Mrs. Miracle's Manhattan Transfer
I wanted to like "Call Me Mrs. Miracle" (aka "Miracle in Manhattan") as I was pleasantly surprised by how good the first movie "Mrs. Miracle" was and to be honest with Doris Roberts returning to her Mary Poppins style character I was looking forward to it. Sadly "Call me Mrs. Miracle" was a disappointment not because it was a bad movie, in fact it is still charming and entertaining but the magic and romance of the first movie seems to be lacking. Credit where it's due as whilst we have a storyline about Mrs. 'Miracle' Merkle mischievously match making and making merry again it doesn't feel purely a rehash of the first movie. We have new characters, new situations and a new location as well but that warmth and magic which filled "Mrs. Miracle" doesn't quite fill "Call Me Mrs. Miracle".
It's Christmas time and Holly Wilson (Jewel Staite) whilst trying to manage her career in fashion also finds herself looking after her nephew Gabe (Quinn Lord) whilst his father is overseas serving his country. Meanwhile Jake Finley (Eric Johnson - Meteor Storm), manager of Finley's department store has a battle on his hands with his father who thinks his son has made a mistake by not bringing in the must have toy which every child wants. Enter Mrs. 'Miracle' Merkle (Doris Roberts - Aliens in the Attic) who finds herself working at Finley's and in typical Mrs. 'Miracle' Merkle fashion gets up to some magical mischief and match making by bringing Holly and Jake together whilst also getting to grips with Jake's father who since the death of Jake's mother no longer does Christmas.
Now whilst in "Call Me Mrs. Miracle" we have the wonderful Mrs. 'Miracle' Merkle in Manhattan and magically working in a family run department store the basis of the movie is still all about her solving problems and match making. But where as in "Mrs. Miracle" it was all about helping just Seth and Reba she has more to do this time around. The main storyline sees her trying to match make Holly and Jake as well as Jakes father J.R. with Gloria and on top of that she also helps Holly and Jake with their careers through a little bit of interference. In a way because there is more going on it causes a problem because it ends up being about the people she helps rather than Mrs. 'Miracle' Merkle herself. She sort of crops up, gets up to a bit of mischief and then disappears again and that doesn't feel right.
It's because of this that the touch of Christmas magic which was so prevalent in "Mrs. Miracle" doesn't quite manifest itself as Mrs. 'Miracle' Merkle is spread too thinly. Oh there is still magic and warmth especially through the central romance of Holly and Jake but it just doesn't set the screen alight. And to be honest whilst you expect plenty of overly sweet sentimentality from a made for TV Christmas movie the level it gets to borders on the cringe worthy. It is a case that in trying to deliver Christmas warmth it goes too far with cheesy dialogue and an overly manufactured feel good ending as well as a forced message about consumerism.
The good news is that whilst Mrs. 'Miracle' Merkle gets spread a bit too thinly between the various people she helps Doris Roberts is still marvellous in the role. The slight smile and the glint in her eye and you just love all her mischief making. And to be honest it is just as easy to love Jewel Staite who plays Holly as she has this girl next door quality going on. But sadly not all the performances work and for some reason Lauren Holly plays her part as Holly's boss Lindy Lowe as if she is being possessed by Cruella Deville and taking it to all most pantomime level when it comes to being over the top.
What this all boils down to is that whilst "Call Me Mrs. Miracle" isn't a bad movie, in fact it is entertaining, it's just not a patch on "Mrs. Miracle". It lacks that Christmas magic and real romantic warmth which flowed through out the first movie and so whilst Doris Roberts is still great fun to watch as Mrs. 'Miracle' Merkle the movie as a whole ends up lacking that special quality.