Welcome back to our annual Lacey-thon. As another year winds down to oblivion, I skim my channels and streaming services in search of an unseen, Christmas, Lacey Chabert vehicle. Recently, she seems to have been doing quite a few on location films, set in Italy, or Africa, or Ireland, though you can be fairly certain they’ll still have a Christmas or romantic theme. No prizes for guessing that Christmas In Rome is set in Italy.
Which is why this one feels a little less festive than others. Most of these Christmas movies are clearly filmed in the Summer, with obviously fake snow and cinema magic to trick you. In this one, we don’t even get the fake snow (because it’s Rome) and the overall Christmas vibe isn’t really there. It’s still set in the run up to Christmas, there are presents, there’s a Christmas tree… but really it could be set at any other time of the year.
Lacey stars as a tour guide for a Company in Rome who is fired in December for refusing to follow the plan/going off grid/being incompetent. In the opening scenes we think she’s going to be one of those stock rom-com incompetent yet loveable disasters, but it turns out she’s actually very good at her job and that the Company has been holding her back. She’d love to start her own Company for bespoke, non-Tourist trap movies but doesn’t have any money or experience. Meanwhile, in the US a hot-shot pretty boy who seems too smug and smarmy and possibly Patrick Bateman-esque to love, has been tasked with travelling to Rome to seal a big deal for his firm. It is revealed that he is pretty bumbling and unaware that other cultures exist (which is strange given it is later related that her did some art courses at university, so you’d expect he’d know something), and before long he bumps into Lacey. Antics ensue, he offers her a week job as her personal tour guide so that he can quickly learn enough to charm the pants off Franco Nero and buy his Company. Love blossoms etc.
Beyond the lack of festive spirit and outside of the inconsistent character writing… it’s fine. It’s cool to see the locations, there are some interesting cast surprises, Lacey is her usual self, and you know you’ll get a happy ending. There’s quite a bit of ‘well actually, in Italy people do this’ preaching which is a little silly, but it’s not a film you come to for sparkling dialogue or shocking revelations. It’s a Christmas romance, set in Rome, where it doesn’t feel very Christmasy, where everyone gets to live happily ever after.
Let us know in the comments what you think of Christmas In Rome!