As I say time and again here (perhaps a little overmuch even?), cute though they all are, I most certainly have Christmas movie favorites. Among those that aired in 2017, it’s safe to say, Christmas Next Door is – easily – one of them.
Christmas Next Door (2017) Hallmark TV Film Review
At Christmas time, Eric (Jesse Metcalfe) turns into something of a Grinch. His mother makes attempts to get him out of his writing den and at their family holiday dinners, but her attempts are left unmet. Eric rebuffs any and all attempts to put him in a festive mood. Too bad for him, all of his neighbors are over-the-top decorators. This year is different though. Despite his book deadline, his mother ups her game and makes arrangements (that he cannot slip out of) for Eric to keep his niece and nephew over the Christmas season.
While they stay with him, it turns out Eric needs a little help with his sister’s kids. Enter April Stewart (Fiona Gubelmann). The exact opposite of Eric, April takes part in every Christmas tradition she can. Despite his determined, she and the kids slowly bring Eric around, and convince him there’s fun to be had at Christmas!
This is the Christmas movie (of 2017) I’ve been waiting for. Each year, there’s always that “one” movie that seems better than the rest. Sometimes it’s a simple reason like the chemistry between the leads. Other times it’s because the production or script impresses. Whatever each one’s reason, there are instances when this is true. Last year, overall (though I adore many from 2016’s line up), Hearts of Christmas took the title. This year, it might be safe to say, Christmas Next Door snags the title.
(Although to be honest, since seeing this one I did see Sharing Christmas… and there are three or four others I’d plan to see in the next week before I wave goodbye to Christmas films. At least until Christmas of 2018.)
I’ll admit I may be biased in saying everything I’ve written because I do like Jesse Metcalfe as an actor. He’s been in TV shows I’ve watched, and a cute Indie romcom I enjoy. Then, imagine my surprise when he began to show up in Hallmark originals (Fairfield Road, A Country Wedding), and eventually, a starring role in their own weekly drama, Chesapeake Shores. A show in which he plays a role as a character I quite like. (Note to Abby: girl, what is your problem??) In this role as an author who writes books on how to stay single, he plays the total opposite of his ‘Shores’ character. Fortunately it’s such a fun character we don’t mind the differences.
The banter between Metcalfe and his co-star Fiona Gubelmann, who fans will also recognize from Hallmark’s Tulips in Spring, sizzles with good humor. What makes this story really sparkle is the hilarious lengths someone goes to try and change Eric’s Grinch-like attitude. This little subplot adds a great deal of personality to the story and keeps its viewer giggling. Or if you’re anything like me, you will be.
Speaking of the rest of the film, there should be no surprise to know that it’s a delight. The niece and nephew characters are cute, and there’s plenty of seasonal cheer in the scenes. Whether it’s baking Christmas cookies or trimming a tree, you’ll be put in a Christmas-y mood at the conclusion of this one. Christmas Next Door is one of my 2017 favorites, and certainly one I’d love to add to my DVD collection next year. In fact, it’s safe to say, it’s a neighbor its fellow Christmas compatriots would be glad to have next door.
(This post does contain affiliate links, which means – at no extra cost to you, I may receive a small commission if you make a purchase through a link. Read the disclosure page for details.) You can purchase Christmas Next Door on DVD or own digitally on Amazon Video.
Photos: Hallmark Channel