Catering Christmas Netflix Movie Review

The review of the Christmas rom-com directed by T.W. Peacocke and starring Merritt Patterson and Daniel Lissing is available on Netflix from December 2, 2023.

Image Credit: Netflix

For Netflix, the rush for gifts to be found under the trees of its subscribers always starts well in advance. In fact, from the very first days of December, the Stars and Stripes streaming giant usually releases series and films with a Christmas background or theme to allow its audience to begin to breathe the unmistakable and magical atmosphere of the holidays. Unfortunately, despite them and us, the quantity and abundance of the offer do not correspond to the same extent as the quality of the products distributed on the platform. Here, more often than not, we end up ruinously stumbling upon films with rather questionable results, the kind that even manages to ruin the holidays for you, as in the case of Catering Christmas by T.W. Peacocke, available on the US platform from December 2, 2023.

Catering Christmas is a Christmas rom-com based on love and cooking

The Canadian director, a veteran in the making of romantic comedies, takes us to New Hampshire when there are a few days left before the Eve before recounting a meeting, the one between Molly Frost and Carson Harrison. The first is a young chef and entrepreneur looking for opportunities to launch her new restaurant business, while the second is a photographer, but above all the attractive granddaughter of the much esteemed and respected Jean Harrison, owner of the Harrison Foundation, who every year organizes a very important charity gala. At the last moment, however, due to a mix-up with the catering already chosen sometime before, the aunt is forced to choose a new one and the decision falls on the second most requested catering service in the city, Molly's. Enthusiastic about the possibility of taking care of the organization of such an important event, Molly finds herself spending a lot of time with Carson, to whom her aunt entrusts the role of manager in the hope that she will agree to inherit the large family foundation.

Image Credit: Netflix

An all too basic recipe, created with narrative and dramaturgical ingredients common to many other romantic comedies

For his new rom-com, Peacocke uses the most classic of combinations to entice and sweeten the palate of the user in question, namely Love and Cooking. A combination that served as the basis for the recipe for many films of the genre in question, starting with Eat Pray Love by Ryan Murphy. But a recipe, no matter how succulent it may appear on paper, is destined to remain so if there is no one at the stove capable of transforming it into a dish worthy of being served on the table, which in the case of an audiovisual product is a screen. Catering Christmas is one of these. This is an example of an all too basic recipe, created with narrative and dramaturgical ingredients common to many other romantic comedies, to which the screenwriter Cara J. Russell wanted to add the Christmas setting and her mood to try to further warm the atmosphere. The same ones who, to be clear, can regularly be found in all those TV movies that crowd the afternoon schedules of generalist channels before, during, and after the holidays and for some years now also on the platforms.

Such is the coldness with which the story is developed, framed, and interpreted by the protagonist couple formed by Merritt Patterson and Daniel Lissing

In this sense, on Netflix, you are spoiled for choice with operations such as All-Inclusive Christmas or The Colors of Christmas. Films, with which Catering Christmas shares the same limitations and defects, starting from the writing devoid of personal brushstrokes, which presents nothing original and does nothing other than follow an already written script to the letter. In fact, it seems like we always see and hear the same old story, with cookie-cutter characters taken verbatim from stories that have already been told countless times. The horizontal line is the most obvious and predictable thing there can be, but what is even more serious is the coldness with which it is developed, framed, and interpreted by the protagonist couple formed by Merritt Patterson and Daniel Lissing. In doing so, all the magic of Holy Christmas is dispersed, melting like snow in the sun.

Catering Christmas: evaluation and conclusion

T.W. Peacocke puts his signature on a Christmas rom-com based on love, cooking, and good feelings. Ingredients, these, which have made the fortune of many films similar to Catering Christmas, it's a shame that the recipe conceived for him by Cara J. Russell and translated into a screenplay is the coldest and most unoriginal one can conceive. All are poorly supported by the packaging, by the work behind and in front of the camera, with performances like those of Merritt Patterson and Daniel Lissing so cold and detached as to seem fake and forced from start to finish.