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Case Number 17725

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The Christmas Clause

MTI // 2008 // 90 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge David Johnson // November 18th, 2009

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All Rise...

You know what Judge David Johnson wants for Christmas? Ham.

The Charge

Be careful what you wish for!

Opening Statement

The message of this movie: What sucks more than a well-paying job, some noisy kids, and a loving husband? Nothing.

Facts of the Case

Lea Thompson (Back to the Future) stars as Sophie Kelly, a successful lawyer and a mother of three who's been getting super stressed out lately. Her tension boils over while Christmas shopping and when a department store Santa asks her what she'd like to wish for, she says she wants to live the life of her swinging, hot friend she had just seen moments before.

When she wakes up the next day—KABLAMMO!—her wish has been granted and she's suddenly living a swinging lifestyle complete with fancy linens and cleavage-pushing undergarments. Will she eventually come to realize what is truly important in life? I would say there's an excellent chance.

The Evidence

Of course you know how this whole thing is going to play out. You've seen this plot transpire countless times before. Still, for an audience demanding a low-impact cheesefest filled with Christmas cheer ladled in by a snow shovel, here you go.

Lea Thompson is easily one of the top go-to actresses for these Hallmark-ish, inoffensive comedy/dramas and she shows why: lots of exasperated facial contortions, a handful of wry one-liners, a small dose of slapstick, and just the right amount of solemnity when she gets her Life Lesson Learning on.

Thing is, her story arc doesn't make a whole heck of a lot of sense. While she would later grow to be concerned about the absence of her kids in this alternate universe, that regret doesn't manifest itself until well into the story. I don't care how tiring those kids are, lady, how do you not immediately question their whereabouts and embark on a desperate attempt to find them, once you realize the depth of the supernatural switcheroo??? I guess having access to all those Wonderbras is simply too exciting.

The rest of the film is formulaic and predictable, as Sophie incrementally realizes how much awesome stuff she had going on when she was stressed out, that her high-maintenance husband was actually a pretty cool dude, and that living as a middle-aged woman in age-defying cream isn't all it's cracked up to be. If that sounds like something you'd like, this will be 90 minutes time well spent. Anyone craving something more surprising and less milquetoast, look elsewhere.

The DVD effort is the bare minimum: a made-for-TV-looking 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer, 5.1 surround, and nothing else.

Closing Statement

There's better Yuletime entertainment out there. The Christmas Clause is only for lovers of lightweight fluff.

The Verdict

Guilty. Those department store Santas are germ-carriers, by the way.

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Scales of Justice

Video: 80
Audio: 80
Extras: 0
Acting: 75
Story: 60
Judgment: 64

Perp Profile

Studio: MTI
Video Formats:
• 1.85:1 Anamorphic
Audio Formats:
• Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (English)
• Spanish
Running Time: 90 Minutes
Release Year: 2008
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
• Christmas
• Comedy
• Drama
• Television

Distinguishing Marks

• None


• IMDb

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