“You never know what could have been until you give now a try.”
Kara is the DJ of a 24/7/365 Christmas radio station based in Philadelphia. But when the station’s transmitter gets fried, she is forced to broadcast from the town of Bethlehem.
There, she meets Scott, whose daughter, Andie, loves her station and has even written her letters. And Kara also starts trying to uncover the identity of the town’s Secret Santa in the Lifetime movie “Radio Christmas” (2019).
Our Review: Radio Christmas
Well, “Radio Christmas” is one of those Christmas movies that’s just there. It’s inoffensive, watchable, and entirely forgettable.
The pacing was a bit slow at times. In a word, everything was just “blah.”
Are you ready for the entire concept of this movie to be blown up? OK, here goes.
Kara (Keshia Knight Pulliam) works for a digital radio station. So why did she have to go to Bethlehem, when all she seemed to do was put together her playlists and soundbites and send them to her boss?
Whenever she was “on the radio” she was prerecorded. We know this because nearly every time she is “on the air” she was outside and we were hearing her show as she did other things.
So the entire premise for sending her to Bethlehem makes no sense, other than as a plot device.
Another big problem with “Radio Christmas” is that never feels super Christmasy. They don’t do a lot of Christmas activities, which is odd considering Andie (Nakai Takawira) is the perfect age for that (though she is sad a LOT in this movie).
Even the big event – the festival – features a “re-enactment” of how the town was settled. It takes all of a minute or two, and is pretty terrible.
(You can find plenty of better “kids wishes for single parent to find love at Christmas” movies, such as “Miss Christmas”, “Dear Santa”, and “Karen Kingsbury’s Maggie’s Christmas Miracle”.)
As for the rest? Let’s break it down.
The Nice List
Our Favorite Scene
When Scott (Michael Xavier) makes up with his dad, Garrett (Tim Reid).
This was a genuinely nice scene in the movie, as Garrett finally realizes that the legacy of his late wife lives through Scott and Garrett tells his son how proud he is of him.
There was one clear theme in here and it was a truly good message: do nice things for your community without expectations. Lead by example.
Scott did one of nicest things possible for his town, but didn’t want any credit because he didn’t want his daughter to grow up in a world where she thinks money is more important than hard work.
As they say multiple times, no good deed is too small. We agree!
At Warren (John B. Lowe). He was our pick for standout in “Radio Christmas”.
In particular, we laughed at his explanation of why Kara was coming to Bethlehem: “Their building exploded…caught on fire or got electrocuted or something.”
His not-so-secret admiration of Mary Lou (Belinda Montgomery) was also quite charming and cute.
Winter Storm Megan Strikes AGAIN
She’s back. In every Lifetime movie this year (and we assume all the others to come), Winter Storm Megan has played a role.
This time, everyone is bracing for 3-5 feet of snow and worried the annual Starlight Festival will have to be canceled for the first time in 100 years. Luckily that doesn’t happen.
Our Secret Santa Mixup
The big Kara/Scott conflict was a bit of a mixed bag. We knew that release form Scott signed for Kara meant trouble.
So after Scott’s revelation about the Secret Santa was accidentally recorded, we had no doubt it was going to end up on Kara’s radio show somehow. We just weren’t sure how.
We thought Megan might somehow play a role – where Kara’s voicemail never really got to her boss due to the weather. Or, we thought, perhaps Kara’s boss would simply run the interview anyway, despite Kara’s objection.
But nope. We learned Andie was the mastermind. No objections here to this little twist.
The Naughty List
Not Much Chemistry
Kara was happy and squealy. But that all made her less believable as the romantic lead.
As for Scott, he didn’t have much sex appeal, either. He was just lacking that leading man swagger.
More Character Development, Please!
Kara’s character, in particular wasn’t very deep.
We knew a good amount of Scott’s backstory. But we learned very little about Kara – including how or why she ended up doing Radio Christmas channel.
The Whole Town’s in Scott’s Front Yard
When Scott leaves his house to chase after Kara at the end, he is greeted by the entire town, which is just standing there in front of his house and suddenly starts applauding.
It was pretty strange. Nobody inside noticed that an entire town was outside? And nobody outside bothered to knock or ring the bell?
What if he never came out? Would they have just left? Or left a note?
Just the night before, when everyone learned about Scott’s gift, nobody stopped him, or thanked him, or even said a word to him. But they’re all there now, the next day?
- Did you notice that Scott’s radio show consisted of one question, which he didn’t even answer?
- Whatever happened with the boy Andie liked and was all mopey about?
- Why did it take Andie so long to find the Christmas pickle?
- And the present WAS the pickle? We though you were supposed to get an extra present from Santa for finding the pickle, not getting another pickle so you can do this all again next year?
Weird Clothing Issue #1
The night before Andie’s hockey game, Scott tells Kara that everyone wears a Christmas sweater to the game. Because it’s a town tradition.
Let’s pause here for a second soaking in this premise. Every year, the entire town goes to one specific hockey game, played by children, and they all wear a Christmas sweater? Ohhkay. I’m in.
So, game day comes. The hockey rink is outside! You know what outside is in December?
So what is everybody wearing?
If anybody is wearing Christmas sweaters, we can’t see them.
So what’s the point of this tradition? Hope for warm weather so people can see your sweater?
But even then, can the kids even play hockey if it’s too warm? Won’t the ice be too melty? Would they just gather at the rink anyway, wearing their sweaters?
Weird Clothing Issue #2
Wait, so Kara fits into a child’s hockey jersey?
Really, though, why didn’t Kara just put on her own coat instead of a smelly, sweaty hockey jersey?
Where’s All That Snow?
So we were expecting 3-5 FEET of snow, right?
We were imagining, you know, it must be really snowy outside because we hadn’t seen it yet.
Even Kara, worried about being unable to get to the festival later that night, says, “There’s a lot of snow out there. I don’t even know if we can get out of here.”
When they finally go outside we see there’s is only a little snow. And it’s sunny.
A Blue Ridge Mountain Christmas Flashback
Remember in a “Blue Ridge Mountain Christmas” one character infamously said: “I’ve never seen David so engaged, so passionate, so happy, as he’s been these last few weeks… in a long time.”
We had ANOTHER one of those in “Radio Christmas.” When Garrett talks about Scott to Kara:
“I’ve never seen him smile this much. … Been a long time since I’ve seen him grin like that.”
Again, there’s a big difference between NEVER and A LONG TIME, people!
You’ll Fall Asleep…
The WORST List
Early in the movie, Scott, just moments after introducing Kara to Andie, lets his daughter go off with Kara. Even though Kara is at this point a complete stranger.
Why? Because she’s a radio personalty?
You’ll Yell at TV…
“What the heck is a Christmas pickle?” (Unless you already know. Which we didn’t.)
Our Christmas wish for next year is for a mysterious benefactor to help Lifetime find better scripts. Much like the antenna, this movie has issues. We’re tuning out “Radio Christmas” forever.