REVIEW: The Hallmark Sequel "Haul Out the Holly: Lit Up" Is as Silly as the First One

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Emily and Jared are looking forward to celebrating the holidays together as a couple, and they prepare to work with their neighbors on Evergreen Lane to make this year's Christmas celebrations the best yet.  When a house on the block goes up for sale, the soon-to-be-neighbors are holiday royalty, but they are so competitive that they nearly ruin Christmas for everyone. Starring:   Lacey Chabert, Wes Brown, Stephen Tobolowsky, Ellen Travolta, Melissa Peterman, Seth Morris, and Jennifer Aspen Image:  Hallmark Media Haul Out the Holly:  Lit Up Has a Moral When the residents of Evergreen Lane learn that their new neighbors are the Jolly Johnsons--famous holiday reality stars--they are thrilled to welcome them to the block.  Everyone assumes the Johnsons will fit right in since they share their same affinity for elf culture. Emily, Jared, and the rest of the holiday crew quickly realize that the Johnsons aren't interested in joining in on the fun--they plan to take over. Image:  Tw

REVIEW: Why Hallmark's "Never Been Chris'd" Is Such a Flop

Home for the holidays, BFFs Naomi and Liz reconnect with high school crush, Chris Silver.  A complex love triangle forms, forcing them to take stock of their lives and find the value of friendship.

Starring:  Janel Parrish, Pascal Lamothe-Kipnes, and Tyler Hynes

Never Been Chris'd
Image:  Hallmark Media

What Is Never Been Chris'd About?

Chris Silver (Hynes) was the most popular guy in high school.  Like most girls, Liz (Lamothe-Kipnes) and Naomi (Parrish) both had crushes on him, but he never seemed to notice them.

Whenever a lucky lady became Chris' girlfriend, she instantly catapulted into popularity.  Liz and Naomi dubbed this phenomenon being "Chris'd."

The tables have turned.  Thanks to the innovative "Best Pals" app that Liz and Naomi have created, they are now local celebrities. The two are acknowledged by former classmates when they come home for Christmas and finally experience being the "cool kids." 

Chris is a former marine and an English teacher at their old high school.  Always flanked by friends, Chris includes Liz and Naomi in group plans, but he also finds alone time to spend with them.  Both women pretend not to still have a "thing" for him, but it's apparent that they do.  Only one of them, however, captures his heart.


Both women face family struggles while they are home.  Liz is always at odds with her Jewish mother who is remarried with another daughter.  Liz feels left out, and she can't be around her mom without an argument erupting.  Naomi's mom oversteps boundaries constantly, and Naomi must find the courage to set limits.

Despite their long friendship, even Liz and Naomi have a falling out.  The two have done everything together for years but find themselves at a stage of life where they may have to part ways to develop individually.  Can their friendship survive the growing pains?

Never Been Chris'd
Image:  Hallmark Media

If you like Liz's and Naomi's ugly sweater, you can buy one just like it on Amazon!

Good Acting, Bad Script

Most of us would agree that a bad Tyler Hynes movie has not existed...until now.

While Hynes and his co-stars deliver solid performances, it's like putting lipstick on a pig.  The story is just plain BAD, and no amount of good acting could save it.

The biggest problem with the movie is that 35-year-old adults act like immature prepubescents for the largest part of story.  Liz and Naomi react to their mothers like rebellious teenagers; former classmates hang out together a lot, as if they still have no adult responsibilities; the former Jingle Ball queen wants to wear her old tiara again to relive a moment from her past (even though she changes her mind at the last second); Liz and Naomi duck under a clothing rack in a store when they see Chris nearby, and both of them act like teen girls with a crush; Liz whacks a tray of candy all over a restaurant while making a gingerbread house, plus she seizes the chance to organize the Jingle Ball; and Naomi acts bratty and ungrateful about the dress Liz buys her for the ball.


Chris seems to be the most mature one in the group, even though he has insecurities of his own to wrangle with.

The movie is about having a "re-do."  Two unpopular kids want a chance to do the things they never got to do in high school, and the popular kids want to recapture their favorite moments from their teen years.  It's ridiculous.  Who acts like this in real life?

Naomi is 35-years-old, and she still has no direction for her life.  She's ridden Liz's coattails for years, and now that Best Pal is going to be sold, she has no idea what to do next.  It's a little late to just now be figuring this out.

Even worse is the parental disrespect the girls show their mothers, especially Naomi.  Linda wants to sell her house and move to live near Naomi, but Naomi doesn't want her mom that close.  This is terrible!  Linda oversteps what should be an obvious boundary--she should have never asked to live with Naomi--but since she's alone and will one day need Naomi to take care of her, it makes sense that she would want to relocate to be near her only child.  Naomi claims to want to help her mom when she actually needs her help, but to basically tell your parent to stay the heck away from you is disrespectful and just plain wrong.  It's acceptable to set boundaries--some parents need them more than others--but to turn away your own parent is not honorable and shows bad character.

By age 35, you should have long arrived at the conclusion that everyone in high school who was considered a "cool kid" ended up being incredibly average in retrospect.  It many cases, the unpopular nerds were the ones who achieved the most success.  

Never Been Chris'd
Image:  Hallmark Media

High school is a very small pond, and once you launch into the real world, it's liberating.  Maturity brings the knowledge that being "cool" is relatively meaningless.  Good charac
ter is far more valuable.

Never Been Chris'd is an insult to viewer dignity.  Most of us, by age 35, have ceased acting like teenagers and are wearing grown-up pants.  It's a little embarrassing to see how the script requires the Hynes and his co-stars to behave.

The movie was written by Joie Botkin, who is known for many Hallmark hits, including Her Pen Pal, Project Christmas Wish, Christmas at the Palace, Love's Greek to Me, Our Italian Christmas Memories, and so many more.  Botkin has a great track record, but Never Been Chris'd is an epic fail.  

The Best Part of Never Been Chris'd

No, the best part of the movie isn't when it was over--that is a close second.

The most captivating part of the movie are the old high school pics of the stars that are included in the story.  How adorbs is this picture of young Tyler?

Tyler Hynes high school picture

Hynes fans eagerly anticipate his new films each Christmas.  After being charmed by 2022's Three Wise Men and a Baby, this year's flop is a huge disappointment, but fans aren't blaming Hynes or his fellow cast members.  Never Been Chris'd is just a bad story that should have been a hard pass for the network.

Comments

  1. With me, if the press release and the trailer both look bad, it's usually a foregone conclusion that the movie itself will be bad as well. And I was definitely right with this one. Hallmark should really be embarrassed for even greenlighting this movie to begin with.

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  2. I totally agree. I was so disappointed in this movie. I am a Tyler fan and could not believe he was involved in such a clinker. I tried to get into the movie but I lost interest pretty quickly, but watched it, more or less till the end. It is not on my DVR and d never will be.

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  3. This movie was definitely not on my list of favorites. The two actresses were made to appear adolescent and disrespectful in their behavior and certainly not talented enough and too young to play opposite Tyler. It was a colossal waste of Tyler Hynes’ talent.

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    Replies
    1. The two female characters were terrible . Tyler Haynes did a good job, but the young lady’s were way out of his league. I think the blonde did a better job. Overall terrible story line

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  4. Absolutely agree. Watched to the end just in case it improved but will avoid a repeat viewing.

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  5. I watched again to make sure. Lol. It was awful.

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  6. Have read comments on Facebook that hallmark step up their game are they serious. This movie is one the list of bad movies for them this year. Joyeux Noel, Santa Summit are on there two. What I do not get the number of social media comments on how bad those movies are which are HUGE how did it get the ratings that they posted.

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  7. Thank you for this honest review. There should be a list with the worst Hallmark Christmas movies. This would definately be on it along with a Coyote Creek Christmas and any others that have obnoxius children wearing wigs. What's with all the men wearing hairpieces? They are young and handsome, why not their natural hair?

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  8. Probably the worst Hallmark movie I've seen yet. Awful story line, shaky acting by the two females and a total waste of Tyler Hynes' time.

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  9. The absolutely the worst Hallmark Movie! Terrible!

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  10. This has to be the worst movie hallmark has aired this year. The writer should be very ashamed of this movie.

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  11. There so many great new Hallmark Christmas movies this year, but this was not one of them.

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  12. I am a huge Tyler Hines fan. Was so disappointed they cast him in such a terrible movie. He is so above this. Hallmark wake up. Cast him in good scripts.

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  13. My least favorite Hallmark Christmas movie. Reminded me of one of those freaky friday movies.

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  14. It had a very few moments I liked, but it overall disappointed and made me happy I had never been Chris’d! I was homebound after surgery during November and I caught sooo many HM movies! You can tell the new movies Hallmark has no confidence in as those aired in early November. Someone said they did not like Santa Summit either, but I disagree. While not a top movie I did like seeing a movie that highlighted friendships as well as romance and was just plain fun. In my 20s that Santa pub crawl would have been on my to do list!

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  15. I wholeheartedly agree with this. In my own review I discussed how the girls act insane at the beginning of the movie and then once you see the people from high school you also realize that these girls really isolated themselves. It’s not that they were rejected by the cool kids, they Separated themselves and truly this is a movie about two girls who are super codependent. As much as we have one riding on the others cocktails we just have two people who are afraid to really communicate with each other. And I absolutely couldn’t understand why both of these girls were so horrible to their moms. I mean you can complain about your mom not paying attention to you but you’re literally staying at someone else’s house and ignoring your family. TYLER was the best part and he was trying so hard to make this work.

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  16. I agree completely. I can usually find the good in pretty much any movie/show, and it is rare that I dislike something. I watched this one with my mom, and told her not even half way through that it was probably the worse Hallmark Movie I have seen. Did. Ot like the storyline AT ALL.

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  17. I am a HUGE Tyler Hynes fan and I watched it again to try to give it another chance. Still a huge Tyler fan and all the acting was good just a terrible script. Can’t wait for the next Tyler Hynes movie!

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  18. The name of the movie is bad downhill from there!

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  19. The actors seemed to know it was bad, especially Tyler! Best part we’re his kisses!

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  20. To me, the worst part is that he ended up with the wrong girl...the one he had no chemistry with.

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  21. Another problem, seems like Hallmark is trying to phase out the good talent ((older actresses) and put in these new young ones who have no experience as we can tell by the acting. They look too young for these actors.

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  22. Absolutely the worst movie this year

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