The Cliches Flow this Christmas
Christmas is coming and city accountant Michael Thompson (Patrick Muldoon) is frustrated by everyone taking holidays whilst also struggling to be a single dad to his rebellious teenage daughter Chloe (Mandalynn Carlson). So his assistant says he should kill two birds with one stone as her uncle Cliff Harrison (Rick Herod) has a horse ranch and could do with some financial advice as things are not going well whilst it would give Michael chance to bond with his daughter. But one of Cliff's daughters Samantha (Charisma Carpenter) initially doesn't want any outside help and is certainly not going to go out of her way to make Michael feel welcomed. But with the bank going to foreclose on the 26th December unless they pay off their debts there needs to be a Christmas miracle or two.
For some Christmas is the season for forgiveness, for others it is the season of gift giving whilst for me it is the season of watching Christmas movies. But as such whilst I come across a few gems each Christmas season far too many of these Christmas movies end up being forgettably average thanks to the simple fact that either they are not really Christmas movies or do little to disguise familiar cliches or do so in a far too cheesy manner. Sadly there is something about "A Christmas Promise", which is also known as "A Horse Tale", which doesn't quite work, which simply stops it from being an okay reworking of those familiar cliches.
Now you can break "A Christmas Promise" down to some very familiar cliches; we have a family run ranch in financial trouble on the verge of being repossessed by the bank, a city business man who doesn't do country who is also a struggling, over protective single father dealing with a rebellious teen daughter, some horse drama and of course there is the obligatory slice of romance. For those who love their TV movies will know exactly how this will play out and for those who don't just think about what the best outcome would be for all those involved and you will know how it will play out. The trouble for me is that it doesn't really attempt to disguise these familiar elements or do anything with them which breaks the mold.
But there is no denying that "A Christmas Promise" is a good looking movie with plenty of modern day horse ranch charm, good looking people, good looking scenery and a good heart. And in a way it is the goodness of it all, that everyone in this movie is good in their own way that makes it watchable. Well that and the entire cast from Charisma Carpenter and Patrick Muldoon down to Dominique Swain and Mandalynn Carlson are likeable.
What this all boils down to is that "A Christmas Promise" is nothing new, in fact everything about it is incredibly familiar which means it holds few surprises when it comes to how things play out. But at the same time it is a nice looking movie with a likeable cast which helps to make it watchable.