Magical Christmas Ornaments (2017)

In my sleep-deprived state, I was thinking this might be a movie about ornaments that come to life at night, à la Toy Story, which would be amazing because if my mismatched box of ornaments is anything to go by, there’d be some great commentary on culture, consumerism, and class. But…this movie is not that. No, Magical Christmas Ornaments is just another Hallmark movie about a “magical” [insert inanimate object] that brings a couple together and shows at least one of them the true meaning of Christmas.

Marie (Jessica Lowndes) is the Scrooge of this story. She hasn’t felt the Christmas spirit since breaking up with her ex over the holidays years ago. Now, the most festive thing in her New York City flat is the ambient Christmas lighting that shines through her window. That and the Frank Sinatra Christmas music her neighbor plays on blast. She doesn’t even have a tree for the ornaments her mother sends every day.

Enter the neighbor, Nate (Brendan Penny), a Florida transplant who loves Christmas and won’t tolerate Marie’s treeless nonsense. He’s also a cutie pediatric nurse, which is perfect because when he’s not helping Marie with her publishing company’s charity toy drive, he’s helping sick kiddos. What more could you ask for? If I were Marie, I’d start making plans to sublease my flat instead of fretting over how this nice guy’s going to ditch me.

Marie’s got her mind on other things though. She thinks her mom’s ornaments are sending her a message, and people make all sorts of dumb decisions when they think a Hallmark keepsake has special powers. Each one foretells something that happens later that day. A tiny pair of felt skates, for example, leads to a skating date with Nate, and a shimmering treasure chest turns out to be the subject of a new children’s book she’s editing. If you’re thinking, that’s not really magic, that’s just a coincidence, you are right. There is no magic, but you can’t call a movie Christmas Ornament Coincidences, so here we are.

Since I’m not really into magical anything to begin with, Marie’s already lost me with her theory. The script has her playing skeptic, although it should find ways to make her a bit more sympathetic. She’s aggressively pessimistic, not just about the season but about her career rut. Her boss has her on the cookbook beat when what she really wants and is good at is fiction. That’s understandable, but that also makes her a bit of a drag. I almost want to leave the poor woman in peace so she can ride out the holidays however she wants, whether it’s with or without a Christmas tree.

Released: 2017
Dir: Don McBrearty
Writer: Rickie Castaneda
Cast: Jessica Lowndes, Brendan Penny, Farah Merani, Stephen Huszar, Judah Katz, Tim Matheson
Time: 90 min
Lang: English
Country: United States
Network: Hallmark Movies and Mysteries
Reviewed: 2019

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