‘A Hollywood Christmas’ (2022) – Movie Release on HBO Max – Review: Christmas for All – Innocuous, Formulaic, and Unimaginative

A Hollywood Christmas is a romantic comedy starring Jessika Van and Josh Swickard. This quirky Christmas movie for the entire family is directed by Alex Ranarivelo.

Christmas in the studio.


Jessica, a young, up-and-coming filmmaker in Hollywood has made a name for herself directing Christmas movies. But when handsome network executive Christopher shows up threatening to halt production on her latest movie, Jessica’s assistant, Reena, points out the irony: Jessica isn’t just trying to save her Christmas movie, she’s actually living in one. Jessica must now juggle all the classic tropes—her actors falling in and out of love, a wayward elf dog, and her own stirring romantic feelings for her perceived nemesis—in order to get her movie and her life to their happy endings.

Movie Review

Do you remember The Player (1992)? It was a close to brilliant movie in which Robert Altman would elaborate his close up shots, while discussing close up shots in Touch of Evil (1958). ‘Christmas in Hollywood’ has some of that, although no reference to other movies is made. It does have a character, the assistant to the Director, who will guide the protagonist referencing all the elements in a romantic comedy that make it come around. The formula is part of the story and dialogue in this formulaic movie. A masterclass in Rom-Comery.

The entire movie is set in a studio, which inevitably means the story develops inside that bubble that has the advantage of having all the props at its disposal to create a Christmas atmosphere, even in mid-July: the décor, the costumes, the snow, and the characters in that setting.

It is just about manageable for a spectator to take in, and what makes it acceptable is in great part thanks to the good performances. Jessika Van provides a well measured performance as the perfectionist and applied movie director, Jessica; Annissa Borrego takes on the supporting role as Reena, Jessica’s assistant, with sufficient charm; and Zack Steiner pulls off an amusing, self-contented actor who has the lead role in the movie within the movie.

It is an amusing but unimpressive little number as it maintains the Christmas spirit in its contemporary plastic (like this year’s Christmas tree standing in my living room) way, while managing not to take itself too seriously. Yes, it is a cookie cutter Christmas movie, with an extra layer of pastel colored icing that is served with the perfect amount of overtness allowing for an ample audience to enjoy the movie wrapped in another movie (Christmas themed ribbon and all), and it dares to admit to a seemingly increasing deficit in the “novel ideas department” in the movie studios.

It is little under two hours of storyline formula that discusses the formula as a catalyst and ultimately forges the product. It is not a life-changing viewing experience, and the meta stance is far from new, but it is well measured in every aspect to make it safe for all audiences.

A traditional Christmas rom-com, with a slight but not groundbreaking twist, which might entertain you without demanding too much of you.

Release Date

December 1, 2022

Where to watch ‘A Hollywood Christmas’



Jessika Van / Jessica
Josh Swickard / Christopher

Missi Pyle / Theresa Frost
Anissa Borrego / Reena
Riley Dandy / Ashley / Chloe

See full credits >>

Elisabeth Plank
Elisabeth Plank
Television, Series and Trailers
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