Netflix struck gold with their unintentionally hilarious original holiday romance, A Christmas Prince. Against all odds, it captivated audiences with its cheesy dialogue, fantasy royal family, entirely nonsensical plot, and heaping amounts of fake snow. When I saw that the streaming giant had another Christmas romance up its sleeve, A Christmas Inheritance, I decided not to fight the inevitable: I was going to watch this sure-to-be-terrible movie, whether I (or my two bottles of wine) wanted to or not. I regret to inform you that the movie, although it boasts a far better script and more established actors, disappoints for one annoying reason. Actually, a few reasons.
The romantic comedy tells the story of a smart, capable heiress named Ellen Langford (The 100's Eliza Taylor), who's about to inherit her father's gift company. That's right — a gift company, called Home and Hearth Gifts Incorporated. What exactly does a "gift" company sell? By the end of the movie I still hadn't figured that out. Anyway.
Even though Ellen is intelligent and has plenty of great ideas about how her father's company can grow, she's punished for her behavior at a charity event for Toys For Tots. A man attending the event offers to write her a massive check for the charity if she does a backflip across the room; she lands in a Christmas tree and an embarrassing photo dubbing her the "Party Heiress" is then splashed all over New York City tabloids. Before she can take over the mysterious company (seriously, I have to know what they sell), her father forces her to prove her worth as a successor by delivering a special box of Christmas letters (honestly, don't ask) to her dad's former partner, Zeke, in their small hometown of Snow Falls (a classic Winter romance movie town name, if I do say so myself).
Before her journey, her father takes away her credit cards and tells her that she isn't allowed to reveal who she really is to anyone in Snow Falls so that she's not treated differently because of her famous family name. Her fiancé, an obnoxious Wall Street businessman named Gray Pittman (Michael Xavier), is understandably annoyed — her father's ridiculous task cuts it extremely close to their scheduled Christmas vacation to Hawaii.
Regardless of the annoying trip, Ellen is dedicated to proving herself and heads to Snow Falls. It's there that she meets the manager of Zeke's bed and breakfast, Jake Collins (Zeke went on a spontaneous trip to the mountains and is nowhere to be found). Although he's played by very, very charming Girls actor Jake Lacy, Jake is, well . . . a huge d*ck. Does that matter, though? No. Obviously not.
After a huge blizzard leaves her trapped in Snow Falls, Ellen finds herself falling for Jake, despite her fiancé back in NYC and the fact that Jake's hair looks like this:
It turns out that Jake once lived in New York City, too, where he was engaged to an accountant. But then one night around Christmas, she dumped him at dinner while "Silent Night" was playing in the restaurant. Now he has a hatred for 1.) the song "Silent Night," which he proves when he almost destroys a diner jukebox that's playing it, and 2.) women from New York City. Since Ellen is the latter, he gives her a tough time with just about everything, until she can prove to him that she's actually a nice person. Seems kinda judgmental for someone whose haircut is modeled after Anastasia's Dimitri, you know? Also, Ellen is a nice person, but Jake refuses to acknowledge it because she's committed the grave sin of being . . . from out of town.
Jake eventually starts to see just how nice Ellen is when she teams up with his aunt Debbie (Andie MacDowell) (Yes, Andie MacDowell is in this movie!) and helps save the Christmas Eve charity fundraiser he's organizing for Snow Falls. Later on, they share a private moment in the bed and breakfast's storeroom, where it's revealed Jake is an "artist." How do we know this? Because he's working on these sketches. Ellen thinks he's "very talented."
These are on par with a series of paintings my little sister did in her fourth grade art class, which featured stick figures wearing comically large sombreros. Ellen — incredibly smart, kind, and savvy Ellen — is having to convince this guy that she is worthy of his time. OK. As if the terrible Santa drawings and his nasty habit of being mean to Ellen weren't enough to convince you how big of a jerk he is, he also attempts to put the moves on her IMMEDIATELY after she opens up to him about her mother's tragic death.
Ellen: My mom died when I was little and it completely destroyed me.
Jake: Is this the part where we're supposed to kiss?
They don't kiss, but poor Ellen, god love her, is still into this dude. But it's OK to have this emotional affair, because her fiancé Gray is also an a-hole. We're reminded of this when he comes to Snow Falls to demand Ellen leave with him on their expensive vacation to Hawaii (Patrick Dempsey in Sweet Home Alabama he is not).
He can tell there's something going on between Ellen and Jake straightaway, and he's not having it. Who can blame him? He's a wealthy businessman whose hair doesn't make him look like a pauper from a 1997 animated children's film. In an effort to mess up her thing with Jake, he tells his small town competition who Ellen really is. Jake might've judged her harshly for being from New York City, but finding out she's secretly been RICH this whole time sends him over the edge.
"This is why I left New York," he tells her. "Because of people like you." Kind, intelligent people who have shown over and over again how empathetic they are? C'mon Jake. Ellen, naturally, is devastated, especially because Jake refuses to deliver the letters to Zeke for her; her future at the gift company is now in jeopardy.
Gray, meanwhile, has given Ellen an ultimatum — leave with him to Hawaii, or they're over. She goes, but decides at the last second that her future life with her mean big city fiancé isn't for her. Instead, it's a life with a small town jerk that she's after! I know this is supposed to be a silly Christmas romance and I'm way too invested, but Ellen can do so much better than either of these guys.
She hops out of the car and into another blizzard (while wearing a skirt and stilettos, mind you) to race back to the Christmas Eve fundraiser. It turns out both Zeke and her father are there, who reveal they conspired this whole time to have Ellen be stranded in Snow Falls with no money in hopes that she would . . . learn about small town life? Fall in love with Jake? I truly don't know. She and Jake patch things up while Andie MacDowell sings in the background, and presumably live happily ever after.
A Christmas Prince might be one of the cheesiest romance movies I've ever endured, but its silly ending doesn't hold a candle to Christmas Inheritance. Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm going to go write a sequel to this movie that sees Ellen dumping Judgy Jake the day after the fundraiser, moving back to NYC, taking over her father's company, and becoming the successful HBIC CEO she deserves to be.