Starring: Emma Roberts, Luke Bracey, Jake Manley, Jessica Capshaw, Andrew Bachelor, Frances Fisher, Manish Dayal, Kristin Chenoweth
OUR RATING: ★★★☆☆
Netflix’s romantic comedy directed by John Whitesell. The story follows Sloane and Jackson (Emma Roberts and Luke Bracey), who their enduring singledom leaves them subject to the judgment of their meddling family members or stuck with clingy, awkward dates on each festive occasion. When the two meet, they pledge to be each other’s platonic plus-ones for each holiday celebration over the course of the year, only to catch real feelings along the way.
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Sloane: House looks beautiful. Elaine: Well, your Aunt Susan brought at-the-mall-Santa home. And your nephew just pooped in the manger. Abby: It was a tiny poop, and he moved the baby Jesus first.
Abby: Rodney said you didn’t call him. Sloane: I’m sorry, but I cannot date a professional clown. I’d never sleep.
Elaine: Well, how does she expect to meet anybody when she sits around the house all day wearing pajamas? Sloane: It’s called working remote, mother. My boss doesn’t care what I wear as long, as I meet my quota. He does, however, request that my mother stop FaceTiming me during business hours.
Elaine: Well, I know the holidays can be stressful, but no man wants to marry a smoker, who lies. Sloane: Well, no man wants a b**chy mother-in-law. So I guess that’s three strikes.
Daisy: Aunt Sloane, why didn’t you call Rodney? Sloane: Why didn’t you call Rodney? Daisy: Because I already have a boyfriend. His name is Levi, and he shares his juice box with me every day at recess. Sloane: Well, good for you, Daisy. You enjoy it while you can, because one day you are going to walk outside, and you’re going to catch Levi sharing his juice box with a Starbucks barista named Rainbow. Yeah, it’s not a good day, Daisy. It hurts. It hardens you. And the next thing you know, you’re just south of thirty, sitting at the kids table, numbing the pain with a vodka.
[as they’re waiting in line to return their Christmas presents] Sloane: Crocodile Dundee, some of us have jobs. Jackson: Dundee. Original. Hang on. What makes you think I don’t have a job? Sloane: You’re at the mall, on a Wednesday, returning slacker pants. Jackson: These happen to be khakis. Lots of employed people wear khaki pants. Sloane: Hopefully, you mean khakis. And still don’t care.
Sloane: Hi, there. I just have a quick return. C&B Girl: Receipt? Sloane: They didn’t come with a receipt. Just the assumption that I would be alone forever, and, apparently, gorge myself into the size of a lumberjack. Jackson: Nailed it. Sloane: You know what? My Christmas already sucked. So you can go “nail it” somewhere else.
Jackson: Hey, if it’s any consolation, I spent my holiday in an ugly Christmas sweater, sipping mocktails with a room full of people who I think were in a cult. Sloane: I’ll see your ugly Christmas sweater, and raise you a seat at the kids table, my little brother getting engaged, and catching my aunt getting her cookie licked by a mall Santa. Jackson: That’s a festive visual. Sloane: Seared into my brain like a bad tattoo.
Jackson: [referring to pretzels] I don’t eat that crap. Do you know what that does to your body? Sloane: Yeah. It fills me with warm, delicious happiness. Like Christmas used to, before I realized Santa was a big scam. Jackson: Yeah. Christmas peaked for me at about ten. I got a surfboard and my first complete set of golf clubs. It was good. Sloane: My best Christmas was a Barbie Dream House, preassembled, and a ventriloquist puppet named Lester. He looked like Jaleel White.
Jackson: Wait. What’s a holidate? Sloane: [referring to Susan] Just some guy she picked up at the mall to spend Christmas with. Jackson: Wait, just Christmas, or all holidays? Sloane: Easter, New Year’s. She’s an equal opportunity holi-dater. Jackson: That’s what I need for New Year’s Eve. I need a holidate.
Jackson: Seriously, I am done casually dating on the holidays. There’s way too much pressure. It’s ridiculous. I always end up being the a**hole at the end of the day anyway. Sloane: Yeah? Well, try being the only single person left in your family. It’s like every time I walk into a room, I’m showered in a sea of pity and sad glances. I mean, why is everyone so suspicious of a happy, single woman? Jackson: Because you’re obviously not happy.
Jackson: Human beings aren’t meant to be alone on the holidays. We actually need warmth, companionship, and someone to drunk-mock strangers with at parties. Sloane: I do enjoy drunk-mocking strangers at parties. Jackson: Well, then, this is perfect! We can be each other’s holidate for New Year’s Eve.
Sloane: I don’t even know you, so. Jackson: Yeah, well, that’s what makes it perfect. Because there’s no pressure. There’s no expectations. I mean, I don’t even think I find you that attractive. Sloane: Wow! Calm down with the flattery. Jackson: Not that you’re not attractive. It’s just that maybe you’re not that attractive to me.
Jackson: Okay, wait a second. You just said that you’re tired of all the sad glances and looking pathetic. Sloane: I said, “Pity”, not “pathetic”. Jackson: Okay, tomato, tomato.
Jackson: I just want to go. I want to relax, have a few drinks. Not worry about my date going bats**t if I don’t drop a knee at midnight. Sloane: What makes you sure I’m not bats**t? Jackson: You had me at Lester.
Sloane: Mom, I’m working! Elaine: That’s what you wear to work? You could at least put on a nice top.
Elaine: She’s much prettier with makeup. Sloane: I’m wearing makeup!
Jackson: Know what the problem is with girls, mate? Neil: They got like these crazy eyes, right? Jackson: They’re real, and I don’t need a real girl. I need a holidate. Neil: You said a what-a-date? What’s “holidate”? Is that a new app that I need to download? I cannot keep up.
[at the New Year’s Eve party] Jackson: By the way, your tits look exceptional in that dress. Sloane: Thanks. That’s why I bought it. Jackson: Love the way it hugs your a** too. Sloane: That’s really sweet of you to notice.
Jackson: This is great. I love it. I just can say whatever I want, because I don’t care if you think I’m a classy guy or not. Sloane: And I can wear a slutty dress and not worry about being slut-shamed. Jackson: What a holidate bonus.
Sloane: There’s just no way in hell her character would ever do that. Jackson: Who cares? It was funny. Sloane: Uh-uh. It was cockamamie. Jackson: I’m sorry, no one uses that word anymore. Sloane: Well, it’s the only word I know that accurately describes every romantic comedy in history.
[describing romantic comedies] Sloane: There’s always some fake reason the stars can’t be together, when you know they’re going to be together from the poster. It’s like, “Oh, boo-hoo. I’m so heartbroken. Even though you’re perfect for me. I’m taking a break from dating.” I mean, no one is ever taking a break from dating! And let me tell you, if Ryan Gosling waltzed in here, picked me up, and floated me around to the theme of Dirty Dancing, I’m not going to be like, “Oh, hey, Ryan, buddy, bad timing. I’m taking a break from dating.” I am jumping on that train. The Ryan Gosling train. Jackson: I’d jump on the Ryan Gosling train.
[referring to Sloane’s ex-boyfriend] Jackson: So what happened? Sloane: Nothing much. We just wanted different things. I wanted someone to take home for the holidays, and he wanted to text photos of his c**k to the girl that made his double macchiato, so. Jackson: Ouch. Sloane: Well, it was my fault. He was too hot to be trustworthy. “Always date down.” That’s what my sister says. I didn’t listen.
[to Sloane as The Time of My Life starts playing at the club] Jackson: Nobody puts Baby in a corner.
[after Jackson drops her during the Dirty Dancing lift] Sloane: Nobody drops Baby on her head.
Liz: What do you mean, you don’t have a date for Valentine’s Day? Sloane: Don’t say it like I just told you I have cancer. Liz: But it’s Valentine’s Day. Sloane: No, it’s Thursday. And I’m going to take a long, hot bath, pop a bottle of pinot, treat myself to a few pounds of chocolate, and who knows, might even watch a little p**n. Liz: You can’t watch p**n on Valentine’s Day! Sloane: You should especially watch p**n on Valentine’s Day.
Sloane: Look, I’m perfectly happy being single. I get to do what I want, when I want, and I don’t have to deal with the stress of shaving, and plucking, and waxing. Abby: Best thing about marriage, no more waxing.
Liz: Okay. Well, what about the wedding? You can’t be alone at the wedding. Sloane: The wedding’s in eight months. Liz: And you’re already letting yourself go. Sloane: You know, everyone needs to mind their own business. Okay? My romantic status and personal hygiene are completely under control. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have an obscene amount of candy to buy.
[after Sloane runs into her ex, Luc and his new girlfriend] Luc: We were lovers for a few months. Felicity: Oh, lucky you. Isn’t he amazing in bed? He’s like the Terminator, only I’m the one who never stops coming.
Jackson: You know, the human body is capable of living to about a hundred and twenty years if you take care of it. Sloane: Who cares? It’s all downhill after forty. Who wants an extra eighty years of the worst part of your life?
Sloane: Why does the next girlfriend always have to be younger and hotter? Is it like some kind of unwritten law? Jackson: Well, you know, normally, the younger and hotter the girl, the less chance of commitment. So in a way, it’s actually a compliment.
Jackson: [referring to chocolate] No, I don’t eat that crap. I’m a professional athlete. Sloane: Seriously? Golf is like the least athletic sport on the planet. Jackson: I’ll have you know that golf requires more precise muscle control, and hand-eye coordination than football and basketball combined. Sloane: Maybe. But LeBron doesn’t need a tiny car to take him up and down the court.
Sloane: Do you want a cigarette? Jackson: You smoke? Sloane: No. Not really, just like sometimes. A little tobacco never killed anybody. Jackson: Mm, pretty sure it has.
Jackson: Look, I get it, okay? It sucks running into your boyfriend on Valentine’s Day, in a candy store, wearing pajamas. Sloane: Ex-boyfriend, and these are not pajamas. They’re lounge pants.
Jackson: Why didn’t you just call me? Sloane: I don’t know. I guess I was just embarrassed to admit that nothing had changed since New Year’s. Jackson: Yeah, but isn’t that the point of this holidate thing, is that we get to avoid this stupid pressure and all the judgment?
Sloane: At least the biggies are behind us. I mean, Christmas, New Year’s, Valentine’s Day. Jackson: Yeah, but I’m telling you, the small ones are just as risky. I once spent an Earth Day chained to a tree with a chick from Greenpeace. It was the longest ten days of my life.
Jackson: Holidates until further notice? Sloane: What about sex? Jackson: Will Lester be joining us? Sloane: No, I’m serious. Friends with benefits never works. Jackson: Yeah, but that’s only because you girls get clingy and always want more. Sloane: Us? Jackson: Well, yeah. It’s not your fault. Women are hardwired to attach and procreate. Sloane: Okay, and men are just hardwired to panic and flee. Jackson: Okay, fine. So, we agree. Non-sexual holidates from now on.
Sloane: In honor of Easter, Jackson will enjoy his first taste of blue dye number seven. Jackson: No! You know, they’ve done experiments on those, and they don’t decompose, even after like ten years in the sun. Sloane: Really? Jackson: Yeah. Sloane: So it’s like anti-aging.
Elaine: I want you to find someone who has real potential. Not this holidate crap like your aunt. Sloane: She seems like she’s having fun. Elaine: She’s going to die alone in a wheelchair and a diaper. Is that what you want? Sloane: Do I get a male nurse?
Sloane: So, Daisy, how are things with Levi, the juice box king? Daisy: We broke up. Sloane: Oh, I’m sorry to hear that. Daisy: It’s okay. He wasn’t ready for a real relationship. I need someone who’s going to put me first.
Sloane: Women process heartbreak differently. We need time. You just dump us and move on. Jackson: Hey, women can be just as brutal. Trust me. I know plenty of blokes who’ve had their hearts crushed by some chick who pretended to care about him. Pretended she liked his friends, and was into his hobbies, like cricket, and backgammon. And even went so far as to put just all this girlie stuff in his bathroom, and hide bobby pins in the strangest places. You know, maybe they even started exploring couple of certain sexual doors that they’ve never explored before. And then one day, without warning, the bathroom’s cleared out, and she’s changed her phone number, and she snuck out of my place with a panini maker. A f***ing panini maker. Sloane: Well, panini makers are expensive. Jackson: Oh, I know. I paid for it.
Sloane: What happened to holidate rule number one, which was, “No judgments?” Jackson: Yes, you’re right. I’m sorry. Your lack of a sex life is none of my business. I just feel bad for you, that’s all. Sloane: Oh, you feel bad for me? I see what you’re trying to do here. Jackson: What am I trying to do? Sloane: You’re trying to get in my head and freak me out so we end up having sex. Jackson: I don’t want to have sex with you. Sloane: Oh, right. How could I forget? You don’t find me attractive.
[after waking up together and thinking they had sex] Sloane: No. We didn’t. Jackson: You’re wearing my underwear. Sloane: Well, that doesn’t mean anything. I probably got cold in the night, after my panties fell off.
Sloane: Can’t you tell? Jackson: I mean, he looks a little tired, but I don’t think he’s really satisfied. Sloane: I’m telling you. We didn’t do it. One of us would for sure be able to tell. Jackson: Sweet. Let’s go with that.
Elaine: And I don’t understand why you’re wasting my daughter’s time with this meaningless stuff. Jackson: It’s not meaningless. We’re friends. Elaine: She doesn’t need another friend. She needs a husband. A partner. Someone who is legally bound to be there during the chemo. Sloane: What chemo? Elaine: Oh, honey. Don’t kid yourself. You have bad genes. And bald women don’t really get a lot of dates.
Jackson: You have nothing to worry about. Okay? Sloane is a great girl. Even bald. Elaine: Then why aren’t you sleeping with her? Sloane: Mom! Jesus! Elaine: I’m just saying that it’s not going to kill you to try. It’s like escargot. It may sound unappealing. It may look unappealing. But once you put it in your mouth, it’ll knock your socks off. So maybe this holidate thing will turn into something. Sloane: Did you just compare sex with me to eating slugs? Jackson: Well, she has a point.
Sloane: What is it about men and explosives? Aunt Susan: All about the c**k. Liz: What do fireworks have to do with a man’s anatomy? Aunt Susan: It’s like j**king off. Men live for the orgasm. If they’re not f***ing, they’re dreaming about f***ing, or blowing stuff up. Next best thing to f***ing. Liz: So they’re all down there right now thinking about… Sloane: F***ing.
[after Jackson has blown his finger off at the Fourth of July party] Jackson: It’s my f***-you finger! I can’t lose my f***-you finger. York: Sloane, good luck. His f***-you finger is in your hands. Sloane: Don’t say that!
Jackson: Jesus Christ! My finger is in a f***ing Ziploc bag! Sloane: I know, and it’s really freaking me out. Can you put it in the glove box or something? Jackson: Well, we wouldn’t want you to be freaked out now, would we?
Jackson: I don’t do drugs. Sloane: And you call yourself a professional athlete?
Nurse: The doctor will be with you shortly. He’s reattaching a toe. Jackson: Toe? Hold on a second. A finger must take priority over a toe. Nurse: Sorry. If only you’d been a jackass a little earlier in the day. Sloane: Wow. You’ve really got her wrapped around your finger. [they both laugh]
Jackson: I’m really sorry that I ruined your Fourth of July. Sloane: Holidate rule number three, “Leave no holidate behind.” Or their appendages. [their hands touch]
Jackson: [referring to Sloane] Our hands touched. Neil: Holy s**t. Did you use protection?
Abby: I’m confused. You like him. He likes you. These are not real problems. Sloane: Yes, they are. I can’t just “like him” like him until I know for sure that he “likes me” likes me.
[referring to Sloane and Faarooq] Jackson: It’s really weird, because Sloane gets queasy at the sight of blood, and now she’s with a doctor. Aunt Susan: He sure scrubs up nice. Jackson: You think he’s handsome? Aunt Susan: Oh. Face, eight. Hands, ten. For a woman, it’s all about the hands.
Sloane: [referring to Susan] Are you going to sleep with her? Jackson: I don’t know. I thought we might get through desserts first.
Jackson: Are you going to sleep with the doc? Sloane: Hmm. The man saved your finger. It’s the least I could do. Jackson: He botched the job. I still can’t flip a full bird.
Sloane: When did Halloween go from dressing up like a princess to dressing up like a w**re? Abby: I don’t know, sixth grade? Daisy: What’s a w**re? Abby: Somebody who gets paid to play with boys. Violet: I want to be a w**re. Daisy: Me too!
Jackson: You look ridiculous. And you’re scaring people, and not in a good way. Neil: You judging me, Jack Sparrow? I’m the Black Panther. Wakanda forever! Jackson: You look nothing like the Black Panther. Neil: That’s because I’m unique. Okay? This is my own interpretation. And stop hating. I want to wear this suite. It’s my perr-ogative. And plus, I don’t have to wear any underwear.
Sloane: No, I really don’t feel well. I’ve had about fifty mini-size candy bars. I’ve had a bucket of candy corn, and my ex-boyfriend has impregnated a teenage girl.
[referring to Luc and Felicity expecting a baby] Sloane: February, March, April, May, June, July, August, September, October. They did it on Valentine’s Day. Jackson: Everyone did it on Valentine’s Day. Sloane: I didn’t do it on Valentine’s Day! Jackson: Neither did I!
[as Sloane is trying to get out of her Halloween costume] Jackson: You’re locked up like Houdini in this! Sloane: This is your fault! Oh, Jesus! Oh, Jesus! Please don’t let this happen to me. F***! Don’t let me be the girl who s**ts her pants.
Jackson: Peppermint tea. Helps with the nausea. Sloane: I have peppermint tea? Jackson: Uh, sort of. I mean, it’s just crushed Altoids in boiling water.
Sloane: So I guess I’ll be an anecdote you tell at parties now? The girl who… Jackson: The girl who s**t her pants on Halloween? Sloane: Oh, God. Jackson: You know, technically, we’ve all been s**tting our pants since we were born. Don’t worry, okay? I’m not going to tell anyone. I promise.
Sloane: [as Jackson leans in to kiss her] I hate, in movies, when people kiss in the morning. I think it’s gross. [they start kissing]
Abby: I kissed the Black Panther. Sloane: What? Abby: The Black Panther! I kissed him! We were standing in line, you know, waiting for the bathroom, and then it just of sort of it suddenly happened. We kissed. Sloane: Ew! With tongue?
Jackson: [after having sex with Sloane] She practically shoved me out the door. Neil: You’re saying, she didn’t even want to snuggle? Cuddle? Jackson: No. Neil: Go to brunch? Jackson: I didn’t get a cup of coffee. Neil: Damn, man. That hurts.
Jackson: [referring to Abby] You made a connection with a married mother of four? Neil: Oh, it sounded bad when you said it like that.
Sloane: You didn’t invite Faarooq? Aunt Susan: Oh, that? Oh, no. You know me. One holidate per customer. Sloane: But you guys seemed so happy together. Aunt Susan: Short and sweet, honey. Everything ends eventually. So why sit around waiting for it to happen?
Sloane: You’re not even that attracted to me, right? Jackson: Why can’t you let that go? Sloane: Because when a guy basically opens with the fact he doesn’t find a girl attractive, it kind of sets the tone for the rest of the relationship.
Jackson: [to Sloane] I was some random bloke at the mall. I mean, honestly, what do you think would have happened if I’d said, “Hey, I think you’re incredibly beautiful! With these lips that beg to be kissed. These eyes that are…” Honestly, I don’t know what they are. They just make me forget my name. There’s just no way you would’ve gone out with me. Especially, not on New Year’s Eve.
Sloane: Nothing has changed. In fact, you can relax and continue to bang all the cocktail waitresses you want between holidays. No one is expecting you to drop a knee at Thanksgiving. Jackson: Thanks for the update. At least I’m not the a**hole this time.
Jackson: You’re trying so hard not to feel anything. That means you’re lying to both of us. And that makes you an a**hole. Sloane: Well, I’d rather be an a**hole than so desperate for companionship that I have to troll the mall for a holidate. Jackson: No. You were just desperate enough to take me up on the offer.
Sloane: I see another ugly Christmas sweater in your future! Jackson: Maybe there is. But at least I won’t be alone, sitting at the kids table, blaming everyone else for my problems. And you know what? I bet you money, that if Ryan Gosling waltzed down this frozen food aisle, and offered to take you on the ride of your life, you would still say no. Because you’d be too afraid to get on that train. The Ryan Gosling train. Sloane: You are so wrong! Ryan Gosling would never do his own shopping! He’s way too cool for that.
[after Sloane blurts out Abby and Neil kissed] Peter: Wait, what? You kissed the Black Panther? Abby: Barely. It was an accident. York: I didn’t see any tongue.
Aunt Susan: It’s all my fault, you know. I’ve had so many opportunities. I’ve had so many men that loved me. Once they got too close, I backed off. So, here I am at age forty-nine. It’s too late now.
Aunt Susan: I f***ed up! You’re the most amazing man I’ve ever met. Faarooq: So you broke up with me. Aunt Susan: I got scared. It’s what I do. Losing you was the dumbest mistake of my life. Please tell me we can have another chance? Faarooq: I can’t imagine being happy without you. Susan, I love you.
Abby: [referring to Jackson] So you’re stalking him but not actually speaking to him? Sloane: Well, I wouldn’t call showing up outside his door and hiding stalking, but okay.
[after Sloane and Jackson see each other at the mall] Daisy: Aunt Sloane. Life is giving you a moment. Don’t f*** it up.
[after taking the mic at the mall to get Jackson’s attention] Sloane: [to Jackson] Look, what I’m trying to say is, I’ve had more fun with you in the last year than I’ve had with my loser ex-boyfriends combined. You were right. I do have feelings for you. And I f***… messed it up because I was scared.
Sloane: [to Jackson] Letting you go has been one of the biggest mistakes of my life. I miss you so much. I miss you so much that I totally quit smoking. And candy is only mildly comforting. You’ve ruined all my vices for me.
Sloane: [to Jackson] I thought I wanted a holidate, but the truth is, I just want you. For all holidays. And weekends. And weekdays too would be nice. I know I’m probably too late, but honestly, you’re the only one I’d want to go through chemo with.
Jackson: That speech was cockamamie. [they kiss and the mall crowd cheers] Jackson: How about New Year’s Eve? Sloane: Yes!
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