A happy and merry Christ-miz to all of you! Welcome to the holiday edition of the At Odds with Wrestling homework assignment. Each and every week without a major wrestling pay per view, the hosts of the podcast assign each other a classic wrestling show to enjoy. However, this time of the year is special. For this time of year we gather around the Yule Log and watch a Christmas themed movie starring WWE Superstar the Miz. Last year we all watched Santa’s Little Helper. This year the Miz is part of Christmas Bounty.
We open with the starring woman of this movie, Francia Raisa as Tory Bell. She is a teacher at some sort of elite noses up in the air private school in the City, which just happens to be having a Christmas pageant this evening. Is this a Christmas themed movie, or does it just take place around Christmas? Stay tuned!
Tory is herding students around and trying to do a hundred things at once, and so far this feels like a by the numbers Hallmark movie. Her very dopey fiance, Will Greenberg as James, shows up and isn’t her life just perfect? A student’s mom tells Tory that her son is missing and Tory looks out the window to see the kid being led into a vehicle outside. Tory tells James she’ll catch up to him. Then she flies out the window, chases down the truck, and jumps on the hood! It turns out the kid’s dad was taking him for Christmas, but without permission. Tory tells the dad to call the police on himself, then she turns around and is the adorable teacher again.
Later, James is getting Tory ready to meet his parents. Much snobbery and old money is displayed. Tory feels out of place but is trying to fake it until she makes it, because she loves James so much. Out of nowhere Tory receives a phone call. Someone is out of jail and is coming for her. She leaves James and his parents with no explanation.
Now we’re back in Jersey where Tory rejoins her bounty hunter family. From the looks of her parents, Tory is adopted. Or maybe her parents have had some work done over the years. Her mom certainly has.
Tory and her family are going to track down Manucci (Aleks Paunovic). He’s eating spaghetti inside of a warehouse, like you do. This feels like a food based version of Clue. He also looks like if Wardlow and Luther Reigns were merged into one large but ultimately untalented wrestler. Tory and her family corner Manucci when James suddenly appears! Turns out James and Tory have some sort of cute not creepy at all app on their phone that lets them know where the other one is at all times. James tracked down Tory thinking he’s acting as a helpful fiance. He just gets in the way of the gunfight and passes out or is knocked unconscious at some point. When James comes to he is in the Bell home and Tory is trying to not reveal her family’s secrets to him. This involves a lot of covering things up and overall silliness.
James is naive or maybe even dumb and just rolls with things. Except he refuses to roll with Tory’s ex-boyfriend Mikey Muscles (the Miz). Tory’s childhood best friend and turned up to 11 Jersey Girl, Liz (Chelan Simmons) doesn’t know when to keep her mouth shut throughout the movie.
I didn’t take notes on this movie because it didn’t feel worth the paper, so let’s skip ahead here. Tory and her family are trying to plant a bug the size of a brick on Manucci’s girlfriend. Actually, this is a step back because Tory meets Liz again in this scene. See how good the movie is? Her family and Mikey beat up the body guards. Tory plans the bug. It’s very obvious and the girlfriend hands it over to Manucci as soon as they meet up. I know I’m out of order here but I refuse to watch the movie again.
Alright, so the Bell family is trying to figure out how to take down Manucci but they also need down time and James wants to get to know them. So there’s a bar scene with Tory, James, Liz, and Mikey. James is awkward as hell. Things come out. Ex-boyfriend things. Mikey is still in love with Tory kind of things. James is getting more and more insecure. At this point I’m convinced James is the true bad guy of the movie. His stupidity is all a front and he’s actually a brilliant mob boss that Manucci works for. That would have been interesting. That may have been a good movie. That is not what happens here.
Tory and the gang start to put the pieces together and realize Manucci and his lady are getting married. In the warehouse. Because they need a location where they can all gather in secrecy. Not because the movie didn’t have a budget for anything else.
James gets kidnapped. Everyone meets at the warehouse for the wedding/final battle. The fights are really bad with little extra jumps added in to seem dramatic but really it looks more like a toddler with too much energy throwing in a little extra flourish. James is recused. Manucci is arrested. Tory and Mikey save the day. Tory celebrates with James, who dumps her! He loves her but doesn’t want to hold her back from her real life. This is where she belongs. Tory is so upset she immediately runs after Mikey’s car, catches it by landing on the roof, then straddles him and makes out. I think James is on the other side of the ambulance so he doesn’t see any of this. Good thing. I would feel bad if he had to see his ex as of two minutes ago fiance so emotionally upset.
The entire story of the movie is this love triangle which is barely set up. There’s no reason to care who Tory ends up with. It doesn’t help that the whole time I’m expecting James to turn heel, which he does not do. For being the “star” of the movie I think the Miz might be 4th or even 5th for screen time. Which gives no time to care about him, or care about his love for Tory. Also who gets married at Christmas in a warehouse? Christmas was featured in this movie for the pageant at the school and really that was it. The action sequences are sad. I think it’s actually worse than the Hallmark and Lifetime holiday movies it attempts to emulate. The script wreaks of homework that is handed in on time but there was no attempt to actually do a good job. But even a bad grade is better than a zero.
Santa’s Little Helper actually had a story, some heart, and a love story that was obvious but still fun to watch. Christmas Bounty is just fan fiction V.I.P. but without cheesecake. Ohhh, Christmas cheesecake.