Back to You and Me for Christmas
My love of Christmas movies is well known and I admit there are times when maybe my love of these festive films skewer my opinion but fortunately when it comes to "I'll Be Home for Christmas" there is no skewering as it simply works. It works because "I'll Be Home for Christmas" uses a familiar storyline which is the basis of numerous movies and not just Christmas movies as we have a city dweller returning home and finding himself and his high school love getting sweet on each other. That does mean that from the minute "I'll Be Home for Christmas" starts it offers absolutely nothing new but it does it all so well, with some enjoyable characters and a lot of warmth to make you smile.
The town of St. Nicholas is in trouble as the previous doctor has passed away and they are unable to attract a new doctor to come in which without one will lead to the place dying. It is something which town vet and Mayor Sarah (Ann Jillian - It Was Him or Us) is charged with sorting but she is struggling as no one wants to live in the remote town. But town veteran Bob (Jack Palance - City Slickers 2) has an idea as his widowed son-in-law Michael (Robert Hays - Unabomber) a city surgeon along with Michael's daughter Jilly (Ashley Gorrell) are coming to visit for Christmas and maybe they can persuade him to stay. That not only causes problems for Sarah as she and Michael use to date back in high school but for Michael as he is having a crisis of confidence when it comes to his work.
So as I said "I'll Be Home for Christmas" is nothing new as it has all the familiar elements of your typical made for TV romantic comedy. We have the small town, the widowed parent and child, the old flame and enough meddlesome locals who want the city guy to not just return but get back together with his high shool girlfriend. It is all so familiar but it works and with the added benefit of it being a Christmas movie with snow, decorations and Christmas trees it has even more charm and warmth than usual.
But what makes it all the more palatable is not the realism as it is not in the least bit realistic but the actors. Ann Jillian and Robert Hays work so well as high school sweethearts who still have feelings for each other and with the character of Michael having anxiety attacks when it comes to medicine Hays brings back touches of Ted Striker from his days in "Airplane". But it is not just Ann Jillian and Robert Hays who make the movie as Jack Palance makes a wonderful grandfather who bonds with his grand daughter Jilly who is sweetly played by Ashley Gorrell.
What this all boils down to is that "I'll Be Home for Christmas" is nothing new but it works a familiar story extremely well with sweet romance and plenty of Christmas warmth.