The Christmas List (1997)
Mimi's Magic Wish List
"The Christmas List" is a movie which you need to take a lot into account when watching. Things such as the fact it is a product of the 90s need to be remembered and the fact it is also a TV movie also needs to be accounted for because unless you take it into account you could find yourself laughing at it for all the wrong reasons. And the reason I say that is because it is seriously corny, even cornier than you expect from a made for TV Christmas movie which is basically a modern fairytale romantic comedy. Don't get me wrong as "The Christmas List" ends up fun but with cheesy dialogue, cheesier characters and comedy which often borders on the cringe worthy it continually makes you laugh for the wrong reasons.
Perfume counter assistant Melody Parris (Mimi Rogers - Austin Powers) feels like her life is going nowhere, she is mid 30s and her long time boyfriend George (Jano Frandsen) is so focussed on following his 5 year plans their relationship has stalled and she also finds herself passed over for promotion. But when her friend Naomi (Enuka Okuma) suggests she writes a Christmas list of all the things she wants to happen and her list starts to come true. And not only that she meets young Danny Skyler (Bill Switzer) and his father David (Rob Stewart) who seems absolutely perfect except he already has a pushy girlfriend.
"The Christmas List" is really a movie of two parts with the first part ending up the more entertaining. This first part is all about Melody writing a Christmas List and then miraculously stuff on her list starts to happen. It is very simple but also kind of amusing such as when she wishes for a car and wins one or dreams of an Old Fashioned Christmas to discover that her very modern mother has suddenly gone very old fashioned and homely. There is plenty which is corny about it but it is amusing as one thing after another comes true often accompanied by Melody hearing the sound of sleigh bells and people appearing in glowing Christmas hats.
But the second part of "The Christmas List" whilst still charming ends up a very run of the mill romantic comedy as Melody grows tired of her long term boyfriend George and finds herself falling for single dad Dr. Skyler, who she meets when helping out his son. Everything about it is very obvious and to be frank pretty unimaginative with one typical scene after another which includes Skyler's pushy girlfriend going too far and the will they or won't they get together element being ever present. Whilst pleasant the fact it is so ordinary compared to the wish list first part that you sort of become disappointed, wishing for something more original.
And to be honest it is a bit of a shame as there are some really nice parts to "The Christmas List" none more so in how Melody meets Dr. Skyler's son who wants to buy perfume. You can sort of guess the outcome of this before it arrives but it is kind of nice. It's such a shame that the actual dialogue often borders on being cringe worthy as it causes those nice, even imaginative parts to feel incredibly cheesy.
The same can be said of many of the characters and performances with the likes of Stella Stevens, Marla Maples and Jano Frandsen all guilty of over acting which to be honest is quite hard in such an obvious comedy. The good news is that Mimi Rogers does a wonderful job of playing Melody, who maybe a little too nice during the start grows into this interesting character. Well I say interesting but one which for an obvious romantic comedy is not completely flat and very likeable.
What this all boils down to is that "The Christmas List" compared to modern movies is cheesy, there is no hiding the fact from the comedy, the characters and the dialogue it is all quite cheesy. But it is also quite good fun and sort of bludgeons you into submission to accept all the issues and enjoy the simple Christmas fairytale romantic comedy. It is one of those movies which if you are not in the right mood for you could end up hating but if you want some simple feel good fairytale Christmas romance and comedy it will end up pleasing.
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