Movie Review by Debbie Winkler
Starring: Henry Winkler, Brooke Burns, Warren Christie, Connor Christopher Levins, Woody Jeffreys
Director: Michael Scott
Release Date: 13 December 2008
Length: 88 minutes
Movie Rating: Not Rated
View Format: TV
Retired policeman, Ralph (Henry Winkler), is on his way to his niece’s house for Christmas when he makes friends with a stranger, Morgan (Warren Christie), at the airport. Morgan has no place to go for Christmas and is ready to sleep on the airport floor while he waits for a flight to Colorado and his new job, but Ralph has other ideas. He persuades his niece, Jennifer (Brooke Burns), to let Morgan stay with them for a few days. Jennifer isn’t happy about it, but she desperately needs help cooking her first Christmas turkey and Morgan is a chef so she lets Ralph talk her into it. Morgan isn’t in Jennifer’s home for long before he realizes that she doesn’t seem to have much of a Christmas spirit. Morgan, Ralph and Brian (Connor Christopher Levins), Jennifer’s son, band together to make this Christmas one that Jennifer will never forget.
I always enjoy watching the Hallmark Christmas movies during the holidays, but most of them are just average. The Most Wonderful Time of the Year is one of the better ones. I tuned in to watch it because Henry Winkler is the movie. It was so fun to see him in a movie again! Henry Winkler plays Uncle Ralph and is a real character. He is a retired policeman, so he is tough, but he definitely has a soft, squishy center. Honestly, Ralph’s character seemed to be a grown-up Fonz from Happy Days, which is probably why I liked him so much! I also appreciated that Henry Winkler was not afraid to act silly and have fun with his role. No sense in resting on your dignity at an old age, I say!
The main plot deals with the romance developing between Morgan (Warren Christie) and Jennifer (Brooke Burns), who are polar opposites. Morgan is a free spirit who has worked all over the world and has no permanent address. He loves the Christmas season and quizzes Jennifer down on why she doesn’t enjoy the holiday as much. Jennifer is a hardworking single mom who doesn’t have time for Christmas. She sees no point in opening Christmas cards when the person’s name is on the outside of the envelope, has been sending Christmas cards to people she can’t remember for years and has the only undecorated house on the block. Jennifer is seriously involved with a jeweler, Richard (Woody Jeffreys), but, of course, we all know that Jennifer and Morgan will end up together somehow. Before the movie starts, you know how it will begin and it doesn’t take long before you know how it will end, but that doesn’t mean you know what happens in between. It was a lot of fun to see these two characters interact and argue. Jennifer creatively manages to locate the hot Christmas toy for the season for her son, Brian, but it is Morgan’s quick-thinking that enables them to actually get the toy in time for Christmas. My particular favorite was the Christmas decorating. Jennifer’s next-door neighbor is extremely upset that Jennifer’s house is the only one that is not decorated on the block. Morgan gets drafted to hang the lights and very carefully inserts a single red bulb into the strand of white lights to drive the woman crazy – love it!
Morgan makes several good points about the holidays in this movie and it reminded me of how much I love the Christmas season. I look forward to December for weeks and then, when Christmastime is upon me, it is so stressful that I can’t wait for it to be over. This is such a horrible attitude to have and the writers of this movie totally called me on it! Watching this movie reminded me of all of the crazy things that I do not enjoy about the holiday like the pressure to decorate because your neighbors are, the huge feast that we force ourselves to make for guests we don’t even like, the eternal debate between real and fake Christmas trees, sending countless Christmas cards to people who don’t remember you and don’t care, and spending countless hours shopping for the perfect gift. What I loved about the movie was Morgan and Ralph’s handling of the stress and pressure of the holidays. Yes you can look at it as a huge list of things to do, but there are so many wonderful things that happen around Christmastime that it is totally worth it and this movie reminded me of that. There are ways to have fun while performing all of these chores and Brian’s character, played by an adorable Connor Christopher Levins, helped me remember why it is all worth it.
The Most Wonderful Time of the Year is one of the better made-for-TV movies made in recent years and I am confident that your family will enjoy watching it together. There are plenty of little laughs and funny sequences for the younger children to get a giggle in, a handsome hero and beautiful girl who fall in love for the teens and a little bit of everything for the adults. The DVD is very inexpensive for this movie, but I recommend catching it on TV around Christmastime so that it is something special to look forward to. If you need a bit of a boost to feel the Christmas spirit and are looking for something new and different, this movie will be sure to fit the bill.
This movie contains a scene with partial nudity, but the actress is completely wrapped up in a towel so nothing is really shown. There are some verbal arguments and disagreements, but nothing violent. There is some drinking of alcohol and very mild swearing. Recommended for viewers ages 5 and up.