Thursday, 4 December 2014

The Christmas Spirit (2013)

If I'd known beforehand that this was based on a story idea by star Nicollette Sheridan then I may have been hesitant to give it my time. Not that I have anything personal against Sheridan. I don't know her. I can't, off the top of my head, think of anything that I've seen her in (although I am well aware of her success as part of the Desperate Housewives group). It's just never a good sign when someone attempts to give their acting career a kickstart with a movie that springs from their own imagination. It can often lead to unenjoyable ego trips. Prime examples being almost every Steven Seagal movie from the past two decades.

Anyway, let me get to the movie. Sheridan plays a woman named Charlotte Hart. Bart Johnson plays a man named Daniel Huntslar. The two of them meet, get along, and then find themselves on opposite sides of the fence when it comes to light that Huntslar is looking to buy up a lot of businesses in the area, in order to make a lot of money. Charlotte doesn't think that the offer on the table will make up for the potential negative impact on the lives of the many residents. But when one crashes their car into the other, the bickering comes to a temporary halt as they find themselves wandering aroung as spirits. They move around town, sometimes working together to help out the residents and sometimes working to either help (Daniel) or hinder (Charlotte) the potential sale.

Although I wouldn't say that this is actually a terrible film, considering the KIND of film it is setting out to be, it just ends up so horribly uninteresting, and slightly smug, that it's hard to care about anyone onscreen. Director Jack Angelo, who also developed Sheridan's story idea, seems to know that something good could be made here, but either loses interest or just didn't have the resources to make it the best that it could be.

Sheridan is fine, I guess, in her role. I'm not going to rush away to watch all of those Desperate Housewives episodes, but I'm also not rushing away to craft a voodoo doll in her likeness. Johnson is a good match as her male co-star. You can imagine the two of them being a horrible, vomit-inducing, power couple. Mind you, it is the season for such bouts of nausea. Olympia Dukakis is the biggest name in the cast list, from what I can see, and she does a good job with her few scenes, playing an old woman who can see our lead characters, even when they've transformed into spirits. Sammi Hanratty and Tristan Leabu do well as Charlotte's niece and nephew, respectively. Amanda Foreman is required to look harried, yet also emotionally strong, and she does that fine.

Oh, I forgot to mention everyone else coming onscreen long enough to wonder at events occurring, receive messages from people who couldn't possibly send messages, and accept a few other things that have no rational explanation. Christmas is the time to believe in the unbelievable - that's something you might say. You'd be right, but it still doesn't help make movies like this feel any less slapdash and lazy.

The Christmas Spirit is below average, and that's the bottom line. It could have done enough to become average, but that wasn't to be. Yet another one that you can tolerate in the background while wrapping up the presents and/or decorating the tree, although even then you may end up changing the channel.


Here is a 20-pack you may enjoy more -

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