Wednesday 3 December 2014

Christmas Magic (2011)

Here we go. This is more like it. The typical TV movie that appears in the weeks leading up to Christmas, one that takes a half-recognisable star name (hey, you all may not know who the hell Lindy Booth is but I like her so don't start with the sarcasm yet) and drops her/him into a half-baked, lazy story that assumes holly and fairy lights are enough to distract viewers from the fact that they're watching rubbish.

Booth plays a career-minded young woman who uses her mobile phone while driving through some bad weather and ends up crashing. When she comes to she finds out that she's an angel. No wings, no halo, but an angel nonetheless, and one with a job to do. That job is to cheer up Scott Walker (Paul McGillion - think of Norm McDonald with absolutely no sense of humour and you're there) and to get him to rediscover some Christmas spirit. Scott has a lovely young daughter (Kiara Glasco) to look after, a failing restaurant, and some musical talent that he's left to stagnate since the death of his wife some years ago.

It beggars belief that it took three people to write this thing. Joany Kane, Kevin Commins and Rickie Castaneda. Kane came up with the original story, which means that the three of them had to put their heads together for a few days to . . . . . pretend to be fleshing it all out, I guess. Director John Bradshaw then simply had to set up the cameras, ensure that they weren't moved much, and make every set and design choice in line with the work that you would see on some cheap daytime soap opera.

Booth does gain the film some bonus points, she's a pleasant enough presence in the lead role and if you like her (as I do) then you should find this at least bearable, and Glasco is alright as the typical lovely child only found in these kinds of movies. Not once does she ever try to beg for a new games console or super duper toy, and she seems perfectly adjusted to her life, despite having a father with such major hang-ups. Derek McGrath isn't too bad either, playing the angel who gives Booth her assignment, and Tricia Braun and Teresa Pavlinek both benefit from having limited screentime. They're not bad, but they don't get much chance to dissuade us of that opinion anyway. McGillion, on the other hand, is just a wet blanket sitting in the middle of proceedings. I know that his character has suffered, hence the need for a magical intervention, but he's still just too uncharismatic to really be bothered about. In fact, he becomes downright irritating at times.

If you're happy to watch the kind of film in which strangers can meet up and then, within minutes, one can offer to help promote a business, and also offer to help babysit a young girl, then this might be passable entertainment for you. But bear in mind that it also has a rubbish song included, one that is used a few times during the third act.

It will kill just over 90 minutes, sure, but it may also kill off a little bit of your goodwill.


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