comedy Family Romance

Operation Christmas Drop

The true meaning of Christmas is presented in the form of a romcom.

I’d give you my usual complaint about how Christmas movies always have to arrive on DVD and Blu-Ray in February instead of November, but “Operation Christmas Drop” is on Netflix. I trust this streaming site has the sense to know when holiday movies are supposed to stick out. No need to be repetitive here.

Ever since 1952, Operation Christmas Drop is a military tradition when the Air Force sends presents and supplies to islanders in need during the holidays. It’s not just there, but a few other countries participate in it as well. I didn’t even know this was a thing, but now I see that it is. I have a lot more to learn about life. Anyway, the movie, itself, is predictable and silly at times, but mostly, it has a lot of Christmas spirit, and two sweet and lovable leads. In fact, “Operation Christmas Drop” is just as sweet as a candy cane.

It stars Alexander Ludwig as a Christmas-loving Air Force cargo pilot named Andrew, and Kat Graham (“All Eyez On Me,” “Cut Throat City”) as an eager legislative aide named Erica. Both these young people can’t make it to their homes for the holidays, and their stars cross when the Congresswoman Bradford (Virginia Madsen) sends Erica to evaluate the Air Force base in Guam (this is the first movie to be filmed there) and Andrew must accompany her.

Erica lost her mother and has trouble adjusting with her stepmother, while Andrew is trying to raise money for the drop. When these two meet, they have to be the obligatory characters, who trade one-liners and wise cracks with, and the more they get to know each other, the more they begin to like each other. The Christmas spirit comes when Andrew shows Erica his enjoyment of the holidays in Guam, and in a subplot when Bradford disapproves of Operation Christmas Drop, but eventually manages to see the joy and serenity inside it.

Parts of the movie feel silly and we can pretty much guess the outcome, but you just have to see “Operation Christmas Drop” for its kindness and faith. It’s a Christmas movie that doesn’t cater to what its targeted audience wants, and it’s a family film, it wants to remind people on what the season is all about. It’s better to give than it is to receive, and everyone should know that.

Ludwig and Graham both have the kind of chemistry we often see in love stories-mismatched characters who end up liking each other-and it’s one of those films to deliver on that. Forget all the ads, commercialism, and routine awkward moments, and just let these talents portray human beings, who must come to terms with their realities. And let the spirit of the season shake things up for them.

Last week, I panned the other made-for-Netflix holiday romcom “Holidate” for its mean-spirited and labored humor and unlikable supporting characters, even though I liked it when the leads Emma Roberts and Luke Bracye both did their best to be serious. “Operation Christmas Drop” is obviously much better than that film for all the reasons I’ve mentioned. You people deserve holiday movies with positive messages and love like in “It’s a Wonderful Life,” “Elf,” and “White Christmas.” I can’t call it a holiday classic on par with those films, but I can say, and I’ll say it again: it has a lot of holiday spirit.

Rating: 3 out of 4.

Streaming on Netflix

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