Holiday in Handcuffs (2007)

dir. Ron Underwood

Trudie (Melissa Joan Hart) has a family who always pressurises her to be in a relationship. How understandable! But this year, she has the perfect boyfriend she can bring home for Christmas. How delightful! Unfortunately, he breaks up with her right as they’re about to go and meet her family. How sympathetic! So she grabs an antique gun, holds it up at a total stranger she’s just met (Mario Lopez), puts him in handcuffs and forces him to come home with her and masquerade as her boyfriend. How… relatable? The disarming (excuse the pun) thing about Holiday in Handcuffs is it genuinely doesn’t seem to realise just how psychotic it is. It’s all fluffy, and cutesie, and happy, from beginning to end. The colossal crime committed by the protagonist is written off as an expected quirk of a desperate single woman. The kidnapping victim inevitably finds himself falling for Trudie’s charms, but the movie doesn’t stop to consider that this is less a romantic meet-cute and more a manifestation of Stockholm Syndrome. Possibly the scariest Christmas movie out there.

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