17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
Airing the family laundry during the holidays.,
This review is from: Holiday Baggage (DVD)
This isn't a mindless holiday romance and it really isn't geared to children.
Cheryl Ladd plays her role well as Sarah, an even-keeled woman who has basically raised her two daughters to adulthood without the help of her absentee husband. When he sets up a meeting with her after a prolonged separation she has no idea what is coming. He wants her to finally sign the divorce papers so he can go off to the Bahamas and marry his girlfriend that is about the age of his daughters--and he wants his daughters to come to the wedding. Barry Bostwick is convincing as Pete, the irresponsible husband/father who has found an exit every time things got hard. His wife agrees to sign the divorce papers if he tells their daughters about the divorce and his upcoming nuptials, and suddenly he finds himself on the floor, in pain and gasping for breath.
Pete ends up in the hospital, but refuses to stay. Sarah, who is a pediatrician, keeps him at their home to watch over him until the tests for his diagnosis are completed and he is in the clear and this means he is in on the family Thanksgiving and Christmas. This angers their oldest daughter, who has never forgiven her Dad for leaving them. And both daughters are surprised to learn that their parents have never officially been divorced.
Things get pretty tangled in a web that includes surrogate motherhood, a widower next door who is very friendly with Sarah and who happens to be a friend of Pete's and their daughter's father-in-law, the youngest daughter's boyfriend who is leaving the country, and Pete's young fiancee who is beginning to feel neglected and shows up at a most inopportune time. The storyline also includes a death, a home birth, and an angry tirade from daughter to father.
This movie is about forgiveness, relationships and realizing what is most important. It is not action-packed, or filled with comedy, though you may chuckle now and then. You may also need a tissue a time or two.
As far as family friendliness goes, this movie would probably not hold the interest of young children, and there are some things parents may not want to have in a family film, even though the back cover touts that it won four Doves. Some of it may be inappropriate and some may just be something you don't want to have introduced to very young children. In an early scene of the movie you see Pete and his fiancee packing at "their" home for their move to the Bahamas, where they will be married. He is in his PJs and robe and she is wrapped in a towel. Later, at a going away party given by coworkers, Pete's fiancee says to him, "Let's make a baby on New Year's." He says if she doesn't get him too drunk at midnight. Later, when Sarah asks Pete if his fiancee is pregnant, he replies, "She's working on it." In one scene Pete tells his single daughter acting as surrogate, and his son-in-law, the baby's father, about a time when he and Sarah went skinny-dipping even when there was a "No Swimming Allowed" sign posted. He related that to the courage it took for them to "break the rules" with a surrogate birth. It also seemed that there was a clumsy edit job where Pete was asking his youngest daughter's boyfriend if he smoked and it appears that "pot" was almost edited out. The young man admits that he does sometimes. In talking about the holidays, the youngest daughter laments, "First you find out there's no Santa Claus..." while the other one chimes is, "then you find out there's no father." There is a lot of action that takes place toward the end of the movie around the pregnant daughter in labor. She isn't screaming and yelling, but she is obviously in pain.
I like Ladd and Bostwick and I think the daughters were well played. There are some clever lines and humorous situations, but there are also some things about the script that bothered me. Sarah was a little too understanding and long-suffering and there were some situations that didn't feel realistic to me at all. I won't try to list them. That said, it was an interesting story and held my attention, but I am old fashioned enough that I like my movies to have people get married before they start living together and "making babies."