It may still be November but the holiday cheer is coming in strong with the release of EXmas (a FreeVee original movie available on Prime Video in Canada), starring Canadian Robbie Amell and Gossip Girl legend Leighton Meester.
While this is only the first Christmas movie we've seen this year, it's likely to be one of our favourites of the season.
What is 'Exmas' about?
EXmas is centred around Graham (Amell) and his ex-fiancée Ali (Meester). As Ali says to her friends at the beginning of the film, "Just because I dumped him doesn't mean I have to dump the family."
While many people likely won't agree with that argument, it's the basis of the tension in the movie.
Graham breaks the news to his family that he won't be coming home for the holidays to meet his work commitments, but Ali accepts an invitation from his parents Jeannie (Kathryn Greenwood) and Dennis (Michael Hitchcock) to celebrate with them.
But surprise, Graham ends up making it to the family home after all and he's completely thrown off when he sees Ali at the house. That prompts the exes to begin a battle of who ultimately gets to stay with the family for Christmas.
EXmas finds that balance you want in a holiday film, leaning into the comfort of the familiar, but adding a little something extra, which in this case is a storyline that's odd but still believable enough to work. The shenanigans in the story are also perfectly executed by Meester and Amell.
How Robbie Amell's 'Exmas' character is linked to 'Upload'
Speaking about EXmas ahead of its release, Amell revealed that the character of Graham was actually written with his character Nathan, from the popular comedy Upload on Prime Video, in mind.
"There's been so many Christmas movies and I've never seen one where it's, the ex shows up and the family wants them there," Amell told Yahoo Canada. "My character is going like, 'What is happening? You can't do this. This isn't okay!'"
"I liked the script, the character was someone I felt like I could very much play. ... I was told that [it was written with] my Upload character as the kind of the template for Graham, which makes sense reading it."
While it's clear that Meester and Amell clearly thrive acting off of each other on screen, Amell himself highlighted working with the Gossip Girl alum as a particular highlight from the experience.
"I heard that Leighton was up for it and I'm a big fan of hers," Amell said. "I didn't realize how funny she was."
"My wife and I watched [Single Parents] ... and we love that, so I knew she could do comedy, but I didn't really realize she was this funny. She was great."
Whether you're well into the holiday preparation or waiting a bit longer to go into full blown holiday mode, Exmas proves to be a delightful, lighthearted and just plain fun watch.
Where to watch 'Exmas'
Exmas, a FreeVee original movie, is available to watch on Prime Video in Canada.