The Family HolidayCashing in on his “good guy” cred and recognizability as Uncle Joey from the hit tv series Full House, Dave Coulier follows in the footsteps of his cutesy costars the Olsen twins and heads for the small screen as Donald “Doc” Holiday in the family holiday film aptly titled The Family Holiday. Unfortunately, the double meaning of the film’s title is the cleverest thing about this feel-good comedy caper.

As the titular Holiday, Dave Coulier plays up the lovable con man character with an exaggerated act that wouldn’t fool a six year old. But this is movie land, where loser con men who owe money to bald-headed thugs get quaint verbal threats and escape by hiding in surprisingly clean dumpsters. The land where someone’s long lost uncle can die and will them $20 million on the condition that they are in a stable job, and married with children. Because, you see, once a man has a wife and kids, it’s literally impossible for him to be a con man any longer. Obviously, his uncle earned his money because he understood people.

So, like the trickster he is, Holiday sets out to dupe his uncle’s trustee Mrs. Pendergast (Christina Pickles doing her best to add just a touch of realism to a fantastical world). Immediately setting himself up with a ridiculously cushy job at his friend Scooter’s company, somehow convincing them that he works there simply by walking in the door with a box of office supplies and a few quick words, he next works on finding a family. And luckily for our quirky anti-hero, he doesn’t have to look very long. Foster kids Tim and Amanda (fraternal twins who don’t want to be separated by the evil foster forces that be) are wandering the streets looking for change. With little discussion and a brief monetary deal the kids relocate from the sidewalk to Holiday’s house, in a move that would be a litlte more than creepy in any real-world situation, but again, this is movie land.

Next on the list: a wife. Placing a want ad for a live-in maid easily yields the friendly, young, attractive, and kind-hearted Elizabeth Rogers (Alexa Fischer looking for a paycheck). And as the two fall for each other in the most shallow of movie-land fashion, the old “always tell the truth” and “all you want is the money” plotlines settle in nicely for the remainder of the film. There are a few cute scenes, but cute doesn’t hold much weight as a measure of cinematic quality. The main audience for the film is clearly overly-conscientious suburban families looking for “safe” holiday fare. And while The Family Holiday plays well on the surface to that crowd, the implications of the film’s hole-ridden plot are further reaching than the producers would like to admit. Here’s a brief breakdown of the lessons learned:

1. Kids, if a man approaches you on the street and offers you $1000 to come live with him: do it. He’s probably a good guy.
2. Foster care workers are actually evil and heartless and intentionally seek to separate twin siblings from each other.
3. You can easily get a well-paying job with little to no skill.
4. Men and women can marry with little or no dating, even if most of what they know of each other is untrue.
5. For kids running away from home: the street really isn’t that bad of a place.
6. And most importantly: being married and having kids is the only way to lead a well-rounded life.

Overall, The Family Holiday is a completely unoriginal snoozefest with stilted acting, a forced and cliche story, and little to no redeeming qualities. But hey, the dog is good.

Zach’s Rating: F
Perfect For: Plopping the kids in front of the tv and walking away
Stay Away if: You are looking for a quality movie about the “true” meaning of Christmas

To purchase The Family Holiday, visit Amazon

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