Holiday Rush (2019)

Holiday Rush
Director: Leslie Small
Writer: Sean Dwyer, Greg Cope White
Cast: Romany Malco, Sonequa Martin-Green, Darlene Love, Amarr M. Wooten, Deysha Nelson, Andrea-Marie Alphonse, Selena-Marie Alphonse, Deon Cole, Tamala Jones, Alysia Livingston
Seen on: 28.12.2019

Rush (Romany Malco) is a widower and a very successful radio host. Together with his best friend-slash-producer Roxy (Sonequa Martin-Green) and his Auntie Jo (Darlene Love), he can balance both his professional life and his four kids in a very comfortable life. This all comes to an end, though, when Rush is not offered part ownership of the radiostation he works at as expected, but is instead fired – and just before Christmas to boot. Rush and his family have to move in with Auntie Jo and have to say goodbye to the rich life they led so far, much to the horror of the kids. But Rush and Roxy are a dream team and it doesn’t take long for them to come up with a new plan.

Holiday Rush is a fun film and for once a Christmas film that makes do without white people. Is it a little heavy-handed with its message? Well, yeah, but it’s a Christmas film after all, so that’s what you’d expect.

The film poster showing the entire family standing in a group hug and another image of Rush (Romany Malco) smiling.

The heart and soul of Holiday Rush really lies in the relationship between Rush and Roxy. Their partnership is the part that works best about the film: it’s vibrant and strong. I thought it was lovely how they were friends first – even after their relationship became romantic. Malko and Martin-Green have amazing chemistry together. Without them, this would have never worked as well as it did.

As an extension of the chemistry between the two on a personal level, there is a sense of energy about the film that is rare in Christmas movies that mostly feel slower and more deliberate (even when a lot happens). I, for one, liked that change of pace.

Auntie Jo (Darlene Robinson) with the twins (Andrea-Marie Alphonse, Selena-Marie Alphonse)

There were a few things that I didn’t like that much, though, mostly with how they handled time in the film. The timeline didn’t add up for me – Rush loses his job and practically the next day he has to move out of his house already and loses pretty much all of his possessions, but then a week later (or so), they have already bought a new radio station, having found the money necessary to do so somehow. I’m not demanding utter realism from any holiday movie, but the timeframe here so everything happens in the last few weeks leading up to Christmas is a bit much to take. Also, it took them a little too long to show that children aren’t just spoiled brats but also have personalities and can be likeable. There was a lot of frustration on my part with their entitlement before they were redeemed – could have been less!

But other than that, Holiday Rush is entertaining enough, even if I had to ignore some of the more exaggerated characterizations and the sheer number of life lessons that the film tries to dispense.

Rush (Romany Malko) and Roxy (Sonequa Martin-Green) having dinner.

Summarizing: Sweet.

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