A single parent learning to open up their heart to love again is a common holiday movie trope that you will see once more in Lifetime’s Mom’s Christmas Boyfriend. But wait, there’s a twist: the child is actively pimping out the parent! Indeed, this movie revolves around an elementary school-aged girl (Ai Barrett) dedicating her holiday season to giving herself the gift of a dad, even if it means potentially embarrassing her mom (Jeananne Goossen) on national TV. Hey, all is fair in love and winter shenanigans (that’s the saying, right?).
MOM’S CHRISTMAS BOYFRIEND: STREAM IT OR SKIP IT?
The Gist: Chicago-based architect Emma Morgan (Jeananne Goossen) and is a thoughtful single mom who puts everyone else first, especially her 10-year-old adopted daughter Lily (Ai Barrett). As they plan a seating chart for this year’s Christmas Eve dinner, Lily notices that every adult present will have a date except for her mom. So, when the two go downtown to Worth Department Store shortly thereafter, Lily enters the store’s “Christmas Wish Contest” by asking for her mom to find a boyfriend. It turns out that the contest was concocted by employees Zach Mitchell (Zach Smadu) and Brady Fleming (Chris Wilson) as a way to drum up business and notoriety for their store. As a result, the two men end up picking Lily’s wish, committing to helping find “a boyfriend for Christmas” while turning the process into a documented, interactive experience to make it a promotional opportunity for Worth.
When a TV crew comes to Emma’s home to record an interview with her and Lily, she finally finds out, live on national TV, the contents of her daughter’s wish. Though she is embarrassed by the attention, Emma decides to follow through for Lily, as well as the $100,000 prize money that will be donated to the charity of her choosing. Lily ends up picking her mom’s holiday date, a put-together New York City businessman named Clark Winters (Anthony Bewlz). But is the perfect on paper Clark a bit too good to be true? And as Zach becomes more involved in the process, and as a result, in Emma and Lily’s lives, will his growing connection to the Morgan girls throw a wrench in the search for mom’s Christmas boyfriend?
What Movies Will It Remind You Of?: It’s reminiscent of fellow Lifetime holiday movie, 2015 romance A Gift Wrapped Christmas, which also has a single parent unexpectedly falling for someone they’re temporarily working with over the holidays, while the child also ends up bonding with the surprise suitor.
Performance Worth Watching: Probably Ai Barrett as that rascal, Lily Morgan. Even if her character was a bit too meddlesome in her mom’s love life, it did mean that she was the driving force of the movie’s action, and Barrett was up for the task! She definitely gave her character the most life and personality out of anyone in the movie, so kudos to her, and here’s to a long and successful career for this young lady.
Memorable Dialogue: Poor Emma is being surprised and low-key disrespected live on TV:
“Isn’t that the sweetest. Emma, how do you feel about all of this?”
“I-I’m speechless. I have a very fulfilling life, I-“
“That’s nice. So Lily, what would you like to tell any prospective boyfriends about your mom?”
Honorable mention for Clark snapping his fingers at a waiter before saying, “Garçon! Some more wine over here, please.” I audibly gasped at his rudeness. The audacity!
A Holiday Tradition: Emma and Lily annually celebrate “Christmas Fest,” which includes having people over for a Christmas Eve dinner, decorating for the holidays, making gingerbread houses, and this year, volunteering for a local charity called One Voice.
Does the Title Make Any Sense?: A girl is trying to find her mom a boyfriend for Christmas, so yep, it makes sense.
Our Take: I know that the precocious child is often a popular in holiday movies, but Mom’s Christmas Boyfriend takes that character trope a little too far with Lily, who is so pushy about finding her mom some romance and herself a bigger family that she ends up embarrassing her mom on national TV. Poor Emma was totally blindsided with the reveal of Lily’s wish, and I know the girl wants to see her mom happy, but also, she’s 10 and old enough to know some boundaries!
For the most part, the movie is just okay. But the romantic aspect of everything is what’s really lacking in the end and ultimately negatively effects the movie as a whole. Clark is so self-involved, douchey, and smarmy that of course Zach seems like an excellent alternative in comparison. However, if you look a little closer, you’ll see that Emma and Zach don’t have the best chemistry or base for a healthy relationship, themselves.
In fact, it all feels a bit like Zach is taking advantage of Emma’s situation, utilizing this project as an excuse to insert himself into her life and even crash some of her dates with Clark. Also the fact that this whole finding a Christmas boyfriend project was really just a ploy Zach spearheaded to do better in his company and promote the department store just left a bad taste in my mouth. Emma is a kind person and I’d hate to think he’s taking advantage of her. You can do better, girl!
The other kind of weird thing about this movie is that in the beginning of the movie, this fictional Chicago charity called One Voice is mentioned a few times and even ends up being one of the main reasons why Emma decides to follow through with this televised boyfriend search. But we never end up hearing much about the charity after that or even really learning much about it and its impact in the first place, making it feel like a mere prop name-dropped to make Emma sound more angelic and giving. Like okay, we get it! They really wanted us to know that she’s practically perfect, yet somehow still single all these years, and the end result is a character who just doesn’t feel very real or engaging. She’s an indisputably nice lady, though, so I guess all I can say is that I wish her luck, especially with that handful of a kiddo, Lily.
Our Call: SKIP IT. When the real winner of Mom’s Christmas Boyfriend is a fictional department store, does anyone really win?