Icy roads are no joke. That’s the prevailing lesson in Christmas Magic, where hazardous driving conditions claim not one but two lives. Cell phones are also a major contributing factor and the reason why Carrie Bishop (Lindy Booth) gets catapulted into the afterlife just weeks before Christmas. There, she gets her figurative wings and an assignment from her angel guide (Derek McGrath) to help hunky widower and father Scott Walker (Paul McGillion) – not the hunky politician – through some tough times.
Scott’s on the verge of losing his restaurant, a local establishment with a dwindling clientele, though it shouldn’t come as a surprise since he hasn’t changed the menu in years. It’s a gesture to the regulars who want the same old same old, but it also means that everything really does taste like chicken. Carrie, a top event planner, sweeps in with a few ideas and helps Scott find the right connections to revitalize the business. In no time at all, he’s laughing and singing and generally having a good time. It’s quite a transformation since he hasn’t been in a festive mood since losing his wife in a car accident some years before.
The movie says all the right things about loving life, preferably when you’re alive. Carrie wasn’t a nasty person, but she was ambitious and regrets not carpe-ing more diems (pardon the Latin). She also has unresolved dad issues and wishes she had made more meaningful relationships with people than with her car. She makes the most of her second chance though, and you can’t really dislike her, or Booth. The actress is too sweet a presence to dismiss, and her performance sets the tone for the whole movie, bringing things back to equilibrium when the story gets too saccharine or glum.
And it does swing both ways, though more towards the former. Subtlety is not a part of the Hallmark writers’ toolbox, and the plot and emotions aren’t exactly done with a light touch. Carrie is spoken of in celestial terms so often that you might think you’re being smothered in a crate of angel feathers. The movie also doesn’t do much to add to the overused Christmas magic motif, nor does it improve on lackluster titles. It’s a dash of Christmas Carol, a few shakes of It’s a Wonderful Life, and mounds of assumptions about heavenly master plans. Sometimes there’s no why; things just are the way they are, and we must love the good and the bad. Always a fitting thought when watching Hallmark Christmas movies.
Prod: Marek Posival
Dir: John Bradshaw
Writer: Joany Kane, Ricky Castaneda, Kevin Commins
Cast: Lindy Booth, Paul McGillion, Derek McGrath
Time: 87 min
Country: United States