The Thanksgiving Family Woman

Faye Dunaway and Daphne Zuniga in A Family Thanksgiving (2010)

Claudia (Daphne Zuniga) has worked hard to prove herself in the law world, graduating at the top of her class at Harvard Law School and is now aiming to be the first female partner at the law firm she works for. As such she does not have time to make an apple pie for the family Thanksgiving her homemaker sister is arranging and anyway she probably won't be there as the day after Thanksgiving she has a huge court case over getting an injunction on an enormous development over turned and expects all her staff to work Thanksgiving. But then the mysterious Gina (Faye Dunaway) shows up in her office who takes her to a parallel universe where she is a happily married soccer mom. Initially perplexed by being a family woman she finds herself becoming charmed by this different life, falling for her husband and so on. But when Gina takes her back to her own world Claudia faces a big decision.

As I browsed for information on "A Family Thanksgiving" I found it compared to various movies from "It's a Wonderful Life" to "Sliding Doors" but for me this movie was more of a Thanksgiving take on "The Family Man" with of course Nic Cage's high executive character switched to Daphne Zuniga as a career focused lawyer. As such it has to be said that if you have ever seen "The Family Man" then "A Family Thanksgiving" is a highly predictable movie as after being tossed into a parallel life we get to see Claudia struggle with being a mum, then growing to enjoy it and so on and so forth until we get the only moment of possible surprise which is how this turns out to deliver the inevitable happy ever after ending. Although if you are a fan of Christmas movies you are sure to have come across various "What If" movies and so be aware as to how things can turn out happy ever after.

But the familiarity of "A Family Thanksgiving" isn't really an issue because the vibe in this is spot on as we watch Claudia going from finding this alternative life initially alien and then falling in love with it. Even when you can see the comedy coming a mile off, such as when Claudia is startled by her husband getting into bed with her, it is still entertaining. Much of which is down to Daphne Zuniga as she is so good at doing comical exasperation. But at the same time the children in this have such great comic mannerisms that their responses also help to make this movie.

What this all boils down to is that "A Family Thanksgiving" is just another "What If" movie, using the frequently used concept for Christmas movies and employing it in a Thanksgiving movie. But despite being just another "What If" movie it gets it right and it is an enjoyable Thanksgiving distraction.

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