It could’ve been worse. I could have paid to see Stars Fell on Alabama in a theater. Instead, I was able to float mindlessly through this romantic dramedy as if it were just some leftover entry in the Hallmark/Lifetime/Netflix Christmas movie rotation. Except there is no holiday. Just a high school reunion – and a junior varsity version of the much, much, much better romantic drama Sweet Home Alabama. Please don’t get them confused.

Here’s the gist: A cute and successful Hollywood agent named Bryce Dixon (James Maslow) needs a date for his 15 year high school reunion in Willow Springs, Alabama. On a whim, he tells some pals that he’s dating his biggest client, Madison Belle (Ciara Hanna), a starlet on the cusp of breaking through. Problem is, Bryce never mixes business with his personal life, and Madison is sort of in a relationship with an egotistical rock star, Zane Thomas (Zebedee Row). Regardless, the two jet off to Alabama and pretend they’ve been dating “for a while.” They cycle through a bunch of pre-reunion events, where Madison instantly charms Bryce’s circle of friends and, of course, Bryce himself. The weekend is going swimmingly, save for a couple of lame hiccups, and then Zane shows up to woo Madison back. It’s all extremely predictable and cliched and has no business running 103 minutes. 90 would have been plenty.

Aging fans of the Nickelodeon boyband Big Time Rush may enjoy seeing James Maslow all grown up in a leading role (I don’t count his stints on Dancing with the Stars and Celebrity Big Brother). Everyone else should probably skip it – or better yet, re-watch Sweet Home Alabama!

Stars Fell on Alabama releases on VOD January 8.

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