Fit for Christmas is here to pump up your holiday spirit. And as the only major broadcast network with a real slate of original holiday movies, CBS is once again out to prove that holiday romcoms aren’t just the domain of cable and streaming. But is Fit for Christmas a lean, mean merry-making machine? Or is it the holiday movie equivalent of, like, a medicine ball and an old timey barbell?
FIT FOR CHRISTMAS: STREAM IT OR SKIP IT?
The Gist: Amanda Kloots plays Audrey, a fitness trainer who’s back home in the tiny, snowy town of Mistletoe after failing to make it in New York City. Her gym closed and her boyfriend wanted to take a break from their relationship — but at least she’s back home and holding some last minute classes at her beloved rec center. But because she’s the lead in a holiday movie, nothing is sacred — not even the rec center! Turns out, the rec center is closing and a big city developer is ready to swoop in and turn the entire area into a swanky resort, one that threatens to put all the local businesses out of business. In town to help secure the votes needed so they can proceed with renovations is a hotshot businessman named Griffin (Paul Greene), and you better believe that Griffin ain’t a fan of Christmas. Griffin? Grinch? Hmmmm….
How will Audrey possibly raise the $80,000 needed to keep the rec center alive? And how will Audrey secure the votes she needs to keep Mr. Grinch from backing his wrecking ball up to her home away from home? And what will Griffin and Audrey do if they keep literally bumping into each other all over town? Everyone knows that if you bump into someone in one of these movies, you are destined to kiss roughly 80 minutes later!
What Movies Will It Remind You Of?: Oh, nearly every single holiday romcom that has aired on every network for the past decade. Within the first five minutes, Fit for Christmas establishes that Audrey didn’t make it in NYC, the small town loves Christmas, the rec center is closing, Audrey’s mom had a studio at the rec center, Audrey’s mom is dead, Audrey’s dad is resisting moving on, and Griffin doesn’t care about Christmas. It’s almost like Fit for Christmas is a gymnast performing at the holiday movie Olympics and you’re watching them land every single somersault in their floor exercise. It’s kinda spectacular.
Performance Worth Watching: Amanda Kloots is mainly known as a fitness personality and a host of CBS’ daytime show The Talk. Fit for Christmas proves that Kloots can translate her charisma into a scripted performance. What she lacks in experience she more than makes up for in a Cameron Diaz-style gusto. She has a major smile, infectious energy, and such a can-do attitude in every scene.
Memorable Dialogue: Audrey to Griffin after their first run-in: “A little advice: This town is called Mistletoe for a reason. We’re a Christmas oasis. If you don’t like the holiday, I’d hit the road.” Chef’s kiss.
A Holiday Tradition: Carl’s Tavern (which has been passed down from generation to generation of Carls and Carlas) holds Mistletoe trivia night on Saturdays, the library has a toy drive, Mistletoe has a Christmas markteplace, and the rec center hosts an annual Christmas Eve party.
Two Turtle Doves: Other businesses that need to be saved by two people while they fall in love this year:
- A local bakery (A Gingerbread Christmas on Discovery+
- An animal rescue (The Dog Days of Christmas on Lifetime)
- A contracting business (A Tiny Home Christmas on UPtv)
- A theatre (A Show-Stopping Christmas on Lifetime)
- A magazine (Must Love Christmas on CBS)
- A maple farm (Sappy Holiday on UPtv)
Does the Title Make Any Sense?: It does, but I wish that the movie had played up the “fit” aspect of it more. The title would work wonders with a movie about someone who needed to lose weight to fit into, say, their late father’s tuxedo in time for a Christmas gala — and also maybe the man hates Christmas, so not only does he need to be fit for Christmas, he also needs to brush up on his Christmas lore so he is fit to celebrate Christmas. That is… a completely different movie! I’m calling dibs on the screenplay.
Our Take: Fit for Christmas is an easy, comforting, even reassuring watch during the 2022 Christmas movie season. It is hot cocoa, it is tiny marshmallows, it is an over-sized blanket from Target, and it is a pine-scented candle illuminating your living room at night (and by “night” I mean 4 p.m.). The names have been changed, the professions have been swapped around, and one snow-covered town has been traded for another, but this is still every single holiday romance movie that you’ve ever watched — and that’s the whole point.
What’s interesting this year, though, is how many movies are breaking the format — either by being a completely different genre, commenting on the genre, or shifting the priorities of the genre. To go back to the way things were for a second, it’s like visiting with your bestie from college. You haven’t been apart for too long, but it’s still great to catch up.
Still, Fit for Christmas is hurt by this comparison — and come on, it’s impossible not to compare all of these movies when you’re watching them every day. We’ve seen on a few occassions other movies go for the tried and true formula and still make it feel fresh, either via being the funniest holiday movie of the year or by being a dang period piece (a period piece — on a basic cable budget?!). If you’ve seen a lot of holiday romances already this season, including some of the more unexpected ones, then watching Fit for Christmas could be just as boring as it is comforting.
I will say this about CBS getting into the holiday TV movie fray once more — especially since it’s the only major network to really commit to it: they make gorgeous looking movies… at least by holiday TV movie standards. There’s nothing cheap about their movies, even if they’re relying on the same stable of limited interior locations and Main Street USA exteriors as every other holiday movie. It’s really the lighting and cinematography, which is generally richer looking in the CBS movies than almost anywhere else, and that increases the watchability. But also this may be like aspect ratios and motion smoothing, the kind of thing that some people obsess over (hello) and others gloss over.
Our Call: I’m going to err on the side of SKIP IT solely because there have been so many holiday movies this season that have pushed the formula into more entertaining places, even if they haven’t looked as good. But y’know — if you’re looking for some holiday entertainment on a major network, then Fit for Christmas is a perfectly fine comfort watch. Let it be the first of many Amanda Kloots Christmases.
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