It is a truth universally acknowledged that childhood classmates who find themselves unattached and at the center of a Hallmark Christmas movie must be in want of a partner. And that’s how we find Corrine (Jessalyn Gilsig) and Dave (Graham Abbey), old friends and colleagues who can’t seem to get into the Christmas spirit. She has just split from her flaky boyfriend, again, and he was never that into the holidays anyway owing to some unhappy family memories. The two need what everyone in this situation needs – an angel. He comes in the form of Harold (Serio Di Zio), as in Hark the, who we quickly deduce is someone from Corrine’s past.
Angels are funny things though with their own quirky rules, and the ones in this film dictate that those who have crossed some higher power must do penance on earth, whether in the form of a New York City hot dog vendor or roving matchmaker. That is how Harold happens into Dave’s music shop, where he is quickly hired to help with Christmas sales. Harold himself isn’t quite sure how he must make amends, but he knows that he has a Christmas Eve deadline lest he be banished on assignment to the world’s nether regions.
The movie aims for some old school charm, wanting to rely on wartime nostalgia in order to incubate warm holiday feelings. In a casting win, Di Zio has the clean cut, clear-eyed look of someone who’s just stepped out of a yellowed photo album. That timeless, unhurried pace of yesteryear, however, when folks dressed up in Dickens gear and went caroling door-to-door, ends up dragging the whole film down. Corrine and Dave are so comfortable playing the holiday damper that it’s no wonder Harold resorts to frustrated clichés about love in order to get them to open their damn eyes. He dispenses advice like an angry Spitfire. (“You don’t have to be Mr. Right; you already are right for someone.” “Time to be a star in the movie of your life.” “Taking chances is a part of life.”)
Few of his words stick, which only drags out the shuffling between the two. That Corrine and Dave are so resistant to one another very good friends only makes the inevitable conclusion seem that much further away and that much more undeserved. If anything, their intransigence should provoke all viewers who are hemming and hawing this season to just take a bloody dive and finally be a star in the movie of their lives.
Dir: Alan Goluboff
Writer: Kevin Commins
Cast: Jessalyn Gilsig, Sergio Di Zio, Graham Abbey
Time: 92 min
Country: United States