Holiday Baggage (2008) (aka: Christmas Baggage) starring Barry Bostwick, Cheryl Ladd, Julia Sobaski, Stephen Polk, Leah Wagner, Joshua Swanson, Rachael Dayne, Dan Flannery directed by Stephen Polk Movie Review

Holiday Baggage (2008)   3/53/53/53/53/5

Barry Bostwick in Holiday Baggage (2008) (aka: Christmas Baggage)

A Broken Heart

With a new girlfriend who he plans to marry Pete Murphy (Barry Bostwick - A Different Kind of Christmas) has a little matter of a divorce to sort out with his estranged wife Sarah (Cheryl Ladd - Eve's Christmas). But when he meets up with Sarah, Pete suffers a heart attack and is rushed into hospital, an expensive hospital which he can't afford so discharges himself. Feeling sympathy for him Sarah agrees to let him stay at the old home whilst he recuperates as long as he obeys by her rules, has the medical tests he is meant to and tries to bond with their daughters. But a lot has changed since he abandoned the family after a fling with an air stewardess and not everything he discovers makes him happy.

Never judge a DVD by its cover, it is a lesson you sometimes learn the hard way especially when it comes to Christmas movies. Take "Holiday Baggage", sometimes called "Christmas Baggage" other times just called "Baggage", as the cover on the DVD makes it look like a typical cutesy Christmas movie and even the write up suggests it is a cutesy Christmas movie. The whole set up also suggests this as we have an estranged father forced to move back with his ex wife and children which suggests some cutesy rekindling of romance. But "Holiday Baggage" isn't cutesy, it isn't trying to be cutesy, maybe occasionally amusing but never sugary sweet which is what you expect from the movies look.

Cheryl Ladd in Holiday Baggage (2008) (aka: Christmas Baggage)

Nope instead "Holiday Baggage" is a quieter movie which tries to be soul searching in what Pete discovers on returning to the old family home as what he discovers is not what he expects. To give you just a glimpse his single daughter Holly is pregnant, but is a surrogate for sister Lisa and husband Andrew and Andrew's father Jack is very close to Sarah, plus Lisa really resents Pete for abandoning the family. As such we see how Pete struggles with how the family has changed and how he doesn't fit into their world whilst also having to deal with Lisa's strong resentment of him being there. There is much more than just that as Pete tries to make amends and bring some old time Christmas fun back to the house.

The thing about "Holiday Baggage" is that it tries to walk that fine line where it is soulful but also amusing with out descending into cliche sweetness. It makes it a movie hard to watch if you were fooled by the look as you constantly wait for the sweet fun and cheesy laughs to begin but they never do. But it does mean that at times the acting is strained and Barry Bostwick often feels restrained by a script which offers him a laugh but then steals it away from him.

What this all boils down to is that "Holiday Baggage" is in fact quite a good Christmas movie but only if you watch with the understanding it is not a typically cutesy cheese fest which is how it looks from the outside.

Tags: Christmas Movies