T.S. Johnson


Movie Review

Netflix’s new holiday movie is 90 minutes of easy, breezy holiday fun.

Official Netflix Holiday in the Wild movie poster

What do you get when you put a Sex and the City-er with Rob Lowe and a bunch of adorable elephants?

You get Netflix’s new Christmas movie Holiday In The Wild.

As Netflix continues to try and out Hallmark Hallmark in the Christmas movie wars, you can expect more silly, sugary, perfectly entertaining films like Holiday in the Wild.

It has all the trappings of Hallmark with added Netflix flair:

  • Handsome older couple (but more famous) — check
  • A story that makes little sense but is enjoyable nonetheless — check
  • Perfectly predictable from beginning to end — check
  • Bad acting by secondary characters (sorry son of Sex and the City-er) — check

Oh, and since it is Netflix, there are elephants.

Lots and lots of elephants.

Hallmark doesn’t have that now, do they?

Holiday in the Wild tells the story of Kate (Kirstin Davis), a recent empty-nester who finds out her husband is leaving her the moment her son walks out of the house to head to college. And I mean, literally the moment he walks out the house, not 20 seconds later her husband is announcing their marriage is over and that he’s going to stay in a hotel.

Of course, in the twenty seconds prior to him making that announcement, Kate surprises him with a second honeymoon in Zambia. Since his bags are packed and his room is booked, Kate decides she’s going to go anyway and use the time to figure out what’s next in her life.

While there, she meets the very handsome Derek (Rob Lowe) who just happens to work at an elephant sanctuary, rescuing elephants from poachers and returning them to the wild. Through a series of very contrived events, Kate uses her practically non-existent vet skills (she was a vet before she became a stay at home mom) to help care for the elephants at the sanctuary.

Holiday in the Wild is wholly predictable fun that’s based on a script so thin that there were several time jumps in its 90-minute running time. I really feel like Netflix execs were sitting around trying to figure out how they could convince Rob Lowe to do a holiday movie to get that sweet older woman demographic that Hallmark has on lock. Pair him with the fourth friend from Sex and the City, and I’m sure they thought they’d have every woman over 35 tuning in to watch.

They’re likely right.

A 55-year-old Rob Lowe is still ridiculously handsome and is a good enough reason to watch almost anything, especially a holiday movie you don’t have to leave your house to view. The one negative of this film is Luke, Kate’s son, played by Rob Lowe’s real-life son John Owen Lowe.

If I could, I’d buy my daughter a career too, but his acting was so bad that it took me out of the already implausible film. He clearly has neither the looks (sorry) or the acting chops of his dad, and it showed.

This is a Netflix Hallmark type movie, so you’re not expecting great acting or great storylines, just some inoffensive fun. However, his acting was so offensive that every time he was on screen, he made the movie decidedly less fun. His screentime was minimal; however, thank goodness, so viewers don’t have to suffer too much from his bad impersonation of an actor.

The other stars of the film, the elephants, were amazing every time they were on screen. Whether big or small, you couldn’t help but smile every time one of those majestic creatures appeared on the screen. And since the film takes place in an animal sanctuary, there was a lot of smiling to be had.

All in all, I think Netflix has a winner on their hands with Holiday in the Wild. It’s just interesting enough to keep your attention just and enough fun to make you want to stream it again and again.

There are definitely worse ways to spend your time this holiday season.

Holiday in the Wild is streaming now on Netflix.



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