Bailee Madison in Holiday Joy (2016)

The Grass is not always Greener on the Wellman Side

Ever since her mum died, Joy Hockstatter (Bailee Madison) has found herself becoming like a mother to her younger brother whilst also making sure things run smoothly for her dad (French Stewart) as well as her older brother. But whilst she loves her family Joy also wishes their family was more like the Wellman's who lives next door as they seem to be the perfect family. Miraculously Joy finds herself as part of the Wellman family following an accident and on top of that she is also dating the most popular guy in school. But after the shock of her sudden new life wears off Joy discovers that what she thought was her dream life is not as great as she thought.

Gather round movie lovers as today's lessons are; not only is the grass not greener on the other side but also what may look perfect may actually be a lot of hard work. That is the crux of "Holiday Joy" which whilst set at Christmas isn't really a Christmas movie but one which combines those lessons with a sort of life swap storyline. For older movie lovers this is likely going to border on the banal due to it being utterly familiar. But for young audiences who might be teen fans of Bailee Madison it might be enjoyable in a light hearted way.

In truth "Holiday Joy" slowly won me over despite being so familiar even though the storyline did little for me. The reason being is that Bailee Madison does have a gift for this sort of light-hearted comedy. Unfortunately those around her make less of an impression and the talents of French Stewart end up wasted in a nothing supporting role.

What this all boils down to is that "Holiday Joy" is simply the reworking of old ideas for a new generation and as such isn't going to do a great deal for older movie fans but might appeal to a teen audience who are fans of Bailee Madison.