“Holiday in the Wild” serves as a cliche, yet meaningful Netflix holiday film

Photo courtesy of IMDb.

By Madalyn Watson | Arts and Life Editor

The new Netflix Original film “Holiday in the Wild” was released Nov. 1 — just in time to help students with Christmas carols already stuck in their heads get their quick holiday fix.

The film follows former veterinarian Kate (played by Kristin Davis, well-known for her role as Charlotte in “Sex and the City”) as she searches for meaning in her life after her son goes off to college and her husband asks for a divorce.

Not wanting to waste the tickets and reservations purchased for her second honeymoon with her husband, she decides to travel to Zambia alone.

During an awkward dinner-for-one at her resort, Derek (Rob Lowe), a man at the bar, attempts to have a conversation with her.

I feel like I shouldn’t have to say this, but Rob Lowe was Sodapop from “The Outsiders” and the perfect Chris Traeger from “Parks and Recreation”— his name on this film could quite possibly be the primary reason I chose “Holiday in the Wild” over all other options on Netflix.

While distraught, embarrassed and irritated with Derek, Kate confesses her struggles to him before leaving the dining room in a huff. However, as if it was fate, the next morning Derek winds up being her pilot for her flight to the next resort.

The plot really starts to pick up when Derek has to make an emergency landing to help a baby elephant traumatized by poachers who killed its mother. As men from an animal sanctuary arrive, Kate offers her experience as a vet and tries to help before developing a bond with the elephant… and Derek.

“Holiday in the Wild” is a fairly typical Christmas romantic comedy, but is set on the beautiful plains of Africa, with baby elephants playing in the background.

I must admit that I didn’t expect much out of another Christmas romance story, but the setting and the message of this film made it a surprisingly enjoyable hour and 26 minutes.

The movie, which features real elephants, has been in the works for over four years. It was inspired by Davis’ love for and philanthropic work with the endangered creatures, so the filmmakers focused on ethical treatment of the animals throughout the entire production.

None of the elephants in the film were traditionally trained like most animals that make it big in Hollywood today. Instead, the crew had to find a real elephant sanctuary for orphaned and sick elephants that would allow them to film.

Even though I enjoyed the film, a decent amount of the dialogue was stilted and cliche.

“That’s the thing about elephants, they read your soul,” Rob Lowe’s character said in a deeply serious tone of voice that never quite fit right in the film. That’s it— that was my favorite line of dialogue in the film.

Another quote that was deep, yet completely irrelevant to the plot, was spoken as Derek showed Kate a herd of buffalo. “Some people say it’s the most dangerous animal out here,” Derek said. “But it’s not. We are.”

This line of dialogue would have made more sense in possibly another context, or even another film, but in “Holiday in the Wild” it just seemed like a cheesy way to make his character appear mysteriously misunderstood and sexy.

Although elephants are magnificent creatures that I keep very close to my heart, I would not suggest this film unless you have a real hankering for a cheesy Christmas rom-com, elephants or Rob Lowe with his shirt on (for the majority of the film).

I give it a 6.5/10.