Although it's admittedly a very cheap movie, Catch A Christmas Star tries to do the best it can with limited resources. And its main resource is the lovely Shannon Elizabeth, which was enough to keep me happy for most of the runtime.
Elizabeth plays a pop star, Nikki Crandon, who is about to head back to her home town for a big Christmas concert and a major push for her latest album. As she arrives in town, one young girl (Julia Lalonde) finds out that her widowed father (Steve Byers) used to date Nikki. In fact, he may still hold a candle for her. The girl heads off, with little brother (Kyle Harrison Breitkopf) in tow, to make something happen. She just doesn't really know how to do it.
Directed by John Bradshaw, and written by Rickie Castaneda, I have to say that this is better than some of their other collaborations. There are a number of fairly painless songs throughout the soundtrack, the characters are all enjoyable enough, and the main romantic hurdle - seeing what can happen under the glare of the media spotlight - is a fun one that hasn't been overused, in my experience anyway.
The leads help immensely. Elizabeth is always watchable, Byers is nice enough for the main potential romance to be believable, Lalonde and Breitkopf are both good, with the former shining extra bright in a couple of scenes that allow her to show some solid acting chops, and Christopher Jacot is fairly amusing as Carmine, assistant to Elizabeth's character, and also a friend when she needs one most.
What really doesn't help is the fact that the film incorporates moments that should have been left to the imagination. A major pop star making a TV appearance at a major event? Feel free to just play some audio and show the reactions of other characters instead of placing Elizabeth and some other unfortunate actress in front of some inferior green screen work. A major pop star performing a major concert? Again, perhaps audio work would be best, or to just skip over that moment entirely, instead of showing some stock crowd footage before cutting to . . . . . . . . . . . . . a shot that shows us the backs of about a dozen people, at most, pretending to be part of a huge crowd event. It just doesn't work. Even focusing on shots that JUST show Elizabeth singing away doesn't help. Viewers will watch the scene and keep thinking that this is a big-budget moment created for about $10.
I guess you could take off a point or two if you don't like Shannon Elizabeth as much as I do, which is a lot, but you may be pleasantly surprised to find that there are enough other nice touches here, outwith the budgetary constraints, to make this worth a watch. I'm not going to stake my reputation on it though. Mainly because it's too big a gamble, but also because I have NO reputation worth staking.
Can't find this on shiny disc just now, but here are some other festive flicks to consider - http://www.amazon.com/Family-Christmas-Collection-Cupid-Boston/dp/B00DNLZRXI/ref=sr_1_13?ie=UTF8&qid=1418577845&sr=8-13&keywords=catch+a+christmas+star