s been a few years since we’ve seen the Mitchells and the family has grown. Brandon (Jonathan Bennett) and Jake (Brad Harder) have adopted a second child and are now a family of four. TV star Mike (Robert Buckley) is still with Andi (Ana Ayora) and he’s closer than ever to his son Noah (Mattia Castrillo). And instead of having just one Christmas home this year, the Mitchells are going to double and double their number of vacation homes!
This is all taking place in a live televised celebrity holiday decoration contest called Decorate these rooms (think The great Christmas light fight, but featuring the families of America’s favorite police procedural stars). But when competition from Mike Mitchell, the aptly named Finn Rockland of brooklyn medical– abandoned Decorate these rooms, the producers decide to pit brother against brother. Yes it’s beautiful righteousness star Mike Mitchell against his baker brother Brandon Mitchell, and this Christmas competition has never been tougher!
The dueling Christmas house decoration serves as the backdrop for many new complications in the extended Mitchell family. Bill (Treat Williams) and Phylis (Sharon Lawrence) learn their lines for a local theater Christmas play. Mike wants to find the perfect way to propose to Andi, but the surprise return of Andi’s ex-husband puts Mike in his thoughts about his place in Noah’s life; and Brandon and Jake try to create unique Christmas memories for their children, which is difficult when the holiday season means redecorating homes from ground floor to attic with nothing but Christmas cheer. It’s another Christmas with the Mitchell family, so you know it’s going to be hectic.
What movies will this remind you of? : 2006 ago Decorate the rooms, obviously, except I would say this Hallmark movie is infinitely more watchable (sorry Danny DeVito and Matthew Broderick). And because of the broadcast in a TV movie of nature Decorate these roomssequel adds confessional on-camera moments that only make the Mitchells seem more like Hallmark modern family.
Performance to watch: Now that Bill and Phylis’ relationship is on full throttle again, Treat Williams and Sharon Lawrence can move on, letting their kids provide all the emotional moments. These two are so great together and have such fun and natural chemistry, so it’s great to watch them having fun. Casting Mr. and Mrs. Mitchell in the lead role of a quirky little Christmas play was an inspired choice.
Memorable dialogue: The christmas house The franchise continues to be one of Hallmark’s funniest. Here’s how a frazzled Mike sums up his vacation blues: “I already have my girlfriend’s ex kicking sharks and cooking Colombian food with Noah. I don’t need you trying to outdo me too!”
A holiday tradition: Like all the other seasonal reality shows that have become television tradition, occupants of Hallmark’s holiday universe can watch Decorate these rooms every year. And of course, there is the Christmas house, which is all about creating family memories. Will it get lost now that Mike and Brandon are competing on TV? Of course.
Does the title make sense? : It makes the most sense, not only because the show in the movie is called Decorate these rooms, but because the sequel offers us two Christmas houses. If the franchise continues for a few more years, they may need to change the name to The Christmas cul-de-sac.
Our opinion : How do you make a sequel to a romantic holiday comedy? Once the main couple have embraced and professed their love, where can we go? Netflix has this problem with its franchises. The consequences of A prince of Christmas just wandered aimlessly through the politics of a fictional European country. The Princess Switch the franchise has found success by jumping genres with each new sequel; This year Princess Switch 3 is a romance/breakup movie. Could The Christmas house find a way forward now that Mike and Andi are together? This is a difficult problem to solve!
That’s why I’m so happy to report that Christmas house 2 found a completely unique and narratively rewarding way forward. Instead of introducing new characters to set up on blind dates or breaking up one of our favorite couples or having the Mitchells, I don’t know, form a ragtag hockey team and make their way to the regionals, Christmas house 2 does what I rarely see Hallmark movies do: it brings very real family issues to the forefront while simultaneously taking up all the holiday fun of the first film.
Turns out Hallmark characters can do more than just fall in love! Instead, the characters of Christmas house 2 deal with issues that arise after a happy ending. How will Mike propose to Andi and, more importantly, how can he be Noah’s father if Andi’s ex is back in town? And what drives Brandon to be so competitive with his brother? They’re two grown men – shouldn’t they be able to get along? Is the better Christmas must be a perfect Christmas? And most importantly, how does a family unit maintain balance as it expands to include more and more people?
But above all, Christmas house 2 tackles a few problems quite specific to the homosexual vacation experience. Once again, The Christmas house doesn’t treat Brandon and Jake like any Hallmark couple. They are one homosexual Hallmark couple, and much of their actions as a couple and their relationship with the larger family center Mitchell this fact. It’s nice to see too, because it’s important to show that same-sex couples have a lot more problems to deal with than coming out. I never thought a Hallmark movie would so thoroughly address the pressures of gay performative excellence, but I’m so glad it does!
But you don’t just watch this movie to see what problems the Mitchells will overcome before the light switch is turned on on the Christmas homes. You also log in to hang out with these characters and most importantly have fun with them. There’s so much fun to be had, mostly because Hallmark struck gold when they put together this specific cast of actors. Buckley and Bennett have such a brotherly vibe to them, and they sell it in competitive scenes. and dramatic scenes. The same goes for any combination of actors, like Jake and Andi, who have to deal with their loved ones reverting to childish comedic behavior. Like last year, Christmas house 2 will give you all the Christmas fun and Christmas feelings you need.
Globally, Christmas house 2 is exactly the right kind of sequel. It pushes the franchise forward while bringing and building on everything we loved about the first movie. Fingers crossed we visit the Mitchells every year from now. It’s a tradition!
Our call: SPREAD IT. The following proves that The Christmas house is built to last.
look The Christmas House 2: Decorate these rooms on Hallmark