Lindsay Lohan is dipping a toe back into the pool of acting, starting with a made-for-TV love story. If that sentence sounds familiar, it’s because that was more or less the narrative around 2012’s Liz & Dick on Lifetime, in which she played Elizabeth Taylor throughout the years.
It seemed like a role made for her: a slightly larger-than-life headline-grabber and man-stealer (Taylor got with Eddie Fisher when he was still with Debbie Reynolds; Lohan and Hilary Duff allegedly played the same roles with the late Aaron Carter) who started in the industry as a child and became a tabloid fixture whose demons seemed, at times, to get the better of her. Off at college, I had no way to watch Lifetime, so I bought Liz & Dick on iTunes. I was interested! From what I remember, Lohan is only somewhat up to the material. Though talented, she’s never been a chameleon, and as Taylor got older, Lohan’s performance became less believable. Anyway.
Almost exactly a decade later, Netflix is giving us the Lifetime-esque Falling For Christmas, Lohan’s latest return to acting. The movie follows Sierra, a passive and pampered hotel heiress who bonks her head and forgets who she is. Sierra is taken in by kindly ski lodge owner Jake (Chord Overstreet) who teaches her how to be a regular person, and when she gets her memory back, she’s still changed for the better, and off they go. If THAT sounds familiar, it’s because it’s roughly the plot of Overboard starring Goldie Hawn (remade more recently starring Anna Faris).
While Liz & Dick was a stretch for Lohan’s acting muscles, Christmas doesn’t even engage them. I liked the movie well enough, but it hardly counts as a return to acting, and I hope Lohan gets a real role—soon.
Sierra is an Eloise type who lives at her family’s hotel chain, reminding me of Lohan’s partner in partying Paris Hilton. Her self-obsessed influencer boyfriend Tad (George Young) is amiably goofy, and his side quest—after also falling down a mountain, but not losing his memory, he relies on a hermit for survival—is fun to watch. As a widowed, hard-working and handy underdog, Overstreet, best known for Glee, pulls his narrative weight, delivering the sometimes wooden dialogue sincerely. There’s a cute kid and a character who is more or less Santa Claus. Fans of The Princess Switch and A Christmas Prince (both of which pop up in the scene where Sierra…watches Netflix) will be satisfied. In fact, in the world of Netflix Christmas fare, this is one of the more grounded. No irrationally scheming villain, no convenient new laws about monarchy, no invented countries! It takes place in a fake small town near “the city,” which, sure.