Holiday in Handcuffs

Fox Family Movie, 2007

Quick note from RD: With the amazing response the new/old has been getting, some of you newer folks may be asking why on earth there’s an induction that has nothing to do with wrestling this week. The answer for that is simple – for the last 20+ years, my final new induction of the year is always a goofy Christmas movie that isn’t wrestling related. It’s a tradition around these parts, and one that I – and I know many of you – love. Hee haw and Merry Christmas, RD Reynolds

Not sure what this confession will do to my hipness rating (as if I was ever hip or as if anyone from the 21st century refers to anything being hip), but I loves me some Melissa Joan Hart.

Dug her on Sabrina back in the day, as it was a really stupid show but it was a really stupid fun show. Plus Salem the Cat was voiced by the guy who educated us all about stunt grannies on the really stupid but not fun Secrets of Pro Wrestling Exposed special I inducted a million years ago! That’s a win.

Today she spends her time involved in Christmas movies, either starring in them or producing them or both. Off the top of my head, she was the daughter of an innkeeper (in a Christmas Reservations, a film that also starred Markie Post (of Night Court) and Michael Gross (Family Ties)!)…she had a nutcracker come to life who helped her make 15,000 cookies in six days (A Very Nutty Christmas)…she had a toy company that she merged with another toy company to stop a mega toy company (A Very Merry Toy Store).

In case my confessional wasn’t enough, I admit – I know far too much about these ridiculous movies. For instance, the last one I mentioned? That was a reunion of sorts for Melissa and Mario Lopez, who, if you are a geezer like myself, might remember as AC Slater on Saved by the Bell. While the toy store movie was ok, it couldn’t hold a candle to their original pairing, which is for sure my favorite MJH holiday film.

Heck, it’s up near the top of my favorite Christmas movies ever.

I’m not joking. Holiday in Handcuffs is a completely, unapologetically insane film and I love every ridiculous second of it. How this thing ever appeared on Fox FAMILY is beyond me. It’s not risque by “normal” standards, but in comparison to any other Hallmark/Lifetime Christmas flicks, it’s down right blue.

The fun opens with Trudie Chandler (Melissa) giving us a monologue as she drives through a snow-filled night in a beat up jalopy. “I’m not crazy. I’m a long way from crazy. Doing one crazy thing does not make a person crazy.” As she is driving, she pulls up to David Martin (Mario). You can tell there is angst in the air, despite her pleas to get him to hop back in the car and get some hot chocolate. He eventually obliges, but does so with a warning: “You are the devil!” he seethes.

And he ain’t really wrong.

So we flash back to 18 hours earlier on Dec 23, with Trudie in an apartment she says totally sucks. She says this but I don’t quite believe her, as this apartment is absolutely gigantic and has incredible panoramic views of the city below. Regardless, she is primping her hair as she is about to go on a job interview before meeting up with her family at some remote log cabin in the mountains. Her mom calls, and Trudie lets slip an “Oh crap” to which she is chastised for using such a “tacky” word.

Ain’t nothing wrong with the word “crap” ’round these parts, sister!

Distracted by her mom, Trudie loses track of time and accidentally over frizzes her hair. In an attempt to hide it, she grabs a ridiculous hat that looks less like headgear and more like an upside down salad bowl.

On her way to the interview, she starts flirting with a dude in another car. She urges him to go on through…and he promptly is hit by another car. The romantic advances are promptly thrown out, with the dude going so far as screaming “YOU BITCH!” at her! I honestly think that may be the only time I’ve ever heard that in all the years I’ve been watching movies like this.

So she shows up late to the job interview and despite having sold the owner of the company lemonade like fifteen years ago (no joke), she is promptly shown the door.

Things just ain’t going Trudie’s way!

Still, she does have a job at an Indian restaurant with her friend Lucy, who attempts to cheer her up by putting antlers on her head. At this point we are also introduced to an ancient gun that’s out of the 1800’s, which the restaurant keeps as a lucky charm of sorts, and David also comes in, as he was set to meet his girlfriend and propose to her. There’s a crap ton of things going on here so I am doing my best to cram them all in to this synopsis.

Trudie attempts to explain her family’s Christmas rituals to Lucy, which involve them going out to the middle of mountains, turning off all their cell phones, and having zero communication with the outside world. Despite her parents thinking this is awesome, Trudie compares it to being in The Shining. We also learn that because she’s never brought a boyfriend home, her dad thinks she’s a lesbian.

Her boyfriend Nick shows up at this point and explains that this whole thing of meeting the parents? Yeah, he’s going to pass on that. She asks why he didn’t tell her they were breaking up before now, and he says that had he done that, he would have never had the chance to have sex with her. Since he’s dumping her, that would indicate said intercourse wasn’t all that great.

Keep in mind, I am not making any these things up on a Christmas movie that debuted on FOX FAMILY.

Facing going to the cabin with her parents with no boyfriend, Trudie has an honest-to-goodness Hitchcock style freak out. Seriously, this looks like something pulled out of Vertigo b-roll footage. All of a sudden, she comes up with a solution to everything – she grabs the antique gun, takes David hostage, and is going to use him as her stand-in boyfriend for the holidays.

Really – that’s the entire premise of this movie.

Naturally, David has zero desire to help this nutcase with her plans and spins to take the gun away from her. Upon doing so, however, he slips and hits his head on the ice, knocking himself unconscious. With him out cold, she throws him in her car, ties him up with panty hose, and heads for the hills. Upon waking up, he tells her that her plan doesn’t seem “very well thought out” (you don’t say), so she shoots him between the legs with the old time pea shooter, just barely missing his fig and berries.

As they mosey down the road, she pleads with him to just pretend to be the boyfriend for a couple days and he can go back to where he was. He rightly points out he is being, you know, KIDNAPPED, and ain’t gonna help, no way, no how. Unfortunately, however, he is kinda screwed – he left his cell phone back at the diner and also has no idea where they are.

A pit stop is needed along the way and at this point we meet…well, I don’t see his character name listed in the credits, so let’s just call him CREEPY GAS STATION GUY. Trudie goes in to prepay, and he says he always “pumps gas for the pretty ladies” and heads out to do so. Upon arriving at the car, he asks why the guy inside is tied up and blindfolded. She says, and I quote, they’re off for a “tie me up tie me down kinda weekend.” He starts nodding his head in total perv fashion at the notion, and comes back out with some LOVE HANDCUFFS to help her out. As they drive off, he says “lucky little bastard” while licking his chops.

So they get to the cabin and David says the party’s over and he’s going to narc on Trudie. In order to block this from ruining her plan, she runs in first to meet the family, telling them this absurd story about how her boyfriend does this weird thing when he’s nervous and he pretends he’s someone else, which they of course completely believe.

Upon seeing her crazy hair, her mom says she looks like something out of a “pornographic film”. Upon meeting Nick/David (and we’ll just call him David from now on), the dad is impressed and says this is the first boyfriend she has ever brought home. He also confirms the story about his suspicion of Trudie playing for the other team, stating, and again I am just quoting the movie here, “We thought she liked the innies.”


The rest of the family shows up as well, with brother Jake and sister Katie coming into play. The sister is a smokeshow and Jake has it together in his career, leaving Trudie to feel like even more of an outcast.

David catches Trudie on her phone and attempts to steal it from her to call for help. She sticks it in her bra, then realizing that won’t stop him, runs around the kitchen island before smashing it with a beef tenderizer. Being in the middle of nowhere with no chance to escape, David realizes his only chance to survive this is to start playing along and being the best boyfriend ever, so that when the truth comes out, Trudie will not only be arrested but humiliated as well.

Eh, that’s a plan I guess.

During dinner preparations, Mom sends Dad and David back to the gas station to get some olive oil. This gives us another appearance of CREEPY GAS STATION GUY, who rambles on about how lucky Davis must be as he is probably getting spanked by that pretty girl. Then in a visual no one needed, he starts gyrating. Really, thrusting his hips and everything! David makes a move toward the store phone, but the geezer pulls a SHOTGUN on him and sends him away.

As if we didn’t have enough characters, now Grandma shows up. A total piece of work this one is, as the very first words out of her mouth is how she nearly “froze her tatas off”. More hilarity ensues, as David comes in and promptly rips the backside of his pants, prompting Grandma to salivate and say his butt looks “just like Paul Newman!”, I bet that URL’s not taken!

David bonds with Trudie’s brother, who reveals he is the smartest one in the family – he has a hidden cell phone. He allows David to use it, so he calls his fiance Jessica (wearing the tightest, lowest cut dress this side of an Elvira cosplayer) to beg for help. Within moments, Trudie busts in, catches him, and flushes the phone down the toilet.

I hope these guys had a family plan for all these lost cell phones.

And thus David continues being the ideal boyfriend, putting the angel on top of the tree, playing football in the snow with the family, and reading The Night Before Christmas as Trudie sees her scheme falling apart before her eyes. Who knew such a dumb plan could go so wrong?

But then…BUT THEN…they sit together alone and write letters to Santa (!!!), booze it up, and of course start falling for each other. She tells David about her best Christmas ever where her dad made an ice rink in the back yard and her mom put lights up all over. She gets teary eyed as she recounts it as David looks on thoughtfully.

Christmas arrives with the pair playing hockey together and sharing a walk as their love continues to bloom. David finds artwork Trudie has done and is impressed. And yes, of course they wind up under the mistletoe and they kiss.

It wouldn’t be much of a Christmas romcom if that didn’t happen!

Meanwhile, we get a super bothersome scene were Trudie’s mom is folding up the largest pair of underwear you ever did see while at the same time telling her the only man she’s ever slept with is her father. TMI sister!

They do a gift exchange and stupid presents are given like old man underwear (yes two scenes in a row with them!) and a #1 Grandma mug. It wraps up with an attache case for Trudie as the parents push her to get a REAL JOB and not waste her time with art. This leads to DRAMA, and David comes to the rescue with kind words about her paintings. Can you feel the love tonight?

He then drops to a knee and proposes to her. Is it a real proposal? Is it a phony one? MOAR DRAMA!

Back in the city, the cops are investigating the kidnapping and they catch up with Lucy…in her apartment with her boyfriend who is drinking beer and clothed only in a giant bow. A little something for the ladies I suppose.

And if that’s not enough beefcake for you…


All of this leads us to the ultimate show of true love:


How to even attempt to explain this?

Ok, so David decides he is going to recreate that special Christmas memory Trudie had of her youth. He heads outside, and within no joke 10 minutes, he has Christmas lights all over the place – on 27 trees, on the shrubs, on the gazebo. If there’s one thing you can bank on, it’s that every one of these dumb movies features a gazebo!

And so he lights it all up and asks Trudie to reenact her skating routine. If there’s anything I love more than ridiculous Christmas movies, it’s ridiculous Christmas movies with absurd skating (I’m looking at you, The Bishop’s Wife). So Trudie skates around, doing spins and jumps like Kristi Yamaguchi.

Heck, it may have actually been Kristi Yamaguchi as ridiculous as that stunt double looks.

But even as absurd as that is it pales in comparison to what comes next…


In short, they sit down for Christmas dinner and all hell breaks loose:

The sister confesses she isn’t going to law school and has opened a pilates studio.

The brother tells everyone he’s gay.

Dad says that Mom treats everyone like they’re her puppets (and does a marionette dance to demonstrate).

And then, in the ultimate slam, Mom says she has to think about Clint Eastwood to get through their annul birthday sex.

Let me repeat that – this woman has to think about CLINT EASTWOOD TO GET THROUGH THEIR ONCE A YEAR SEX ACT!!!!

Before it can get even more insane, the cops bust in to save David from the kidnapping.

Never been happier to see a first responder!

We then go to JAIL where not only is Trudie in the pokey, but the whole family is also behind bars! Fortunately for them, David doesn’t press charges so they all get to leave…except Grandma who is sticking around for some sexy romp with the cops.

And if you think I am making that up, I’m not sure what to tell you.

We fast forward to Valentine’s Day at the diner and Trudie opens the paper to see that David isn’t coming back to her after all, but rather he and Jessica are indeed getting married. I mean, sister, come on – you were with the guy for like 36 hours tops!!

Alas, poor Trudie continues to trudge away life in her luxury apartment. Soon enough, she finds out that her artwork (a painting of her skating on Christmas eve) is to be displayed at a local gallery. Her artwork is of course fawned over by everyone, and as you might expect, her entire family shows up. Her parents have been going to therapy, and now completely love her and want her to be her own person. Yes, miraculously the whole family is good now.

To be fair, I am good too as long as I don’t have to hear about any further tales of Clint Eastwood birthday sex.

So Trudie’s painting is sold.. but she doesn’t know to who. She heads out to her car where she herself is kidnapped by…

…David of course!

He takes her to a studio he’s built for her, tells her he bought the painting, declares his love, they live happily ever after, yadda yadda yadda.

It’s all great until that place inevitably burns to the ground. That many candles has gotta be a real fire hazard.

And with that, I bid you all a very Merry Christmas and a craptacular New Year ahead!

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