When a town's drive-in movie theatre is about to be sold, a law professor fights to show how much this historic treasure means to the community. The Great American Family's Christmas at the Drive-In stars Danica McKellar and Neal Bledsoe. Here's a full review of the movie, its story, and the cast.
Christmas at the Drive In Synopsis
Sadie (Danica McKellar) is a property lawyer and professor who fights to keep a town's historic drive-in movie theatre from being torn down. She was the lawyer who had the drive-in declared a historic site, so she wants to honor the previous owners wishes by making sure that the town always has it. But the former owner's son Holden (Neal Bledsoe) is the new owner and he sold the property to a large corporation that is going to tear-down the drive-in and build a distribution plant.
When Sadie goes before the town's historic committee to plead her case, they give her three weeks to prove to them how valuable the property is. They ask Holden, in a sign of good faith, to help Sadie as she re-opens the movie theatre for this three week period.
Sadie works really hard to promote the re-opening, but it's hard to get people to come out in winter to watch a movie at a drive-in. That's when she gets creative and adds tons of Christmas events, themes, and foods to the venue. In Christmas at the Drive In, Sadie relies on the nostalgia of the drive-in and the magic of Christmas to win-over the committee. Along the way, she wins over Holden and he decides that he no longer wishes to sell the drive-in. The problem? The mayor wants the deal to go through as is and works behind the scenes to make it happen.
My Christmas at the Drive In Review
The Verdict: A slow burner. Christmas at the Drive In is one that I was really looking forward to. I haven't been impressed by many of the movies that Great American Family (GFAM) has put together, so I was excited to see Danica McKellar in this movie. She was one of my favorites at Hallmark, so when she made the jump to GFAM I followed her there.
This movie isn't perfect and frankly there are a lot of other movies this year that are much better. But, it slowly gets better as the movie goes along and by the end I enjoyed it. I just wish it didn't take so long to get to the heart and emotion of the movie. I think part of it is the relationship between Holden and Sadie. As exes, they have a history together and they both feel hurt by how the other ended the relationship 20 years ago.
So the first half of the movie has a different tone than the second half, and I much preferred the second half when Sadie and Holden were working together to make the drive-in magical. I loved seeing the ideas that they came up with for decorating the drive-in, the Christmas food and snacks they created, and how they brought the whole town together. But, I did have a hard time connecting to the emotion of the movie. The most emotional part of the movie was at the end when they both admit why the drive-in means so much to them.
Recap of Christmas at the Drive In
Christmas at the Drive In is a mixed-bag. I enjoyed seeing Danica McKellar, and her presence alone saved the movie for me. Neal Bledsoe was OK overall. I didn't like him at first, but as his character softened I enjoyed his performance more. I think the movie also took a long time to get to the heart and emotion of it all, so for those reasons it was mediocre.
But one thing I'm really happy with is the production quality of this movie. I've criticized Great American Family a lot for having poorly made movies, but Christmas at the Drive In is definitely not one of those. It is beautiful and has the music and charm you expect from a Christmas movie.