Awfully Good: Holiday in Handcuffs

Being married means I've seen my fair share of Christmas movies on ABC Family and the Hallmark Channel. They're all uniformly terrible—chock full of predictable stories, cardboard characters and sappy life lessons—but there's a special place in Hell for…


Holiday in Handcuffs (2007)


Director: Ron Underwood
Stars: Melissa Joan Hart, Mario Lopez, Markie Post

After being dumped by her boyfriend on Christmas eve, Clarissa Darling kidnaps A.C. Slater at gunpoint and forces him to spend the holidays with her family.

You know what you should do this holiday season? Gather the entire family around the television for a romantic Christmas comedy inspired by FALLING DOWN, FATAL ATTRACTION and MISERY!

Not everyone was a fan of Saved by the Bell: The College Years.

Director Ron Underwood (TREMORS, PLUTO NASH) isn't sure if HOLIDAY IN HANDCUFFS is a black comedy or a sappy yuletide love story and the movie seems oblivious to both. So amongst all the saccharine holiday cheer you also get jokes about bondage and pornstars, a grandma who drives drunk and pulls a gun on the cops, and a mom who wonders aloud about sleeping with other men and has to picture Clint Eastwood just to have sex with her husband.. It's hard to imagine that this aired on a channel with the word "Family" in the title.

The Ben Gay bandit strikes again.

For those excited to watch two of your favorite childhood TV stars hook up, prepare to see Sabrina the Teenage Witch as a raving lunatic who constantly commits felony after felony. Melissa Joan Hart opens the movie with narration explaining that she's not actually crazy. (Never a good sign.) We then watch her character Trudie heat leftover Chinese takeout with a hair dryer for breakfast, before giving herself a horrible perm that she has for the rest of the movie. Then she's late for a job interview and rushes in to the guy's office shouting, "Mr. Portnoy, it's me! Little Pootie from the corner! I make more money than any of those other girls on the street." (I don't even want to know what job she's interviewing for.) Keep in mind, this is all in the first three minutes of the movie and Trudie gets more insane from there.

The Pootie Tang prequel made some odd casting choices.

In spite of this, Hart's character is somehow dating a rich, successful man, who comes to his senses at the beginning of the film and dumps her on Christmas Eve as they're about to leave to spend the holidays with her family. Trudie has a psychotic break, grabs a gun and kidnaps the first guy she sees, who in this case just happens to be David (Mario Lopez). The SAVED BY THE BELL star was literally at the restaurant to propose to his girlfriend, before Trudie takes him hostage, ties him up and drives him to her family's cabin in the woods. She also fires a gun at his penis on the way.

Even Sam stopped returning Clarissa's calls.

Now that you understand the setup, you have to respect the screenwriters, who immediately wrote themselves in to a corner with the premise itself. Nevertheless, HOLIDAY IN HANDCUFFS does its best to stretch out this concept in the most ridiculous ways possible:

Wouldn't someone spot Trudie kidnapping David? Yes! At one point she stops for gas and the old man who owns the station sees Mario Lopez blindfolded, bound and gagged in the car. Trudie tells him it's her boyfriend and she's surprising him with an S&M weekend in the woods for Christmas. Not only does the old man believe her, but he brings her a set of handcuffs "on the house" as a gift for their 50 SHADES OF GREY holiday.

Wouldn't David just tell her family he's been kidnapped as soon as he arrives? The writers thought of this possibility too! Trudie tells her family that her boyfriend is nervous about meeting them, and when he gets anxious he likes to play a game where he pretends to be kidnapped as a defense mechanism. Her family believes this without question and the result is something out of a psychological horror movie: David continually asks every person he meets for help and they just laugh in his face like crazy people.

Jesse Spano's dad did not appreciate his daughter being called "Mama" by Slater.

Can't David just call for help? Nope! He didn't bring his cell phone with him. There's no phone line in the cabin. And Hart designates herself the "keymaster" and locks away everyone's cell phones and keys under the guise of spending quality time together without distractions.

Couldn't David just leave and run away? Again, the writers are way ahead of you! David attempts to sneak away in the middle of the night, but after hours of walking on a desolate dirt road in the snow, Trudie tracks him down in her car and taunts him about coming back or freezing to death. Again, it's like something out of a slasher film.

Wasn't A.C. Slater a state wrestling champion? Couldn’t he just overpower Clarissa? He tries one time to steal her cell phone, but she is somehow able to outsmart and outrun him using a kitchen island. Later, he goes for a drive with her dad and grabs the steering wheel in an attempt to escape, but the dad just assumes he needs a break from his significant other and that this is normal behavior. David also makes it back to the gas station and asks the old guy for help, only to have the elderly pervert pull a shotgun on him and tell him to get back to his sex weekend.

Man, the universe really has it out for Mario Lopez.

Unfortunately, the Christmas Angel did not have enough miracles to revive their careers.

Surely given the circumstances this can't play out like every other ABC Family holiday movies and end in romance, right? Guess again! Eventually David comes down with the worst case of Stockholm Syndrome ever and starts falling for Trudie. He's a sensitive orphan who loves impressionistic art and she's a free-spirited artist with a family. She sees him shirtless in the bathroom and he builds her an ice skating rink in the backyard. They walk under mistletoe and he actually kisses the woman who kidnapped him across state lines. Later, after Trudie's parents are mean to her, he proposes to his captor using the ring he bought for his actual girlfriend. I won't spoil the ending, but suffice it say, HOLIDAY IN HANDCUFFS has probably the worst moral message of any Christmas movie ever: Do whatever illegal thing you want and it'll all work out for you amazingly in the end.

"You're the first boyfriend Trudie's brought home. We thought maybe she liked the innies and not the outties." And other bad jokes.

Poor A.C. Slater. Nobody believes he's been kidnapped.

Mario Lopez goes shirtless for the ladies. If you want to see more, watch the homoerotic Awfully Good sci-fi movie ABSOLUTION.

Clarissa kidnaps them all! Buy this movie here!

Take a shot or drink every time:

  • Melissa Joan Hart or a member of her family acts like a crazy person
  • Someone ignores Mario Lopez's cries for help
  • Someone points a gun at someone else

Double shot if:

  • Someone does a spit take


Thanks to Jillian for suggesting this week's movie!


Seen a movie that should be featured on this column? Shoot Jason an email or follow him on Twitter and give him an excuse to drink.

Extra Tidbit: At the time it aired, this was the most watched broadcast in the history of ABC Family. We are all responsible.
Source: JoBlo.com



Latest Entertainment News Headlines


Featured Youtube Videos