Movie Review by Debbie Winkler
Starring: Tom Arnold, Andrea Roth, Leslie Jordan, Brittney Wilson, Robert Clarke
Director: Ron Oliver
Release Date: 4 December 2005
Length: 120 minutes
Movie Rating: PG
View Format: TV
My Rating: 2.5/5 stars
This is a version of A Christmas Carol where the 3 ghosts go haywire and really mess up a single father’s Christmas makeover. The Ghost of Christmas Past takes Jack back to his childhood in 1965 and has a mental breakdown, breaks the snowflake that keeps them invisible, knocks Jack out and leaves him there. When Christmas Past doesn’t return Jack within the hour of allotted time, the Bureau of Yuletide Affairs sends the Ghost of Christmas Present to rescue Jack and bring everyone back to their proper places. Jack attacks Christmas Present when she shows up unexpectedly and breaks her time-travelling candy cane. Now they have to find Christmas Past so they can use his time traveling gizmo to return to the future. But Christmas Past doesn’t want to go back. He wants to feel what it is like to be human again. By trying to evade them, Christmas Past transfers all 3 of them to another event in Jack’s past – his honeymoon. Jack hates Christmas because he caught his wife cheating on him with his dentist on Christmas Day seven years ago so his honeymoon is not exactly a great memory for him. It becomes an even worse memory when Jack discovers that his wife cheated on him while they were on their honeymoon!
After creating a huge fight at the hotel, Christmas Past transfers all 3 of them to the night of Jack’s daughter’s Christmas play – the night that Jack caught his wife in the act, as it were. After listening to some inspired lines his daughter’s Christmas Carol play, Jack finally has the courage to confront his wife and start to let her go. Unfortunately, things do not go happily-ever-after after that. Christmas Past tricks them again and sends them back in time to when Jack’s mother & father were young and in love with a brand new baby in 1958. Jack is okay with ceasing to exist, but he does not want to forget about his family badly enough to wish his daughter had never been born. So now Christmas Present and Jack are chasing after Christmas Past again and trying to get back to their normal time. Good thing the Ghost of Christmas Future & their boss show up to save the day.
So yeah, a weird version of a Christmas classic. I am not saying that I hated it, I just didn’t particularly care for it. I appreciate that Hollywood is constantly trying to come up with new and fresh ways to present the classic Christmas Carol story, but I think that they tried a little too hard in this case. Jack and Christmas Present are supposedly falling in love and I am not sure why, especially as we all had to know there was literally no future for them. Jack’s life-changing moment comes during 1 line that his daughter speaks in her Christmas special and poof! he is a changed man. Jack didn’t really get any of the lessons that Scrooge typically does, yet he still manages to find his Christmas spirit again. I think that I would have been more depressed after seeing my past then I was earlier!
I just felt that this version was a little too convoluted and not really rewarding. It is clearly a made-for-TV movie and not a very good one at that. The only time that I would recommend watching this movie is that if you are like me – you watch everything that is Christmas related in the month of December. I mean, lets face it, there are only so many good Christmas specials and the rest of them are like this – Christmas schlock that we put up with because we are all feeling good because of the reason for the season. And maybe copious amounts of sugar. Watch this movie late at night or when you are doing chores around the house or when you are left with absolutely nothing else to watch.
Most of this movie focuses on a Christmas-hating tyrant who despises the holidays due to his wife’s infidelity. There are several sex-related scenes, though nothing specific is shown other than kissing and other light petting. There is also some fighting, which involves punching and rolling around on the floor with your opponent. I think only adults would enjoy this movie – and I use the word enjoy lightly – but teens may enjoy it too. Though it is rated PG, I would recommend this movie for ages 14 and up. I would recommend that children and teens watch this movie with someone who can offer them a good perspective on relationships and forgiveness regardless of age.