Julien Neaves, Editor

No, the byline is not a typo. Avid RedMangoReaders would have noticed that Alice has been doing the heavy lifting on the holiday romcom reviews, and a splendid job she has been doing at that. And I will readily admit that these movies are not my cup of eggnog. But my wife likes them, and so every now and again I would sit and watch one for her sake. Marriage folks. It’s all about the little compromises.

So while surfing through ye olde Netflix I saw the thumbnail for Holiday in the Wild and it looked interesting enough. And then I watched it and I thought, “Hey, this is better than your average generic romcom. Imagine that.”

If you look in front of us you will see an antelope. If you look to the left you will see a wildebeest. And if you look to your right, you will see Old Mike the crazy nudist

The film follows Kate (the lovely Kristin Davis of Sex and the City fame) a former veterinarian living the high life in New York with her husband and college-age son. When her husband abruptly ends their marriage she decides to go on a second honeymoon to Zambia alone. In Zambia she meets Derek (80s icon Rob Lowe), a charming pilot and conservationist and decides to join him in volunteering at an elephant sanctuary.

In terms of the central plot Holiday in the Wild is nowhere near groundbreaking. You know exactly what is going to happen right from the start, and there are very few surprises here. And fans of these types of films don’t mind that and seem to appreciate the predictability. I am not a fan of this genre nor of the predictability.

KATE: Oh my goodness. He’s so beautiful. ELEPHANT INNER MONOLOGUE: I never had a white meat yet

At this point you must be thinking, “Didn’t Julien say that this was an above average romcom?” I did, and there are three reasons why: the leads; the setting; and the message. As Kate, Davis is very warm and likeable. And Lowe could probably charm the skin off a snake in his sleep, and he infuses Derek with that signature charm and a very laidback but fun energy. And he and Davis have the sweetest chemistry, which is important as romcoms live or die on this aspect.

On the setting, the African sanctuary was a refreshing change from your cityscapes and quaint villages. Being an animal lover I thoroughly enjoyed all the scenes with the elephants and they truly are majestic creatures. The African music also helped to bring the epic setting to life. And this takes me to the third positive, the message. You just know a film like this is going to have an environmental message, but thankfully they don’t beat you over the head with it (though some people could probably do with some of that). The message feels organic to the story and gets the impact across without ever feeling preachy.

So I enjoyed my holiday in the wild more than I expected. And I recommend it for you romcom lovers or non-romcom lovers who have to sit through a romcom for date night. Trust me, you could do a lot worse.

Julien’s Score: 6.5 out of 10

For Alice’s Hallmark Christmas Presents Part 3 you can click here

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Julien “Jules” Neaves is a TARDIS-flying, Force-using Trekkie whose bedroom stories were by Freddy Krueger, learned to be a superhero from Marvel, but dreams of being Batman. I love promoting Caribbean film, creating board games and I am an aspiring author. I say things like “12 flavours of awesome sauce”.

I can also be found posting on Instagram as redmanwriter and talking about TV and movie stuff on Facebook at Movieville.