Peace Arch Entertainment // 2009 // 82 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge Clark Douglas // December 7th, 2009
"This is a town of believers. Believing is something that comes naturally to you when you're young. Don't lose that, because when you get older, it takes a lot more work."
It takes exactly two minutes to figure out where Christmas Town is going. The opening scene introduces us to Liz McCann (Nicole de Boer, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine), a real estate agent and driven career woman who (wait for it) hates Christmas! Yes, she doesn't like the icky, boring holidays because it's harder to sell houses and because it means wasting time on foolish things like family reunions and parties. Bah, humbug! "Oh great," I muttered aloud, "Now we get to watch this woman get beaten over the head with Christmas cheer until she finally realizes that Christmas is the best thing ever." Would the film prove my assumptions wrong? Hey kids, Nostradamus didn't have nothin' on old Judge Clark Douglas.
Apparently, when Liz was a kid, her family didn't really celebrate Christmas. Her father would only give her one gift every year, and it was never anything she actually wanted. That's pretty much the extent of her holiday memories. How much does Liz hate Christmas? Her son (Gig Morton, Santa Buddies) can barely convince her to buy a Christmas tree for the family. It's a surprise when Liz receives a call from her father Jack (Gary Chalk, Angel and the Badman) inviting her to come home for the holidays, but not as big a surprise as the fact that Jack is living in a town called Hollyville, arguably the most Christmas-y place in the history of Christmas-y places. Christmas decorations are everywhere, everyone is full of Christmas spirit, Christmas songs are playing not-stop, everything is red, white, and green, and every citizen is sweeter than Santa Claus.
"So, you've decided to stay here forever?" Liz asks her father incredulously. "I'm happy here! It's filled with the spirit of Christmas!" Jack declares. When she presses the matter further, he gives her an exasperated look and rolls his eyes when she tells him he's changed. At about this point, the movie was beginning to feel like a holiday-themed version of The Stepford Wives, with real human beings clearly replaced by robots programmed to worship the Christmas season with a brain-dead, cult-like fervor. Alas, the film clearly regards Liz as the creepiest character in the film. After all, she hates Christmas. Clearly this film was made by one of the robots.
Look, I like Christmas. I really do. It's generally been a very nice time of the year for me; a chance to spend some more time with the people I love. However, I don't expect everyone to love Christmas. That would be unreasonable. While I've seen few films that advocate forcing someone's religion, political beliefs, or lifestyle choices on other people, for some reason it seems to be okay to force people to like Christmas. God help you if you're in a holiday film and say you're not a big fan of the season, because then you'll be thrust into the spotlight as every single person around you brainwashes you into believing that Christmas is the most magical time of the year and that you're sick for not being madly head-over-heels in love with it.
By Santa's shiny sled, I hate this movie. I hate its mindless, zombie-like celebration of the Christmas season and its judgmental spite toward those who feel otherwise. I hate its lousy acting and over-the-top dialogue. I hate that annoying kid Mason (appropriately nicknamed "Mace," since listening to him shriek about how much Christmas he needs in his life is about as fun as being attacked with pepper spray by an aggressive shopper). I hate that the packaging thinks that describing the film as "magical and inexplicable" makes it sound appealing. I hate Patrick Muldoon's smirking face, especially when he's going on about how wrong Liz is. I hate that creepy Santa Claus, who looks more like a child molester than a kindly old man. I hate that every childish fantasy in the film is validated while every logical thought is dismissed with a sneer.
Also, I hate the crappy non-anamorphic transfer the film receives. Actually, scratch that. I'm fine with the non-anamorphic transfer, because it just gives me one more reason to tell you not to watch this movie. Otherwise, the transfer is perfectly fine, offering solid detail and clarity. The audio is fine, though I was not a fan of the grating synth score by Peter Allen. Despite the fact that it's a surround mix, the rear speakers get very little to do. There are no extras on the disc.
You know what I want from Santa this Christmas? The 82 minutes I spent watching this movie back.
Guilty. Also, screw Christmas.
Review content copyright © 2009 Clark Douglas; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2014 HipClick Designs LLC
Scales of Justice
Studio: Peace Arch Entertainment
* 1.78:1 Non-Anamorphic
* Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (English)
* English (SDH)
Running Time: 82 Minutes
Release Year: 2009
MPAA Rating: Not Rated