There are some pretty pointless Christmas Carol adaptations, but Christmas Cupid just about wins it. Set in the pop culture milieu of preening starlets and their equally self-conscious publicity agents, this movie is as vapid as the characters that populate it. The story, which has the substance of a box of a cream puffs, lacks the foreboding of Dickens’s novella and instead relies on the audiences’ familiarity with the original to patch up the gaps in writing.
Sloane (Christina Milian), the Scrooge of the piece, is given little urgency to amend her ways. An exacting and ambitious publicity agent, she throws her around “bitchitude” like no other, but nearly everyone else is just as heartless. She essentially sleeps her way to the top with her unfaithful boyfriend (Burgess Jenkins), which means abandoning a lot of friends and her college sweetheart, Patrick (Chad Michael Murray), along the way. When her top client, a superficial young actress named Caitlin (Ashley Benson), chokes to death on a martini olive, she gets a chance to reset her professional and love lives.
Marley has an expanded role in the form of Caitlin, but in this reimagining, death seems like a tolerable gig. Caitlin isn’t weighed down by the chains of her wrongdoings, though she is marked by the same vacuity that characterized her earthly life. That, friends, is the real drag. Caitlin sticks around for awhile and tries to help her publicist see the light, but mostly she’s there to check out the memorial bash the agency is planning for her.
Christmas Cupid is already a lost cause by the time the ghosts belatedly drift into the picture. The characters, and Sloane in particular, have the same artificiality of the publicity machine that squeezes out Caitlins in order to milk the lowest common denominator. When she’s visited by apparitions of her exes (because the ghosts of Ex-Mas is clever), her conversion rolls merrily along without any real gravity. It’s a meaningless redemption with only one satisfying moment, unearned of course, that Sloane shares with Patrick. I give this movie a big “Bah-humbug” and a kick in the shin.
Prod: Jody Brockway, Craig McNeil
Dir: Gil Junger
Writer: Aury Wallington
Cast: Christina Milian, Chad Michael Murray, Ashley Benson, Burgess Jenkins, Jackée Harry, Ashley Johnson, Ryan Sypek, Justin Smith
Time: 85 min
Country: United States
Network: ABC Family