Steppin’ into the Holiday (2022 Lifetime)

Steppin’ Into the Holiday

Steppin’ into the Holiday (2022 Lifetime)

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Cast: Jana Kramer, Mario Lopez, Cheri Oteri, Carla Jimenez, Mario Cantone

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Synopsis (via Lifetime)

Former Broadway star Billy Holiday (Lopez) returns to his hometown for Christmas after being abruptly fired as the host-producer-judge of the hit TV series Celebrity Dance Off. While there, he encounters Rae (Kramer), the charismatic owner of the local dance studio, where Billy’s 12-year-old nephew is her standout student. This Christmas, Rae is planning a dance recital fundraiser with the goal of taking her students to see a Broadway show in New York City. Billy volunteers to help Rae with the recital by reviving the town’s traditional Christmas Eve show, which was once a showcase for local talent. With Billy’s knack for producing and Rae’s knowledge of all things local, their collaboration clicks and romantic sparks start flying!

Recap/Wine Thoughts

The movie begins with a sweeping wide camera angle and a slow zoom-in of Mario Lopez and Jana Kramer dancing in an empty town square. He asks her to tell him if they are still good, and she says for the show, at least, they are.

Flash to two weeks earlier, when Mario Lopez (Here, unfortunately, named Billy Holiday.) wraps on the latest season of Celebrity Dance Off. He meets with the network executive, Wayne (Sex and the City’s Mario Cantone), who blows smoke up his ass and tells Mario Lopez is the best television host in all of television, which we know isn’t true. (That would be Ann Curry) Ratings are down, and Mario Lopez is fired from the show. As Wayne leaves, he remarks, “God Bless the child who’s got his own.”

Access Hollywood breaks the news about the firing, and Mario’s mom encourages her son to come home. He considers it until his agent, Cheri Oteri, calls with more job offers. Pacoima Christmas Parade. She tells him to take a break and lay low until it all blows over. 

Back in Mario Lopez’s hometown, a former Broadway dancer named Rae opens a dance school and is fundraising for a New York trip for her dancers to see a Broadway show. Rae’s sister Phoebe runs the town diner and is a delight. 

Rae’s students are ready for the Christmas show, and Mario Lopez’s nephew, Junior, excitedly tells Rae to save some VIP seats for him.

When Mario Lopez comes to town, his sister Marissa puts him in a headlock and carries his bag. She is an EMT and is glad to have her brother back. (It seems like a genuine sibling relationship.)

While walking through town, Mario Lopez looks in on his nephew’s class and is impressed with their dancing. It is very hip hop inspired with lots of Poppin and lockin. Rae introduces herself, and they share the same life motto, balance on stage and balance in life. 

Irma, Mario’s mom, has a Christmas wish for her family to be under the same roof and demands that Mario, Marissa, and Jr. live in her house. Mario and Marissa have to share a room! 

Rae and Mario talk about her past dance experience and getting donations to take the kids to New York. He suggests turning the old town barn into a venue for the Christmas show. He sleeps on it and marinates on an idea.

Jr. is constantly filming TikToks instead of studying. He wants to be famous and doesn’t need to learn about anything. Mario Lopez tries to talk sense into him, but he isn’t the best example. Jr. gets a D on geography and has to retake the test. Marissa pulls him from the winter recital until he gets his grades up. 

Since Mario Lopez is unemployed (A phrase that has never been said because that man works!), he suggests rehabbing the barn and bringing back the Christmas holiday show. The barn isn’t in bad shape; it has working footlights, which is pretty cool, and a stage. All the old props and costumes are still in there as well. 

Random Mario Lopez dance number. Including tap AND Barrell Rolls.  

Marissa and her firefighter friends rehab the barn while Rae and Mario Lopez work on the show. A firefighter sings while working, and Mario gets the idea to put more townspeople in the show to build the community even into a talent. (It’s a heartwarming moment, but where were the hunk firefighters? Hello!?! Missed opportunity.) 

It’s a little late in the movie, but we get an audition montage. The town is pretty talented. There is a juggler who eats apples, a fake barbershop quartet, and some good young dancers. Rae wants to add Mario Lopez to the lineup because WHY WOULDN’T THEY! He is reluctant. 

Jana Kramer’s dance solo includes lots of modern dance elements. We learn that she was a backup dancer for Katy Perry but didn’t like life on the road and gave it up to teach dance at home. 

Mario Lopez invites Rae to his family’s house for dinner, and they talk about family traditions. They talk ambiguously about “making it big” and “opportunity.” She said she would be open to that if it came along; little does she know Cheri Oteri is working on a reality show pitch about Mario Lopez and the talent in his town. 

One of Jr.’s TikTiks goes viral (and airs on Access Hollywood), and the word gets out about the Christmas show; Mario Lopez is offered his hosting job back on the Celebrity Dance show. He also gets a reality show searching small towns for talent. Rae worries he will leave for work. How could a relationship work? 

Mario Lopez and Jana Kramer dance their duet. 

The Christmas talent show happens in a tight dance montage. Then a honky tonk song about Jesus plays while kids dance, and the crowd collective says, “awwwwwwww.” Then it is time for the vocalists and musicians. We see a REAL violin player and hear the firefighter singer nail “O Holy Night.”  

The show is a success and Mario Lopez tells Rae that he wants to make it work with her. He turns down the Celebrity Dance Off offer and takes the stage with Rae for a final dance. 

They almost kiss, but then everyone starts doing backflips!!!!!!!!!!! It’s the final dance number, and then they kiss! The end! 

Side Note

Jana Kramer’s Christmas sweater was WAYYYY cute. 

2006, Mario Lopez was a contestant in the 3rd season of Dancing with the Stars on ABC with then-girlfriend Karina Smirnoff. They finished in second place, losing to the team of Emmitt Smith and Cheryl Burke.

Lopez made his Broadway debut on April 15th 2008 in the revival of the musical A Chorus Line.

Minority Report:  Billy Holiday, Irma, Jr, Marissa, Wayne, 


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Christmas Trees represent Christmas vibes. *** I’ve updated the rating system. Wine is overall enjoyment (NOT a value judgment) on a 1-5 scale.

 I will use the following tags for those who want to know if they should watch or skip: Pour it Up (Would Recommend) or Put A Cork In It (Would Not Recommend). 

Overall rating

Christmas Feels

🎄🎄🎄🎄 (4 Christmas Tree)

Enjoyment Level: 🍷🍷🍷🍷 (4 glasses of wine.)

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