Story: Leslie (Leigh-Ann Rose) has built a successful career as an accountant and has a good life, but she has had bad luck when it comes to romance. When she returns home for the holidays, her mother Helen (Ella Joyce) remembers it has been a year since her daughter’s last breakup and she decides to intervene, hoping to reignite some sparks between Leslie and a friend from her past, Devin (Devin Laster). Meanwhile, Leslie shows little interest in romance and seems content to focus on herself, which isn’t what her mom or her sister Faith (Charlotte Evelyn Williams). In fact, Faith has a plan even crazier than her mom’s and she wants to fix up Leslie with her own choice, a professional athlete named Mike (Anthony Riggins). Of course, she has to pull off some magic since Mike is rich and famous, so she begins to catfish her own sister and then hopes she can somehow work out the kinks once she can pull Mike into her scheme. As Leslie resists romance from all sides, will either of the plans work and find her a partner or will she choose to spend the holidays alone?

Entertainment Value: Catfish Christmas is similar to romantic seasonal films from Hallmark and Lifetime, so that’s a good first indicator on what you should expect here. The narrative is fine, a little outlandish perhaps at times with the catfish elements, but solid and it stays in the expected lanes. So no surprises here, but I think these are more comfort movies than deep art, so I don’t think fans of the genre will mind. There are some inexplicable plot issues when it comes to how Mike is brought into the main narrative, but again, I don’t think its a real problem for this kind of material. Otherwise, this is light and humorous cinema that is content to just provide a little entertainment. The pace is fine, if a little slow in a few places and while the humor isn’t memorable, it does give the audience some laughs. I doubt it will win over new converts to the holiday romance genre, but for those who appreciate those kind of films, Catfish Christmas should be a passable movie night.

The cast of Catfish Christmas doesn’t have a lot of star power, but everyone performs well and seems to connect with the material, which is good news. I appreciate the energy and enthusiasm, as most of the cast seems to be having some fun as they work, which helps the vibe of the material. The most recognizable presence to most viewers will likely be Tony Todd, Candyman himself, who has a smaller role, but gets some decent screen time. I love seeing Todd in any movies, but especially outside of the horror genre, to see the other aspects of his skills at work. Here he makes the most of the small role and brings a lot of energy to the table, so his fans should be quite pleased. Leigh-Ann Rose has the lead and she does well, another energetic performance that handles the humor and more serious aspects well enough. She is able to play off her costars well and that’s true of this cast in general, as the scenes with more of the ensemble involved tend to work better. The cast here also includes Charlotte Evelyn Williams, Anthony Riggins, Devin Laster, and Ella Joyce.

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