Here's a rare thing. It's a Christmas movie directed by someone helming their first feature, and written by someone who only has one other film to their credit (and THAT was directed by Brian Herzlinger, which means it will never be at the top of my prioritised viewing list . . . nobody who was there during those fun times will ever forget his constant spamming on IMDb for My Date With Drew *shudder*). And it's actually quite enjoyable.
Again, repeating the message for those who somehow miss it whenever I am discussing Christmas TV movies, being quite enjoyable in this field isn't the same as being quite enjoyable when compared to the vast selection of other movies out there. There are certain limitations that these kinds of films can never fully escape, usually in terms of budget and the list of seasonal tropes that should be checked off, but this one does a better job than most, possibly because writer Paula Rahn seems more interested in creating a spin on the classic Snow White tale than just making yet another holiday movie that joins with all of the others in some kind of cocoa-fuelled osmosis.
Michelle Randolph plays Blanca White, a young woman who is tricked by her evil stepmother (Carolyn Hennessy) and stepbrother (Rich Barnes). They somehow manage to wipe her memory and then have her dropped off at a motel, hoping that she stays there until everything is sorted with an inheritance that they don't want her to be a part of. The spell can only be broken by true love, of course (and that little clause is provided by a fun little scripted moment). But while Lucas Prince (Colt Prattes) tries to win her over, Blanca finds herself more connected to the handsome and lovely hunter (Liam McNeill). Oh, and there's a seven-piece band called the Holly Jollies, led by a man named Hap (Naheem Garcia).
Director Kristin Fairweather does what needs to be done here, but also seems to be having some fun. She's got a decent little script to work from, courtesy of Rahn, and a game cast who all pitch their performances at a suitable level. The whole thing is close to panto, which is not a problem considering the central story. And I must admit that as soon as I found out that someone was named Hap, I was waiting to see how the other characters would be represented in standard human form, as opposed to the more familiar dwarves that we've seen in many other versions of the tale. Spotting the classic elements being updated or twisted is all part of the fun, from the obvious (the character names, of course) to the less obvious (such as . . . hmmm, okay, most of them are obvious, but that makes them no less fun).
Randolph is perfect for the lead role, looking every inch the character as she has been so often depicted, and Hennessy and Barnes are a lot of fun. Prattes and McNeill may be a bit bland, which is so often the way with the potential romantic leads in this sort of fare, but they also do fine, and Prattes is given some amusing moments as he struggles to win White over in ways that she doesn't respond to.
As I end this review, let me be very clear. This was a bit cheap, a bit broad, and quite silly, yes. It was also enjoyable. I genuinely enjoyed it. I would watch it again. I recommend it to others. But only during the holiday season.
There's a different Snow White Christmas available here.
Americans can get the same disc here.