Saturday, November 28, 2020

Plot Twins: The Plus One Pact and Holidate

The Plus One Pact by Portia Macintosh is one of the new books that I managed to finish recently. It is about Cara, who is having a hard time finding someone, not for lack of trying. With a list of events that would require a date, she agrees to an arrangement with her new friend Millsy to be each other’s date for their respective events. No commitment, just friendship, and a person to be with during the events they need to go to. Sounded simple enough until it was not.

Credit: Boldwood Books

Just like the book, two people decide to become each other’s date for the holidays in the Netflix movie called Holidate, which stars Emma Roberts and Luke Bracey. With holidays and events to attend where she does not want her family trying to get her to date or to set her up with someone, Sloane (Emma Roberts) reluctantly agrees to Jackson’s (Luke Bracey) proposal to be holidates. A commitment-free, platonic, no-benefits arrangement.

The movie and the book share a plot so I could not help but compare the two with each other. I think both had good and bad points. If all their good points were combined it would have been a really great book (or movie, depending on what you prefer).

First, there is the aspect of how the guy treats the girl. With the book, Millsy goes and gives Cara a makeover. While the book does say that she looks great, I think it is not a good start in a romance for the guy to want to change the girl. It is like you are saying that you need to change to be the kind of girl that a man would want. 

On the other hand, with Jackson and Sloane in the movie, change is not even discussed. I liked that there was no need to change anyone and that they both accepted one another as they were. 

Second, the chemistry. I know that one is just a book and chemistry is something you need to see, but I felt like Cara and Millsy had a lot of uncertain moments with each other compared to Jackson and Sloane. There was an easy banter between them and there was no hesitation with each other (until the feelings got real, anyway). Cara and Millsy were a bit of a slow burn compared to Jackson and Sloane.

Third, the funny moments. Both the book and the movie had funny situations that made them situation entertaining. I just did not like how Kristin Chenoweth was made into comic relief with her outrageous holidates in the movie. I thought she deserved better than that. 

I felt that Holidate felt more realistic compared to The Plus One Pact. To me, Millsy felt too good to be true a lot of times, whereas the leads of Holidate were both flawed enough to feel real and relatable. 

It might sound that I prefer Holidate to The Plus One Pact, but as I said, both had their highs and lows. I thought that Holidate had its moments, but it also had room for improvement. I particularly did not like the fact that in the end, all the women ended up with a man -- like women need to end up with someone to be happy (then again it was supposed to be a rom-com so that was a given). 

The Plus One Pact, on the other hand, might have a male lead that is too good to be true and took a while to develop the romance, but it did have a satisfying ending. 

Apparently, this whole holidate thing is a trend in real life. Both the book and the movie gave me a primer on what this new non-dating (but technically dating) thing is. Both stories ended up in a romance, so this thing must be just a start or jump-off point to people eventually getting into a real relationship.

If anyone is interested, The Plus One Pact is available on Kindle and Holidate is on Netflix. Check them out and leave a comment if you agree with my review!


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