A Christmas Pantomime
For the past 6 years Wendy (Ashley Williams) has been raising her six-year-old daughter, Grace (Kylie Price), on her own whilst also keeping the candy store running which her father built. But the business is in trouble so Wendy decides to take Grace to the city to earn some extra money in the lead up to Christmas and she walks in to a job at Wolmans, the big department store where Tom Wolman (Jon Prescott) hires her on the spot because of her infectious spirit. But there is trouble brewing at the department store as the board have hired Teanna (Ashanti) to boost sales which she does by cutting costs, staff benefits and rips the spirit of Christmas out of the store when she fires Santa and replaces him with half dressed male models. But Teanna's decisions may have bigger consequences unless Wendy can bring some Christmas spirit back in to the store.
Here's a bit of advice, if like me you are a sucker for Christmas movies just think who the intended audience is for a movie before passing judgement. As I watched "Christmas in the City" which pitches up the beaming Ashley Williams playing it sweet up against Ashanti trying to do a bit of a Cruella de Vil all I could think was that this Christmas movie was made for young teens who will enjoy the cuteness of Ashley Williams and the romantic subplot surrounding her character Wendy and nice guy store manager Tom. They would also enjoy the pantomime bitchiness of Ashanti's Teanna as she replaces traditions with semi clad male models and goes out of the way to try and prevent the romance between Wendy and Tom from blossoming.
Now that may not sound that offensive and in truth "Christmas in the City" isn't but it is the sort of movie where the word subtlety has been scratched out from the script. From cute carol singing around a piano to over the top skulduggery and just the right musical swells for an emotional scene it does get dangerously close to feeling like you are being clubbed to death by the unsubtle stick. And that is why rather than being a Christmas movie for grown ups it is more a Christmas movie for children, although grown ups still in touch with their Christmas child side might find it fun.
What this all boils down to is that "Christmas in the City" is nothing special and is the sort of cute Christmas fun which shows up all the time in made for TV Christmas movies. And so whether or not you enjoy it really depends on how much of a sucker for Christmas movies you are and almso the wonderful smile of Ashley Williams.