Judge Adam Arseneau doesn't know how magnets work.
Miracles are everywhere.
A Hallmark Channel adaptation of the Debbie Macomber novel of the same name, Mrs. Miracle is a delightful family film full of heartwarming tenderness, spiritual redemption and excessive sweetness that may cause uncontrollable vomiting.
Facts of the Case
Single father Seth Webster (James Van Der Beek, Dawson's Creek) has a handful keeping control of his two hellion sons, driving away housekeeper after housekeeper. One day, a mysterious applicant shows up, Mrs. Merkle (Doris Roberts, Everybody Loves Raymond) who immediately wins over the family with her charm and calm demeanor. She is so good in fact that they keep calling her by her nickname "Mrs. Miracle."
Mrs. Merkle even goes so far as to set up Seth on ad date with a travel agent in town, Reba Maxwell (Erin Karpluk, Life Unexpected). The two are an immediate match, but need a bit of angelic help to push them in the right direction and let go of their past.
Watching Mrs. Miracle is like getting smashed in the face with a frozen Christmas turkey wrapped in a sweater your mom knit for you. Unnaturally festive, heartwarming and life affirming, it defies all logic and reason, resolute in its wholesomeness. Family and faith are the lessons of the day, and they are repeated mercilessly until the end credits roll. Having never read the novel from which this movie is based, or any novels by the author of any kind, I can't comment on how faithful an adaptation Mrs. Miracle is, but my wife, a woman well-versed in the ways of female literature, immediately knew exactly what to expect when she saw Debbie Macomber's name attached to the credits.
Mrs. Miracle is so nauseatingly perfect it's a choking hazard. Without spoiling the plot details, rest assured that every single plot element gets wrapped up, every single character grows and matures positively, and everybody has a happy ending. There is nothing in the way of dramatic suspense, or even anything resembling unpleasantness. Still, it's hard to give a film like this any kind of serious criticism for being true to its nature. This is a Hallmark Channel movie, and appropriately has the emotional tenor of a sappy greeting card. Mrs. Miracle is a film scientifically formulated at the molecular level to make you feel good about life, to make you appreciate family and friends and faith. Any attempts to resist its charm will result in massive brain hemorrhage. You have been warned.
James Van Der Beek is one of those guys who never gets any mainstream work these days, but does a stand-up job in pretty much anything he does. He is appropriately charming and emotional as a single father struggling to raise his kids, and get over the loss of his wife. Canada's best-kept secret, Erin Karpluk is adorable and magnetic. These aren't great roles, full of hackneyed dialogue, but the two have good chemistry and sell their roles. Doris Roberts is all smiles, channeling equal parts Mary Poppins, Miracle on 34th Street, and It's A Wonderful Life into an omnipresent, angelic force of holiday cheer, matchmaking and positivity.
For a television movie, Mrs. Miracle looks decent on DVD. Colors are vibrant yet balanced, black levels are average and detail is acceptable. The picture exhibits some softness and some saturation in the red tones, but nothing deal breaking. Edge enhancement is noticeable and distracting. The audio comes in Dolby 5.1 Surround and features clear dialogue and a clean, run-of-the-mill presentation. The full orchestral score is playful and upbeat, playing comedic and angelic chords on cue.
Extras are nonexistent; we get some trailers and that's it.
Obviously, this isn't my kind of film. It would take surgery to include me in the target demographic, but if you're looking for something moral and family-oriented and Christian themed (without, you know, being creepy) Mrs. Miracle will fit the bill nicely.
So sweet, you'll throw up in your mouth.
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