Holiday Movie Advent Day 20: No Sleep 'Til Christmas | Holiday Film Advent Calendar | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper

Holiday Movie Advent Day 20: No Sleep 'Til Christmas

What better movie for our time than one that fetishizes a good night’s sleep?

click to enlarge It's not what you think. - FREEFORM
It's not what you think.
In the spirit of the holiday season, Pittsburgh City Paper presents a holiday movie advent calendar. One holiday movie review, every day 'til Christmas (probably).

Lizzie (Odette Annable) seems to have it all – a successful career, a smart, devoted, smoking hot fiancé (Charles Michael Davis), and lovely friends. There’s just one thing – her holiday wedding is coming up and she can’t sleep. That is, until one fateful night when she hits fellow insomniac, Billy (played by the lead actress’ real-life husband and sometimes co-star, Dave Annable), with her car. What begins as a careless accident turns to kismet when the two realize they can only sleep when they’re near each other. So Lizzie comes up with a plan – if Simon agrees to meet her in secret for sexless sleep dates, she’ll help him open his own bar. Simple, right? Oh, if only.

Even for a Christmas TV rom-com, a genre known for meet-cutes that range from the absurd to the downright criminal (looking at you, Holiday in Handcuffs), the conceit of No Sleep 'Til Christmas is a stretch. That it actually manages to sell it is nothing short of a miracle, achieved with plenty of self-awareness and loads of winking jokes about the two main characters literally sleeping together.

Also, what better movie for our time than one that fetishizes a good night’s sleep, a subject treated nowadays as something more precious and elusive than the female orgasm? (During a scene best described as blatant sleep propaganda, one of Lizzie’s friends effortlessly rattles off all the benefits of a healthy snooze, including the questionable claim of staving off Alzheimer’s.)

There’s little doubt this 2018 Freeform gem was tailored to attract a hipper, more progressive, savvier crowd – in other words, not the conservative, romance-starved suburban mom types these movies usually strive for. There are people of color. There are openly gay characters. There are happily unmarried couples with children. There’s a quintessential hipster bar in what looks like a minimally renovated abandoned machine shop. And if any doubt remains over the intended audience, Lizzie and Simon karaoke a sanitized version of the acceptably cool anti-holiday song "Fairytale of New York” by The Pogues.

But more importantly, this movie is actually funny. I laughed, and not in an uncomfortable, oh-my-god-I-can’t-believe-how-sexist-this-is way, but genuinely laughed. So this holiday, don’t sleep on No Sleep 'Til Christmas (sorry, not sorry).

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