The Family Woman
My DVD said this movie was called "All I Want for Christmas", then I found a review which called it "The Mrs. Clause" and then imdb listed it as "The Christmas Clause" when in truth it would have been better called "The Family Woman". You see "The Christmas Clause" plays out along the lines of "The Family Man" but where that featured a business man magically experiencing the family life he could have had this sees a stressed mother magically experiencing life as a successful single woman. Needless to say this means that "The Christmas Clause" ends up very familiar, playing out in a predictable manner and as a made for TV movie suffers from weaker writing whilst relying heavily on the likeability of Lea Thompson to make it work.
With Christmas coming mum of three Sophie (Lea Thompson - Stealing Christmas) is stressed out as between being the only money earner in the family, three demanding kids and an even more demanding boss all she wants is a good nights sleep. To make matters worse whilst queuing up with her children to see a Mall court Santa she bumps into her old friend Marcia (Rachel Hayward) who lives a glamorous single life. So when Sophie has to sit on Santa's (Doug Abrahams) lap because her daughter is too scared to she sarcastically wishes for her friend's life and is shocked when out of nowhere her wish comes true.
So I mentioned "The Family Man" before and in that movie Nicolas Cage's character magically goes from big businessman to husband and father leading the normal life he threw away years earlier. "The Christmas Clause" basically flips that around so that a busy, normal mother magically gets the luxury life she thinks she wants. It may flip things around but predictably what follows is more traditional as Sophie realising that whilst the freedom and wealth is good to start with she still misses her family. And then in a bit of a twist on "Big" Sophie has to find a way to put things right so she can have her old life back.
Now in the big list of Christmas movies "The Christmas Clause" comes just below middle because whilst there is nothing wrong with it, it is less than memorable. In truth it is also less than magical failing to really capture the spirit of Christmas in favour of delivering obvious jokes and a touch of food fight slapstick when Sophie's new life takes a turn for the unexpected. But it isn't offensive, a sort of early December movie to start pushing you in the direction of feeling Christmassy but not getting you all the way there too early.
What is for certain is that "The Christmas Clause" relies heavily on Lea Thompson and her likeability to keep you watching. And Thompson as Sophie gives it her all from being the stressed mum to the glamorous, fur wearing business woman delivering one big facial expression after another. In truth it all gets a bit too much and "The Christmas Clause" needed someone else to take some of the burden off of Thompson's shoulders as whilst she is good it needs more variation.
What this all boils down to is that whether you call it "The Christmas Clause", "All I Want for Christmas" or "The Mrs. Clause" this is a lightweight Christmas movie which isn't terrible but isn't magical or really memorable as it reworks a familiar idea.