Another one of your Freaky Friday and 13 Going on 30 type of movies. Holiday Joy could not be any more clichéd, but who’d want to watch anything else during Christmas anyway? The holidays are all about easy to watch, easy to follow kind of movies.

Holiday Joy follows a teenage girl called Joy who – like every other high school student – thinks life is unfair to her. She wishes for popularity, and a more supportive family, without realising her life is already pretty great. There’s a reason people say “be careful what you wish for” because Joy’s dreams came true. After running in front of her popular next door neighbour’s car, and getting hit, she wakes up to find out that she no longer plays clarinet, and instead plays Varsity level volleyball; dates a guy who smells like apple cider, has a mother who cooks for her…and has boobs and a flat tummy – she is now the older sister of the girl who run her over. To no one’s surprise she soon begins to miss her real family who is living next door; she realises they’re slowly falling apart without her. The only one from Joy’s “old life” who recognises her is her dog.

I am not going to bring everyone down by talking about the very average formal, stylistic, and aesthetic (you know, camera movement, angles, lighting, mise-en-scène) aspects of the movie – Holiday Joy isn’t trying to be artful, it’s there to entertain, and to teach kids a lesson, I suppose. You don’t know what you have until it’s gone. Even if your mind snags on the underdeveloped characters, and the dragging middle part, the ending is sure to make you feel Christmassy and joyous. I even re-watched the ending…twice… And if anything, Bailee Madison’s performance is quite lovely, as always. 

Basically, if you’re looking for something well crafted, thought provoking, and artful, then Holiday Joy is definitely not for you. It’s not the finest work of cinema. But it’s exactly as cheesy as a Christmas movie is supposed to be. It’s an easy watch on a cold evening with a cup of hot chocolate.


Dir: Kirk D’Amico

Scr:  Holly Goldberg Sloan

Featuring: Bailee MadisonJennifer RobertsonSandy Jobin-Bevans 

Prd: Jonathan Bronfman

DOP: Scott McClellan

Music: Casey Manierka-Quaile

Country: USA

Year: 2016

Run Time: 87 min