The Christmas Shoes II
Christmas is a time for a lot of things; a time for forgiving, a time for healing and when I was child it was a time for surprises as I couldn't wait to see what I had got under the Christmas tree. Despite that being a long time ago I still love Christmas surprises and "The Christmas Blessing" turned out to be a pleasant surprise as I had no idea it was a sequel to "The Christmas Shoes". The minute it started and I saw Rob Lowe and the pair of red shoes which were so important to the first movie I was shocked and they kept on coming as we then meet Nathan who was the young boy in the first movie now grown up and played by Neil Patrick Harris. As such I have to say that if you haven't watched "The Christmas Shoes" yet you really must before watching "The Christmas Blessing" as the connections are part of its charm.
After loosing a teenager on the operating table Dr. Nathan Andrews (Neil Patrick Harris - The Christmas Wish) heads home to his father's having decided he can't be a doctor anymore and starts working in his father's garage. It is there that he meets Meghan Sullivan (Rebecca Gayheart) who has just started teaching at the local school where Nathan has also volunteered to help with the after school basketball coaching. A romance blossoms between Nathan and Meghan who is desperate to open a day care centre near the school but things are changing at home as not only is Nathan's father planning to sell the family home but also the garage.
So as I said "The Christmas Blessing" surprised me right away with it being a sequel to "The Christmas Shoes" and trust me if you enjoyed the original movie you will enjoy this one as well. It does a good job of continuing certain important elements including the shoes, the baseball cap which Nathan had as well as the characters which include Nathan, his father and of course attorney Robert Layton. But these things only work for those who have watched "The Christmas Shoes" and why I say again you need to watch "The Christmas Shoes" first in order to appreciate these things and the various connections between say the shoes, Nathan and Robert.
Now whilst I enjoyed the way "The Christmas Blessing" feeds off of "The Christmas Shoes" I do have one problem and that is it has a lot going on. We have Nathan's crisis of confidence, his blossoming romance to Meghan, his father's decision to sell up leaving Nathan upset, a young boy called Charlie who is sick, Charlie's father who is quite cold as well as a mystery surrounding Charlie's mother. It is to be honest too much for a movie which comes in a shade under 90 minutes and whilst never becoming too difficult to follow still ends up feeling convoluted. But at the same time by including this varied collection of stories it manages to also mirror events from the first movie without it feeling like it is just rehashing things and so for anyone who doesn't know that means we have a heart-warming tale but "The Christmas Blessing" is also a movie which is tinged with sadness.
As for the acting well to be honest the characters are not that great but all the actors have a certain likeability about them. The minute you see Rob Lowe or Hugh Thompson it makes you smile because of the connection which was formed with them in "The Christmas Shoes" and Neil Patrick Harris is well cast to play Nathan as he has such an easy going style that you warm to him also. You also warm to Rebecca Gayheart as Meghan as she has a playful side to her character whilst Angus T. Jones rounds things of nicely as the innocent Charlie.
What this all boils down to is that "The Christmas Blessing" is an entertaining sequel to "The Christmas Shoes" which has much of the same charm and style as the original. It's only problem is that it tries to cram in too many stories into its 87 minutes making it feel just a tad convoluted which in turn dilutes some of the heart and emotion.