A very special holiday post- Holiday in Handcuffs

This is an ABC family movie that I attempted to DVR but it was erased (as always, Time Warner). My friend Chadd told me that I must see it and then informed me that it’s on netflix instant. A Christmas miracle!

Firstly, the premise of this movie is just too good. “A struggling artist working as waitress kidnaps one of her customers to bring home and meet her parents at Christmas.”

WHAT?? So she’s criminally insane? Good to know right off the top. I cannot wait to see how her mental illness makes her so “quirky” and “fun” that he can’t help but fall in love with her.

Alright, here we go! Oh crap, something is wrong with my camera. The viewfinder is inverted and the pictures are backwards and upside down… Crud, I will try to make this work. Firstly, Netflix guesses I will give this movie 2.5 stars. I think that’s being hasty but we’ll see.


The voiceover is Melissa Joan Hart saying that she’s not crazy while her character is in the middle of running down Mario Lopez on the street and forcing him back into her car. Do most crazy people readily admit they’re crazy? Nope! So, I don’t believe you, crazy woman.



Her day starts with her looking like a zombie and then blowdrying Chinese food to heat it up. We’ve all been there right? Where my single ladies at? (dead silence)

Her mom is one of those movie moms who has a seating plan for her Christmas dinner. It’s not a wedding, lady. Also, her mom is Markie Post from Night Court but her dad isn’t Dan Fielding so that’s a missed opportunity. Her name is Trudi and her boyfriend’s name is Nick.


Her apartment is covered in the birdcage fabric that Urban Outfitters used to sell. It’s supposed to be really “bohemian” and “arty” but it’s actually giant and nice.

She tells her mom that her boyfriend will be coming with her but then in the next scene she says they have pressured her to get a real job and get a real boyfriend and that it’s pushing her over the edge. Has she made up the boyfriend?

Oh god, she gets in a car accident on the way to the job interview (on 12/23) and is late so the interview is over… she runs to the window of the boss and starts yelling that she’s there for her interview and to see her anyway while she pounds on the window. Yeah, this lady is not insane. Not. At. All.

She’s a waitress at a diner and her mom has rented a cabin in the woods for Christmas and everyone is going there this year. Hmmm, she talks to her coworker about her boyfriend so I guess he’s real. Apparently he’s a banker or something.


Boyfriend arrives and he’s a walking toolbag. He just walks into the restaurant and says he’s not going to Christmas and she’s all “what??” and then he’s all “yeah baby, get used to it.” Yes, that’s how this guy talks. “I don’t think we’re ever gonna get there, sweetheart.” Then he says that he only told her he was going to go home with her because he hadn’t banged her yet. Later, toots.

^^^^ shocked and dumped face ^^^^


Mario Lopez comes in and orders a burger. Her mind comes unhinged and the wheels start spinning and her mom calls and is all “you’re going to be late! DO YOU WANT TO RUIN CHRISTMAS??”


She sees Mario Lopez looking for the bathroom and totally PULLS A GUN ON HIM and tells him he’s coming with her. I think it’s some kind of antique gun. This is what I know though- that’s CRAZY. She walks him outside and he slips on the ice and gets knocked out so she drags him into her car.

His girlfriend shows up for lunch… um, he ordered like 15 minutes ago and without her. She asks a waitress if she’s seen him and the waitress goes “don’t see him, maybe this is his way of dumping you?” and walks off. THIS MOVIE IS INCREDIBLE.


He comes to in the car and only seems mildly annoyed that he’s been kidnapped and is somewhere on the open road. He’s tied up and is all “sooner or later I will over power you” and she pulls the gun on him again, while smiling.

Trudi swerves while driving and totally nearly shoots his weiner off. She’s all “OMG, I’m sorry!”

She tells him he’s going to Christmas dinner with her family and he tells her that she’s a “hairy lady, man-hater type” and that she’s taking this out on him. She gets annoyed and makes a face. Even kidnappers can be offended by this kind of gross statement.

She blindfolds him with her scarf and he’s all “what are gonna do, pull a gun on me through dinner to keep me there?” and she just goes into a gas station in a huff.

The old man at the gas station sees the dude tied up and is all “what’s going on here” so she says they’re going on a wild weekend. He goes in and brings out some fuzzy handcuffs as a gift to her because he also loves sex games. She puts those on Mario Lopez and thanks the guy.


She apologizes for kidnapping him and then proposes they get to know each other. He eats her snacks but continues to be mildly annoyed about being held hostage.

They arrive at the cabin in the woods and it’s all snowy and wood burning fireplace and dinner is not near being served so I don’t think she’s that late… don’t worry, her parents talk about how late she is the moment she gets inside and that she’s ruining Christmas. She tells them that Nick is in the car but that he might say that he doesn’t want to be here and that he’s been kidnapped because that’s his idea of humor. They buy it.


She brings him in. The parents tell him that he’s the first boyfriend she’s ever brought home. He tells them that she brought him here at gunpoint and they laugh and laugh. He thinks they’re all insane. He then says that his name isn’t Nick. They laugh more. He goes off to hang out with her dad, mildly inconvenienced.


He runs outside and realizes he’s in the middle of the woods in the snow and doesn’t even have a coat. He goes back inside to hang out with her parents.

This family hangs out in the woods with no phone and cell phones aren’t allowed because they interrupt “family time,” so she has hidden them. This seems like the premise to a slasher movie.


Her brother and sister arrive (later than her but are not chastised for ruining Christmas) and he tries to tell them that he’s been kidnapped and everyone laughs and laughs. “I’M NOT HER BOYFRIEND, I JUST MET HER TODAY WHEN SHE KIDNAPPED ME!” Lolz. How crazy has this girl been in the past that this doesn’t phase her family at all?

What is with this fugly wig she’s wearing? Is it supposed to be funny?


He slept in a suit… Still no one is getting that she kidnapped this dude.

He knows she has her cell phone so she smashes it into pieces with a meat tenderizer. Couldn’t she have just taken the sim card out? Would that have been too rational?

There is an olive oil emergency and Slater (who is actually David but they are calling Nick) is all “I’ll go!” but he ends up going with her dad. He’s wearing a short sleeved polo shirt and plaid golf pants in the snowy winter.

Her sister paints something that looks like olive oil in her hair to get the curls out but that’s not possible because they’re out of olive oil, right? CONTINUITY.

The pervy old gas station attendant doesn’t believe that he’s been kidnapped because he knows about their sex games.


He demands to use the gas station phone and the old man pulls a shotgun on him and calls him a “superfreak.” David/Nick has had a lot of guns pulled on him lately.

He tries to wreck the car on the way back to the cabin (!!) and the dad is all “this can be our secret, relationships can be hard.” WHAT?? God, every scene is more bananas than the last one.

Everyone just talks about how foxy Mario Lopez is in every scene- is he the male Jennifer Love Hewitt? Does he work that into his scripts?

He finagles a phone out of the brother and calls his girlfriend’s house. She’s mega rich and has a mom who is relaxes in a giant pool with cucumbers on her eyes. Classic rich person move. She just tells him off for standing her up instead of listening to him. To get her attention he says he was going to propose yesterday. Over diner burgers at lunch? When he didn’t even wait for her to order? What a charmer! She suddenly cares about him and envisions a ring on her finger.


Trudi knows he’s on the phone so she breaks into the bathroom and throws the phone in the toilet. Only option really.

For whatever reason he has decided that he’s going to be the best boyfriend ever for the rest of the trip (until his girlfriend can find him with these great hints “like two hours outside the city, in a cabin.”) He says it will be more fun this way when her family learns that she’s a criminal.

Ack, her family is awful. Her dad says she has “a lot of causes” and she’s all “being a democrat is not a cause, dad.” Then he says she went to school for liberal arts and she corrects to “fine arts” and Slater is all “that’s just a fancy way of saying ‘do you want fries with that?'” and everyone laughs and laughs. Right now he seems like shitty boyfriend but a great addition to this family.

Mom says that when Trudi was a kid they paid a boy to be friends with her and he gave them their money back. Everyone laughs at the loser with no friends. I wait for Slater to call someone “preppy.”

Family game of football in the snow that doesn’t appear to follow any rules of football, or include Trudie. She watches as the family loves this guy more than her.


She gets sad so he goes to find her. He’s all “I thought you wanted me to impress them??” and she’s all “but now they like you more than me.” They make up like a couple and not like a felony in the making.

Mom gives them paper to write santa letters… it’s Christmas eve in the middle of the woods so it’s not like they can go shopping now? I don’t get the point of this? She gets out wine so they can get wasted. He wants a pasta maker and an SUV. She thinks he’s lame but he points out that he already has all the things he really wants, a great job, a hot girlfriend and all that. Then he feels bad because he remembers that she has nothing. Poor loser.

Poignant story about how long she’s been disappointing her asshole parents. He feels this strange emotion that’s totally foreign to him- sympathy.


Bratty girlfriend goes to the police station and yells “SOMEBODY BETTER PAY ATTENTION TO ME!” to the police station Christmas party. They’re like “ugh, not it.”

David/Nick and Trudi start to go outside and he just checks out her sister who is like 10 feet away and then they talk about how beautiful she is while she supposedly can’t hear them.

Was Melissa Joan Hart sick when she filmed this? Her voice has been deep and scratchy in several scenes.

Oh look, the banker asshole knows about art. And he had school teacher parents who died when he was little. She misjudged him. Yes, it’s about time rich real estate developers / bankers who mock arts degrees stop being marginalized.

He starts doing that “why are you hitting yourself??” thing that siblings who are like 10 do. It’s romantic?


They end up under mistletoe and her brother makes them kiss. It’s romantic? As they peck on the lips her mom hums “here comes the bride.” Subtle.

The cops, with the girlfriend, question the diner owner about someone with “crazy hair and crazy eyes” who works there. He thinks about this question.

HA! Her parents give David/Nick a shower loofah for his back for Christmas. My dad totally gave that exact same gift to my ex boyfriend at Christmas once.


Trudi opens a really ugly pink sweater and then a large, leather briefcase that doesn’t suit this girl at all. Record scratch… awkward. She didn’t get that job and she has never worked in an office.

She says that the thing she loves to do is paint and her dad refers to it as “coloring.” David/Nick stands up for her and because her family likes him they don’t argue.


WHOA! He says he has one more present and then he gets down on one knee and proposes. They’re supposed to have been together for like 2 months at this point (in fake time). Does this mean that she’ll have to tell her parents she dumped this dream man in the next year and disappoint them further?


This movie, you guys.


She apologizes for kidnapping him and he says it actually hasn’t been that bad.

Drinking with her brother in the garage and he confides that he broke up with his girlfriend 6 months ago and he didn’t tell their parents. ANDDDDD, he has a boyfriend now. She’s all “shut up.”

David/Nick catches the grandma trying to escape and goes outside to stop her but she takes off with him in the car and immediately backs up over a tree.

Trudi is all “I thought you weren’t trying to escape?” when she comes outside and he explains that he wasn’t, he was trying to stop the grandma. They are basically in love now I think.

The police question her friend from the diner and she’s all “it’s not her fault- IT’S MEN. They drive women crazy!” Sigh.

Trudi sees Slater in a towel and is all flummoxed by how ripped he is (see my previous question about the possibility of him working this into scripts). They get dressed for Christmas dinner (wtf Christmas dinner is at 7pm?? I digress) and look good. He tells her she looks great.

She calls him a moron and he tells her to shut up. God, romance like this is so rare. He turns on a bunch of Christmas lights around the pond and she is blown away. He wants her to do the ice skating routine she did when she was 9. Cue stunt woman!!


Some stunt woman does a bunch of leaps and spins all over the ice.

The sister drops the bomb, over dinner, that she’s not going to law school. She’s funneling the tuition money into opening a pilates studio in California. This family is so wonderful! All the kids keep giant secrets and steal money from their parents. Good times.

Brother says he’s gay. Mom is all “oh honey, I know” and laughs.

The dad in this movie looks like George W. Bush.


The parents get in a huge, awkward fight. Whatta dinner! Are they trying to ruin Christmas? Trudi should have asked that right at that moment.

Now the police bust in and say freeze and explain that their daughter kidnapped someone.


For some reason the whole family is in jail. You’re not going to believe this but David/Nick doesn’t press any charges.

She wears a short, white puffy coat over a cocktail dress. The Tim Gunn inside me weeps.


She gives the ring back and he goes off with his bratty girlfriend.

Now it’s Valentine’s Day and she’s lamenting that she can’t find a job or a guy and her friend is all “so you haven’t heard from him then?” Then she sees his engagement announcement in the paper and the wedding is today. 5 weeks of wedding planning, y’all.

The bratty girlfriend is making the housekeeper try on all the wedding dresses so she can judge them.

He asks her why, out of all the guys, she’d want to marry him. She says “because we make sense and we’re gonna live a life other people dream of.” That’s a weird answer.

Trudi finds out she has gotten a piece in an art show and her brother says he’ll go with her.

At the art show every artist’s name is on the wall in a different font (which horrifies me) but she’s lucky because she got futura bold. Her parents show up and they’re in counseling so they’re nice to her and not mean for once. There is no way 5 weeks of counseling could completely change people. Don’t lie to me you stupid movie.


Her mom has done so much therapy that she doesn’t think kidnapping a guy to pretend to be your boyfriend was weird and sad and desperate.

Oh! Here we go. David is kidnapping her now. Kidnapping is their thing, you guys. He bought a space and is making an art gallery. His first piece is… guess? It’s her piece! He bought it. Are you fucking shocked?


They make out and are in love now. Her voice in the voice over cracks twice and is deeper than ever. Head-coldsville.

Sigh, this movie is real. Someone wrote it and then like 200 people made it. Just thinking about that is enough to give me nightmares.



8 thoughts on “A very special holiday post- Holiday in Handcuffs

  1. Yes! So glad you enjoyed this!

    Some fun facts:
    -This is the highest viewed program in the history of the ABC Family network.
    -The father from the movie DID play George W. Bush in at least two separate things.
    -When Mario Lopez slipped and fell on the ice, I had to pause the movie because I was laughing so hard

    Merry Christmas!

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