It's Not a Wonderful Life

Olivia d'Abo in A Christmas Eve Miracle (2015)

Sharon and Dustin Holden (Olivia d'Abo and Anthony Starke) fell in love when they were still in High School and after attending the same college together they got married and had children. But whilst Dustin embraced being a father for Sharon her career was always important which means she has never fully been devoted to doing the family thing. When they head away to Fathering Pines for a Christmas vacation, where they meet best friends Jack Carter (C. Thomas Howell) and Robert Jones (Jonathan Silverman) along with their families, Sharon finds herself frustrated by being unable to do work and the family thing, wishing she didn't have children. And if by magic when she wakes up she no longer has children and Dustin is even more career obsessed than she is but the Carters and Joneses are still their but argue all the time. Initially over the moon to be able to focus on work Sharon begins to realise that she misses her children.

Oh yes, after a prolonged set up which establishes Sharon being a workaholic mum and we relocate to the picturesque Fathering Pines we end up with another "What If" style movie as Sharon gets to see what her life would be like with no kids. It is a story which I have come to realise is used as often as the more traditional "A Christmas Carol" with each year another handful of Christmas movies getting made which reuse this scenario. And as I find myself saying more and more, there is nothing wrong with a movie reworking a familiar theme as long as they bring life or charm to it to make it more than just a walk through of the same old thing.

Unfortunately whilst "A Christmas Eve Miracle" takes us to the seriously picturesque Fathering Pines and in to what is the perfect cabin in the woods for a Christmas movie the rest of the movie is only so so. Again I find myself with a movie which seems to force things in order to try and be entertaining with lots of over the top acting and characterisations. Take C. Thomas Howell and Jonathan Silverman, they are so loud and fun loving that I am sure most people would feel like walking out on them after spending just 5 minutes in their character's company. It is the same when we enter the "what if" part with Dustin changing and Anthony Starke layering it on too thick and fast. It is simply too full on for me and ended up making this yet another Christmas movie which became hard work. Oh and having a dog as the narrator really didn't work for me even if does give the movie Jon Voight providing the voice work.

What this all boils down to is that "A Christmas Eve Miracle" might entertain younger, teen audiences who will enjoy the over the top comedy of the "What If" set up but for me it was too over the top and came across at times like a lot of noise.

Tags: Christmas Movies

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