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

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

Haul Out the Holly:  Lit Up movie poster Hallmark
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:  Twitter (X)

When the Johnsons upstage Jared at the tree lighting ceremony, it's only the beginning of their naughty, South Pole elf behavior.  They completely upend all the traditions of Evergreen Lane, and whenever a resident calls them on it, the Johnsons have an uncanny way of luring them to their side.

All the traditional holiday merriment of Evergreen Lane is replaced with events that inspire a high-level of competition that dampens the Christmas spirit.  

When Emily decides enough is enough, she withdraws from the head-to-head competition against Jane, demonstrating that she is the better person.  Jane's "victory" rings hollow, and the Johnsons ultimately tone down their competitive approach to the holidays.  Instead of "beating" their neighbors, the Johnsons join them.  Emily succeeds in making peace with the Johnsons rather than running them out of the neighborhood like her dad had suggested.

Haul Out the Holly:  Lit Up
Image:  Hallmark Media

The moral of the story is to not lose sight of the true meaning of Christmas.  If you find yourself caught up in a whirlwind at the holidays that robs you of your joy, find a way to give yourself a jolly reset!

Sometimes the Humor Lands, Mostly It Doesn't

Lacey Chabert touts the sequel as "even more fun than the first one," but that is debatable.  On social media, fan sentiments differ.  Some love the first one better, some love the second one better, and many dislike both of them equally.  It really depends on your own sense of humor and what you consider "funny."

Ironically, the fatal flaw of the movie is how obvious the scripted dialogue tries to force laughs from viewers.  It's as if the writer, Chris Sey, has no sense of humor at all but tries to write as if he does.  If you're a fan of the The Big Bang Theory, think of the episode where Sheldon reads a book about telling jokes.  Even when he follows the book exactly, he's still not funny. 

To be fair, there are a few good lines that earn smiles, if not outright laughter.  To encourage Emily in her showdown with Jane, one neighbor says, "You've got this like the cruise director on the Titanic."

We learn that a hat without a pom-pom hides one's inner Grinch.

Pamela, played by Melissa Peterman, is by far the best comedian among the bunch.  Her delivery is flawless, and she's the most entertaining character to watch.  Her ongoing battle with Ned is amusing.

Haul Out the Holly:  Lit Up
Image:  Hallmark Media

While Haul Out the Holly:  Lit Up was undoubtedly fun for the Hallmark stars to film, it's a silly premise that just isn't funny--at all.

Haul Out the Holly:  Lit Up Is a Bit Obnoxious

Fans love sequels because they want to know what happens next with their favorite characters. 

This season, Emily is on board with the all the Christmas cheer enforced by the crazy HOA.  The best part of her story is the romantic proposal from Jared.

Fans are also thrilled to see another cameo from Eric Mabius, who plays Pamela's husband.  Everyone hoped he'd make an appearance again, and Hallmark did not disappoint. 

Still, there's more than a sleigh-full of obnoxiousness to ruin the light mood, the worst being the ambush snowball fight.  Firing Ned from being one of Santa's helpers, calling on Silver and Gold leaders to strategize the Johnson's takedown, the gnome figures blaring music around the neighborhood, the attitude of the Johnsons, and the intense emphasis on holiday decor are just a few reasons this movie stink, stank, stunk. 

How can the people living on Evergreen Lane afford such mammoth homes when they are never working?  Their days are filled with making the yuletide gay, not the responsibilities of a career.

The movie is based on characters created by Andy Sandberg, and the roles are well-cast, with the exception of Ellen Travolta who plays Mary Louise.  It's obvious that her name landed her the part because she can't act.  

Haul Out the Holly:  Lit Up Rating

Haul Out the Holly:  Lit Up is a failed attempt at a rom-com that is heavy on the "com."  Even Agent Sugarplum (Chabert) can't save it, though she executive produces it. The humor is forced and unnatural, and the plot itself is ridiculous.  

Let's hope this will be Hallmark's last visit to Evergreen Lane and its obscene amount of "roof crud."

This movie earns 2/5 Christmas trees.

Haul Out the Holly:  Lit Up
Image:  Hallmark Media


  1. Agree. First one was fun. Sequel, not so much.


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