Inn Love by Christmas Review: Mandy and Lucas' Romance Competes for Our Hearts!

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I, too, would like to purchase an inn in a quaint small-town and work beside my love and best friend.

Inn Love By Christmas took some of the classic Christmas tropes and produced an enchanting film with a faint air of nostalgic zeal.

Mandy and Lucas, whose names, fittingly, were reminiscent of that "It" Couple in high school, perfectly nailed the "I'm an adult? How did this happen?" disposition usually reserved for the mid-twenty demographic without once coming across as immature and emotionally stunted.

Competitive Spirits - Inn Love by Christmas

In short, they were unapologetically silly and fun together. As a result, they were rather engaging and amusing as a pairing and the epitome of cuteness.

Without both of them sharing that similar vibe, it would've been a completely different movie. And it was a fresh change of pace from the customary uptight, Type-A woman who needed balancing out by her male counterpart who's more laid-back and easygoing.

Mandy walking down the hall of a hotel in her white power suit, swept away in the passion she has for work, and her rushing Gram off the fun to jump back into the frenzy could've gone in a predictable direction, but it did not.

Despite Mandy's passion for her career, she wasn't some uptight sort incapable of loosening up. Therefore, each scene where she gave as good as she got or even initiated the tomfoolery pleased.

Mandy - Inn Love by Christmas

It's not to say she didn't get shamed on occasion for her hyper-career-focus and inability to manage an ideal work-life balance. Hell, I found myself guilty of some of the shaming on occasion too, but Mandy managed, and it worked out best for her.

And they wasted no time getting into the fun of it all by sticking Mandy and her high-school rival and future paramour, Lucas, in a car together less than ten minutes into the film.

Everyone knows how entertaining it is to watch two people bicker or bond during a long car ride together. It's golden, and Mandy and Lucas did not disappoint.

Healthy Competition - Inn Love By Christmas

Of course, it never would've happened if not for the mix-up at the car rental place that somehow gave Mandy's car away to Lucas in the first place. It would've been so disastrous if they were going in different directions.

But you could tell Lucas probably had a crush on Mandy for some time. You know, in addition to simply being a dashing gentleman (Hello again, Jesse Hutch. Heart you, mean it!). Our boy was excited to offer her that car ride back to their hometown, delightfully referred to as Holly Bush.

Did I mention how much I love these films?

Lucas - Inn Love by Christmas

Their mutually competitive spirit provided most of the entertainment for the movie, and it also was the perfect way to fast track their instant chemistry.

Weren't we all rooting for them from the second they challenged each other to that Mac 'n Cheese contest and both finished and had their picture posted on the wall?

If you can get through that much dairy in one sitting with another person, and you both are laughing and making googly-eyes at each other still, then it's meant to be, baby.

It's also a hell of a story to tell the kiddos. Mom and Dad thought of only each other later that night during their extended visit in the loo.

Competitive Eating - Inn Love by Christmas

Speaking of kids, Mandy and Lucas would totally have equally as competitive prankster children, right? Like, April Fool's Day would be a family-favorite holiday as they compete over who can pull off the best prank, yes?

Let's not get ahead of ourselves, though. As far as unofficial first dates go, it was a great one until Lucas, such an intent listener, by the way, realized that Mandy came to Holly Bush to put in a bid for the town's favorite inn, Chesterwood.

You saw the exact moment when something was off, and bless his adorable heart, he didn't have it in him to tell Mandy the truth even when he was walking her to the door of the place. Tammy had to break the news to her, and ugh, that was the worst.

In another surprise, instead of the competition tearing the two of them apart, it seemed to bring them together. Mandy and Lucas took it as a friendly competition, even when it meant so much to both of them for different reasons.

Christmas Together - Inn Love by Christmas

They were gracious competitors. They didn't badmouth each other or undercut the improvements and skills each of them brought to the table.

The solution to this was evident from the start. Clearly, both were great, but together, Mandy and Lucas (Landy?) would be a force to be reckoned with, and they were the ideal team for the business venture.

But of course, we had to wait until the end of the film for them to solidify that conclusion.

Admittedly, on their own, it did raise a few eyebrows. Mandy, as a perfectly lovely protagonist, is the one you'd want to root for on principle, but if they didn't reach a solution that involved both of them, then Lucas deserved the inn.

Workaholic - Inn Love by Christmas

The inn wasn't Mandy's acquisition. It was on behalf of a multi-million dollar hotel chain, and the idea of that ruining the charm of a small-town business in a cute town irked.

Lucas, as a town resident familiar with the inn's importance, was an ideal buyer. Mandy didn't even plan to run the inn from in-town or nearby.

She still planned to remain in Miami and run it remotely, hiring a team of people, but that's nowhere near the same as Tammy and Bert's dedication to the place for decades.

But Lucas was only a better buyer by default, in that sense. He expressed that he had a background in a stressful high-profile job, but it didn't sound related to hospitality.

The Better choice? - Inn Love by Christmas

He's naturally hospitable and servient of others. He has a knack for charming; he could pull it off without Mandy's experience, but the only thing he produced to persuade Tammy was yummy treats.

While a girl may sell her soul for biscotti depending on the person, Lucas should've brought more to the metaphorical table than a mouth-watering menu. Tammy even requested a modification that included downhome, simple meals, like pot roast.

But by the time he reconnected with Mandy again, it didn't seem to matter. He probably had his heart set on giving her what she wanted regardless of anyone else's feelings on the matter.

Tammy - Inn Love by Christmas

And by anyone else, we're talking Ashley, who was serving all of that icy blond bitch energy, another common trope.

Sure, Ashley's point about the inn going to someone from the town who planned on staying there was valid, but she was detestable from the second she popped up with her passive-aggressive or downright aggressively rude comments about Mandy.

While Mandy and Lucas' teenage-like personas from snowball fights to near-stolen kisses in their grandparents' home were endearing, Ashley's 30-something-year old small-town mean girl shtick was a nuisance.

Were you also whisper-screaming, "how OLD are you? Grow up!" at the screen, or am I once again revealing my embarrassing levels of investment in all forms of entertainment? Don't answer that.

Ashley, Why are You Like This? - Inn Love by Christmas

Ashley was seconds away from muttering a Cheryl Horowitz "As If" at Mandy from the second she learned Mandy wanted to purchase the place.

And exposing Mandy in front of the entire town at Tammy's holiday party was childish and unprofessional. Mandy should've been upfront with Tammy from the beginning.

It sucked and was shady as hell that she wasn't, and again, it's another reason why the thought of Tammy selling her inn to Mandy didn't sit well.

But Ashley was dead wrong for what she did, and what good is humiliating Mandy in front of the whole town like that, especially when it potentially had more dire effects?

Pissed Off but Hot - Inn Love By Christmas

Are we not adults, Ashley? Goodness!

At least Mandy got a dance with Lucas, and she looked smoking hot, pissed off in her red dress with the split.

She also got to make things up to everyone by inviting GinnyZ to the shindig to sing to her heart's content.

Honestly, shoutout to Mariah Ashley Campos for serving looks and doing the absolute most with her blink and you miss it role in this film.

GingerZ - Inn Love by Christmas

Also, Elena Juatco's Jackie was adorable as the slightly exasperated friend who wanted Mandy back in town and hooking up with the hottie from high school in that order.

The friendships are the best. Only family dynamics rival them, and Gram was equally as precious.

Gram and Ernie were almost as cute as Mandy and Lucas, and their family dinner scenes were enough to make you smile.

They both wanted their grandkids to get on with it already, but they were subtle about it, and you have to give them props for their level of chill.

Jackie - Inn Love by Christmas

I suppose they were too content with their own relationship and the big step of moving in together to be as meddlesome as most loved ones would.

Nevertheless, it worked for the best that both of them would have a part in running Chesterwood.

Mandy relocating to New York City gives her the big city vibe that she prefers, keeps her at the hotel chain's home office, and means she's close to Holly Bush, Gram, and of course, Lucas.

Family Meal - Inn Love by Christmas

She could be more hands-on running the place than she would've been if she remained in Florida. In a sense, she is still giving the town what they need by doing so, and it's the best of both worlds since everyone wanted Lucas in charge.

Except now, Lucas can focus on his areas of expertise: cooking, running the kitchen, and creating a killer menu.

Somehow, the lack of any real conflict still worked for this film. And we got or happily ever after.

Jonna Walsh and Jesse Hutch were a joy to watch play off of one another. They looked like they were having a blast the entire time.

Won Their Hearts - Inn Love by Christmas

And since A Very Vintage Christmas was one of my favorite 2019 Holiday films, it was nice to have Hutch back in another one.

Over to you, Lifetime Fanatics? What would you rate this one?

Hit the SHOW COMMENTS button below, and let me read your thoughts.


Editor Rating: 4.6 / 5.0
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Jasmine Blu is a senior staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.

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