Predictable in Paradise
Recently widowed Dana Marino (Charlotte Ross - Montana Sky) has decided to spend Christmas in San Juan, Puerto Rico having booked a cruise with her bossy teenager Chris (Devon Werkheiser) and his younger brother Mike (Kenton Duty) who has withdrawn to living in his own world of fantasy drawings. Also arriving in San Juan on the same cruise is divorced father Dan Casey (Colin Ferguson - Mom at Sixteen) with his daughters; Nell (Aria Wallace) and her older sister Blair (Josie Loren). Maybe it is the emotional baggage they carry around with them but they are drawn to each other as Dan and Dana become close as do Blair and Chris whilst Nell takes it upon herself to help young Mike come out of his shell. And all is going well until Dan's ex Madeline (Marta Martin) arrives unexpectedly, laden with gifts to try and buy herself back into the marriage.
Ignore for a second the word Christmas in "Christmas In Paradise" and we have a very obvious made for TV romantic comedy. It all starts with Dan and Dana, both damaged souls who seem to find happiness as they keep on bumping into each other and eventually go out on a holiday "date". But for added effect we have their children making connections as well as typical moody teenagers Blair and Chris get romantic whilst Nell and Mike become friends. Everything about it is predictable right down to the spanner in the works when Dan's ex shows up to try and bribe her way back in to the family and of course Dan has to work out what he really wants. It is almost so predictable that you could stop watching "Christmas In Paradise" after the first 10 minutes and know how it will end.
But in fairness when taken as just as a romantic comedy "Christmas In Paradise" is semi cute with Colin Ferguson and Charlotte Ross having the right sort of appeal to make it watchable. In fact the cast are well chosen even if at times the younger characters are border line annoying for being typically annoying teenagers or too cute younger children. Although the whole slit screen switching style which is forced upon us by director heldon Larry just adds to the annoyance.
As for the whole Christmas in "Christmas in Paradise", well it is one of the weakest Christmas movies you will come across with other than being set at Christmas in another country we have the curiosity of the Three Wise Men from a nativity scene who come to life and become a mariachi band. As I said it is weak and if you are looking for some festive fun I can't really suggest this movie.
What this all boils down to is that "Christmas in Paradise" kind of works as a general made for TV rom-com due to its generic storyline. But as a Christmas movie it comes up wanting and lacks the Christmas spirit to the point it isn't one I would set out to watch to put me in the mood for Christmas.