The Christmas Set-Up (2020 Lifetime)
Synopsis (via Lifetime)
As they enjoy the local holidays together, Hugo and Patrick’s attraction to each other is undeniable, but as Hugo receives word of a big promotion requiring a move to London, he must decide what is most important to him.
Hugo is a dedicated lawyer and hopes to land a partner position at his law firm. When he asks about the opening, Mr. Vougel doesn’t think Hugo is a good fit. Hugo gives an ultimatum and shares the job is his Christmas wish; Mr. Vougle gives him a blank stare. Rejected, Hugo meets up with his BFF Madelyn to go ice staking. (We know this because they are wearing ice skates, casually over their shoulders, while talking!) He invites Madelyn to come home with him to Milwaukee.
Hugo’s mother, Kate, (Queen/Gay Icon Fran Drescher) is thrilled and delivers her lines with her typical flare. “You’re so SKINNY!” I love it. Kate is a planner and has Hugo and Maddie scheduled within an inch of their lives. Kate takes Maddie to run errands, leaving Hugo home to wait for a Christmas tree delivery. (Totally setting him up for a meet cute.)
When the tree delivery comes, it is delivered by a handsome, rugged man named Patrick. Hugo is so taken with Patrick that he falls down the stairs stumbling over himself to answer the door. Hugo offers to help bring in the tree and adorably puts on a toolbelt. Patrick recognizes Hugo and makes awkward (double entendered) small talk. The men are vibing, and it is cute. Nice chemistry here. Hugo keeps it weird and tips Patrick.
Hugo gushes to Maddie about Patrick and gets out of the high school yearbook. Patrick was out in high school, and Hugo didn’t come out till college. So, they never had an opportunity to date. They notice Patrick left his work gloves behind giving Hugo a reason to see him again.
Side Christmas story. The town’s historic train station is being demolished, ruining TRADITION!! Fran Drescher is pissed about it and has started multiple protests in town. She was arrested for organizing a sit in to save the train station.
At the Christmas tree farm, Maddie and Hugo find Patrick and return his gloves. Patrick is thankful and reveals that he is the inventor of an app called Cassandra. (Which is like a magic 8-ball) He sold the app and has enough money to retire, which is why he is helping his dad run the Christmas Tree farm. Patrick mistakes Maddie for Hugo’s wife, and everyone laughs in his face. Fran Drescher clears things up and even hits on Patrick’s father, Frank. (Hugo is horrified.)
Patrick and Hugo decided to meet up at the Christmas tree lot for a hot chocolate date. Patrick is late, and Hugo is discouraged. He ends the night before it even begins. The next day Patrick stops by to apologize, and Fran Drescher leaves them to bond while decorating. Patrick learns that Hugo lawyer and isn’t impressed.
When Cousin Jimmy comes down with a bout of sciatica, Hugo has to step in as the town Santa. In a TV movie first, Patrick sexily helps take in Hugo’s Santa costume. They set up a second attempt at a date.
Patrick sets up an adorable picnic with homemade cookies. Patrick and Hugo share memories of one another while growing up. Hugo idolized Patrick for being out in high school and being popular. They talk about past relationships and the town becoming more inclusive with a queer youth center and local drag scene.
The train station is back to give us a break from all the romance. Fran Drescher takes Maddie and Hugo to the station and walks them through her decorating plans. Aidan, Hugo’s brother, comes home from Germany and is very hot. Maddie thinks so too and sets her sights on him. They all Christmas carol while wearing ridiculous hats. The singing isn’t good, but at least they are together!
Hugo gets a call from his firm and lands a position as a partner in the London office. He tells Maddie, who is thrilled for her friend but understands why he is conflicted. She also doesn’t want him to leave, he is her BFF.
As they decorate the old train station, Hugo and Patrick grow closer. So do Maddie and Aidan, who are pushed together by Fran Drescher. (The Mommie matchmaker!) Patrick asks if Hugo has considered moving home. They get distracted by finding an old office for the train station owner who started the Christmas station tradition, who also may have been gay. (Later, Hugo finds a photo that confirms this. It is a beautiful but sad moment because the two men are holding pinkies in the photograph because they couldn’t embrace in a photo.) They almost kiss but are interrupted by a Cassandra alert. Patrick has another date planned.
They drive to the middle of nowhere and sit in the bed of Patrick’s truck to “look at the northern lights.” Somehow they see them? I’m not a scientist and I don’t care, because Patrick and Hugo share a kiss in the back of the truck.
The family plays a Christmas trivia game and invites Patrick to join. Patrick enjoys a new family tradition and has a great time. Everyone is having fun until Maddie spills the secret about the job offer/relocating to London. Patrick is shocked but instantly kind and supportive of the fantastic job opportunity.
Hugo works on creating a tiny wooden town for his mother. Since he is a lawyer, he finds another surprise with the lease contract got the train station that might prevent it from being demolished.
Patrick invites Hugo, Maddie, and Adian to a pop-up drag show. (YAS!) While Gladys Klaus performs, Patrick and Hugo have a heart to heart conversation. Then Hugo is brought up on stage to sing “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” in full. He is shy but adorable. Patrick gets emotional and storms off.
It is Christmas eve, and the brothers surprise Fran Drescher with the miniature town. Hugo is getting ready to go back home and prepare for his big move. Maddie decides to stay in town to celebrate New Years’ with Adian. They are going to try and do a long-distance relationship. Hugo makes a speech about diversity and saving the historical landmark.
Patrick shows up, and Hugo shares the picture with him. They decide that if those men could overcome the obstacles that they faced, they can too.
The Christmas Train pulls into town, and everyone rushes out to see. The towns people load up gifts for the children. Hugo and Patrick hold hands in the same spot as the men did 100 years ago. They kiss as Fran Drescher takes their picture. It is a beautiful ending.
Minority Report: Madelyn, Mr. Vougel, Cousin Jimmy,
I love that the movie acknowledges the LGBTQ people who came before us and the struggles they faced just to love one another.
Pat Mills, an LGBTQ director, did a great job on the film.
🎄🎄🎄🎄🎄(5 Christmas Trees)
🍷 (1 glass of wine required.)
*Photo Credit: © 2020 Lifetime