Hold on: there’s An En Vogue Christmas movie? Don’t let go, Lifetime, you’re never gonna get it. Whatever.
Despite 80-90% of the stuff I post on here, I am not made of stone. If I see a listing for a TV movie titled An En Vogue Christmas, you better believe I will watch. Yes, it’s a holiday movie (hmmm) on Lifetime (hmmmmmmmmm), but when they have the actual singers playing themselves some liberties can be taken.1
Let me be clear: this movie is fiction and not a biopic. You will know that to be the case about 10 seconds in when the current configuration of the group—original members Terry Ellis and Cindy Herron along with Rhona Bennett—are seen as up-and-comers at the Opera House nightclub. Never mind that Bennett didn’t join the group until 2003. Or that the group was a quartet2 for 20 of its 25 years. Or that they had other songs besides “Free Your Mind,”which you had better enjoy because you will hear it A LOT in this two-hour film.
The main story actually revolves around Kendall (Genelle Williams), the daughter of the Opera House owner and niece of the house manager Marty (David Allen Grier). As an adult, Kendall has become a talent manager herself and learns that the Opera House will be closing down. Marty needs some sort of Christmas miracle to keep the place afloat, so Kendall tries to reunite En Vogue for a Christmas show.3 Although the women of the trio have their own assorted dramz, the crux of the story rests on Kendall coming to terms with the truth about her father who passed away when she was younger.
The main story is not too terribly interesting, which is why the movie needs En Vogue to hook the viewer. However, this movie could have easily been “A Lisa Lisa and Cult Jam Christmas” or “A Nu Shooz Christmas” or “A Spice Girls Christmas”4 without affecting the story one iota. Fortunately, the trio is game and are actually in the Top 4 of acting chops in this particular cast.
Is An En Vogue Christmas appointment TV? Not at all. But we do get to hear the women sing quite a bit—more than just “Free Your Mind”—and they can still jam on the harmonies. This will make pleasant background noise on a wintry afternoon.