Schwarzenegger Cooks Up Christmas
Elizabeth Blane (Dyan Cannon - Author! Author!) is a domestic goddess with the perfect family, the perfect kitchen and America adores her cooking show. The thing is that none of it is real; the kitchen is a set, there is no family and Elizabeth can't even make toast, relying on an assistant to create all the stunning food which thanks to the magic of TV and the pushiness of producer Alexander Yardley (Tony Curtis) makes Elizabeth look good. Always looking for a rating boost Alexander spots on TV the story of ranger Jefferson Jones (Kris Kristofferson - Stagecoach) who having rescued a stranded child in a snow storm loses his home when it burns down with just an Elizabeth Blane cookbook remaining, not that Jefferson cares for it. So Alexander decides they will do a broadcast on location with people hired to play Elizabeth's family and to make Elizabeth look good by cooking Jefferson a Christmas dinner. Of course with a pretence to keep up, Alexander having a thing for Elizabeth and a romantic spark between Elizabeth and Jefferson it is bound to get messy.
Despite trying to I have never seen the original "Christmas in Connecticut" and so right way I have no idea how this made for TV movie from 1992 stands up against the classic but what I do know is that it isn't that bad. In fact when I saw that Arnold Schwarzenegger directed this version of "Christmas in Connecticut" I was genuinely fearing the worst and whilst I am sure he benefited from a cast who knew how to take a character and run with it he certainly doesn't mess it up. I would even go as far as saying that Schwarzenegger's direction is solid if generic with typical camera angles, typical edits, typical music and so on, although there is a terrible Terminator reference thrown in.
But anyway as to Schwarzenegger's "Christmas in Connecticut", well I must admit that I gave more away that I normally do but to be honest once the set up is in place of Elizabeth being a fake TV cook and the plan to put on a show cooking a meal for the heroic Jefferson everything else is obvious. You know there will be complete and utter Christmas chaos as you have this mismatch of people trying to pretend to be a family whilst Elizabeth struggles to keep up the masquerade of being a domestic goddess whilst of course there is some romance. There is nothing here that you won't expect and there are no surprises as to how it plays out.
But whilst obvious "Christmas in Connecticut" certainly has some Christmas charm about it and as I said benefits from a cast who knows what they are doing. As such Kris Kristofferson doing his eligible mountain man routine who handles an axe with masculine ease. There is Dyan Cannon doing flirtatious and city shallow plus of course there is Tony Curtis who lets it fly with the comedy as the pushy and over the top producer who would love to get Elizabeth into his bed. Again these are performances and characters which are text book right down to Jimmy Workman as a crafty kid playing one of the family they are enjoyable.
What this all boils down to is that "Christmas in Connecticut" is a movie of no surprises but enjoyable performances and so in the end whilst we have cliches on top of cliches there is some charm and Christmas spirit which keeps you watching.