Director Victoria Rowell and screenwriter Dara Harper’s Catfish Christmas proves there is no better holiday for romance than Christmas. I know Valentine’s Day is the correct answer; just work with me. After accusations of being a gold digger, the once-again single Leslie (Leigh-Ann Rose) would much rather bury herself in spreadsheets than go home for Christmas. Yet, family calls, and she struggles not to answer the “are you seeing anyone?” question from her parents (Ella Joyce and Tony Todd), sister Faith (Charlotte Evelyn Williams), and everyone else in town.
Stopping by for dinner is Leslie’s old friend and professional mixologist, Devin (Devin Laster), who may or may not have had a crush on Faith and is also newly single. But, of course, there’s no attraction now. In hopes of spicing up Leslie’s Christmas, Faith decides to find her a boyfriend in local pro-footballer Mike Avery (Anthony Riggins). Since Faith doesn’t actually know Mike, she creates a fake online profile and sends a friend request. As the film’s title suggests, Faith is catfishing her sister. But she’s doing it for the right reasons, so what could go wrong? Not knowing if the friend request is real, the suspicious Leslie asks Devin to investigate. The results are inconclusive.
As she begins to warm up to Mike/Faith over chat, Leslie insists on speaking to Mike over the phone. Using a voice-changing app, Faith is able to trick her sister, and Leslie falls for “Mike” because she can talk to him as easily as her sister. Taking that first step toward falling in love, Leslie insists that she and Mike meet for a proper date. How will Faith pull this one off?
“Faith is catfishing her sister…for the right reasons, so what could go wrong?”
Catfish Christmas falls right into the family-friendly holiday fare you find on the Hallmark Channel. If that’s your jam, you’re in for a good time. But, unfortunately, the filmmakers don’t exactly elevate the genre to a level that could reach a broader audience. Admittedly, they don’t need to. As the true romantics say, “it is what it is.”
What this has going for it is two wonderful performances from stars Leigh-Ann Rose and Devin Laster. Rose is very likable and easy to fall in love with. I also like that they play their characters grounded as singles meandering around for the holidays, looking for more than simple Christmas cheer.
Let me also add the “Mike” storyline to Santa’s Nice list. Writer Harper’s story finds a clever way to pull Faith out of the corner she backed her way into while creating the perfect love triangle, whether virtual or real. No spoilers, but the way the Mike plot plays out is simply perfect.
Let’s face it. Rom-coms, especially Christmas-centric ones, aren’t exactly Shakespeare. Not to spoil anything, but I believe you can figure out who winds up with whom without many more plot details. But understand, in romance, it’s always about the journey and not the destination. Rowell and Harper’s journey is chock full of romantic sweetness. This holiday, Catfish Christmas and a few glasses of eggnog are just the perfect pairings for lovers and lovers at heart.
"…Catfish Christmas and a few glasses of eggnog are just the perfect pairings for lovers and lovers-at-heart."