Stream It or Skip It: ‘A Cozy Christmas Inn’ on Hallmark Proves Jodie Sweetin Is the Holiday’s Next Big Star

Hallmark kicks off its second weekend of holiday movies with A Cozy Christmas Inn. The film marks the return of the iconic Jodie Sweetin to Hallmark’s holiday slate and pairs her with leading man David O’Donnell. A Cozy Christmas Inn has all the trappings of a classic Hallmark movie, but can Sweetin and O’Donnell take this one to the next level and turn out a top-tier holiday movie? 

The Gist: Jodie Sweetin plays Erika, a big city real estate exec whose boss Sharon (Vivica A. Fox) gives her a very important mission: fly to Alaska and convince the owner of the Garland Inn to sell the cozy getaway to her. There’s just one major wrinkle in Sharon’s plan: Erika’s ex-boyfriend not only lives in Garland, he owns the Garland Inn! And this offer couldn’t come at a better time for Andy (David O’Donnell); tourism in Garland is dead and the inn can barely attract one couple at a time. Adding more pressure to the scenario is Andy’s dad Frank (Brian Doyle-Murray), who wants his son to sell so he can hurry up and join the family shipping business. Will Andy cave and sell the inn? Will big city Erika be won over by Garland’s small-town charm? And more importantly: will Erika and Andy pick up where they left off all those years ago?

Sidenote: A Cozy Christmas Inn is the sequel to the 2014 Hallmark movie Christmas Under Wraps… which starred Sweetin’s TV sister Candace Camerone Bure. David O’Donnell, Brian Doyle-Murray, and Page Petrucka all reprise their roles — but don’t worry about being lost if you haven’t seen Christmas Under Wraps. For example, I have not seen Christmas Under Wraps, nor did I know this was a sequel, and I wasn’t lost for a second.

What Movies Will It Remind You Of?: There are some Sweet Home Alabama vibes in this one, and Erika’s interactions with the locals feels a lot like Phil’s dynamic with the people of Punxsutawney in Groundhog Day. There’s also — SPOILERS — a bit of this movie and this movie, but I’m not gonna mention them by name and ruin it for you.

A Cozy Christmas Inn - Vivica A Fox
Photo: Hallmark

Performance Worth Watching: Vivica A. Fox turns in a pretty great performance as big boss Sharon. She’s kind of a Jenna Maroney/Jack Donaghy mix, and it makes me want to see Vivica A. Fox in even more comedic roles. I also gotta highlight Jennifer Aspen, who plays Frank’s executive assistant Claire. She is so very literal, a bit oblivious, and so sweet — even while completely undermining everything Andy says. 

Memorable Dialogue: If Hallmark isn’t already selling mugs with “That’s Garland for ya!” on them, they need to get with it.

A Holiday Tradition: Andy runs a blog for the Garland Inn that’s earned it a small bit of buzz. Every Christmas he posts about Santa’s overnight gift run, which he claims to have a front row seat for since the Garland Inn is in Santa’s flight path.

A Cozy Christmas Inn - Jodie and David
Photo: Hallmark

Two Turtle Doves: This is one of two Jodie-Sweetin-in-an-inn holiday movies coming to TV this year. There’s also Lifetime’s Merry Swissmas (November 5), wherein Sweetin’s character spends the holidays at her mom’s new inn in Switzerland and gets to flirt with the hunky manager (Tim Rozon from Schitt’s Creek).

Does the Title Make Any Sense?: It mostly does, although that depends on your definition of cozy. Me personally, I think this inn should be in a movie titled A Country Industrial Christmas Inn. The movie could’ve been called Checking Out for Christmas since you check out of an Inn, Erika is checking out the inn, and Erika and Andy are checking out each other. Maybe?

Our Take: After sitting out 2020 and 2021, Jodie Sweetin is back in rotation as one of the season’s biggest stars — and I am so glad to have her home on Hallmark. It feels especially right since this is the first year in a very long time that we’re not getting a Hallmark movie from Sweetin’s TV sister Candace Cameron Bure. And while I don’t want to pit the Tanner sisters against each other, Sweetin’s return — and a return like this — feels important enough to comment on: if Hallmark has a tinsel torch or evergreen baton to be passed, let it be passed from Bure to Sweetin.

A Cozy Christmas Inn - Jodie Sweetin
Photo: Hallmark

Sweetin is just that good in these movies. She is instantly likable, way more relatable — she feels like the kinda woman you either know or are, the one who’s always down to gossip and gripe over wine, the one who’s cooler than you but not by too much, y’know? In this film in particular, she has to play a professional from a city who goes to teeny town Alaska and interacts with surreal locals. While Sweetin gets across that Erika is mildly annoyed by everyone picking on her boots or the lack of a proper coffee shop, it never feels condescending.

Sweetin sets the tone for A Cozy Christmas Inn: it’s a Hallmark movie that knows it’s sweet and silly, but also has a surprising amount of smarts to it, too. Erika and Andy have a relationship that feels real, even if — or maybe especially because — Andy is a bit of a lovable goof. Their romance doesn’t follow the traditional Hallmark formula and dovetails with a classic Christmas story in a way I truly did not see coming.


A Cozy Christmas Inn - Brian Doyle Murray
Photo: Hallmark

On top of all that, A Cozy Christmas Inn takes the time to flesh out a wonderful supporting cast — like Page Petrucka’s Hattie, the local (re: only) restauranteur. She comes up with dishes like eggnog braised pork belly and is beside herself that her cafe now carries pink and blue sugar packets. Every character really has a part to play in the larger ensemble. Even Erika’s best friend Stephanie (Jessica Deshong) — she may be stuck with the thankless involved-via-telephone role, but she still has an important part to play in the story. Overall, this is a Hallmark movie that feels rich enough with characters, jokes, and surprises to merit watching all of the repeat airings it will get over the next two months.

Plus any movie that gives me more Brian Doyle-Murray at Christmas is fine by me.

Our Call: STREAM IT. We’re so very early in the holiday movie season, but A Cozy Christmas Inn is the one to beat.

A Cozy Christmas Inn premieres on Hallmark on Friday, October 28 at 8 p.m. ET