Lifetime’s newest It’s a Wonderful Lifetime offering, Steppin’ into the Holiday asks the question “Is there anything that says Christmas more than…a dance recital?” If you have two left feet like me, there are probably plenty of things. I may not have the skills, but I do have a Blu-ray of White Christmas I put on every year. So Christmas and dance are at least tangentially related in my mind.
Steppin’ into the Holiday stars Mario Lopez as Billy Holiday, a former Broadway star whose career has taken a bit of a downturn after being fired from his role as producer and judge of “Celebrity Dance Off” – a not-too-subtle reference to Dancing with the Stars. In need of a bit of a career reboot, he heads back home for the holidays. There, he intends to lay low for a while. Instead, he finds himself drawn to Rae (Jana Kramer) the owner of a local dance studio. Together, the two put on a dance recital/talent show that brings the entire town together. While giving Billy the purpose he’s been seeking, naturally.
It doesn’t have quite enough dancing (and absolutely no singing) to qualify as a modern take on the old-time musicals. That said, it’s a feel-good film with some solid dance moves. Especially by some of the kids in the supporting cast. Billy’s nephew, Junior (Enzo Rodriguez), in particular gets to show off some dancing skills. His character is also utilized to convey the message “fame is great, but it’s also really freaking important to get an education. So go study your geography, kid.” (And, hey, I can’t argue with that.)
It’s also no surprise to find that Lopez has a dance background, given how comfortable he looks when he’s dancing. (As for Kramer, she apparently had a fairly successful season of Dancing with the Stars, coming in fourth place.)
It’s truly the dancing that distinguishes Steppin’ into the Holiday from the other movies in the 2022 It’s a Wonderful Lifetime slate Otherwise, it’s a pretty by-the-book holiday flick. Not that I have any problem with that. There’s a reason I’ve watched about a hundred of these films so far this season.
That said, outside of the dancing, if there’s one other stand-out, memorable moment for Steppin’ into the Holiday, it would have to be the scene where Billy first sees Rae in the dance studio. Lopez and Kramer have good chemistry throughout the movie. They really do sell the audience on the idea that their characters would logically end up together. But in this first scene together, Lopez plays Billy like a man who was just struck by lightning. If there’s a movie in the Lifetime catalogue with a man who fell in love at first sight, this is it.
Okay, yes, “love at first sight” in the real world is a frankly terrible idea that rarely ends well. But this Christmas. And, more importantly, it’s the movies. Where “love at first sight” just adds a touch of magic.
Agree? Disagree? What did you think of Steppin’ into the Holiday? Share with us in the comments below!