It Really is The Most Wonderful Time of the Year
"The Most Wonderful Time of the Year" is a smile movie, it's a Christmas romantic comedy which maybe as obvious as tinsel on a Christmas tree but it is sweet, charming and puts a warm smile on your face ready for the festive season. It also helps that it stars Henry Winkler who doesn't have to do much at all to put an equally big smile on your face. Having said that "The Most Wonderful Time of the Year" is by no means a great movie but for a made for TV Christmas movie it is as good as 90% of the Christmas movies which get made for the big screen.
Jennifer (Brooke Burns - Trial by Fire) is a busy single mum who is desperately trying to make Christmas wonderful for her son whilst really longing for it all to be over. But when her Uncle Ralph (Henry Winkler - Click) flies in with a handsome stranger, Morgan (Warren Christie - My Baby Is Missing), which he met on the plane, all that is about to change. Despite not keen on having a stranger stay in her home, Jennifer agrees and despite some initial antagonism Jennifer soon warms to the easy going and helpful Morgan. But things are made more complicated by her long term boyfriend taking an immediate dislike to Morgan meaning that their Christmas may not be as wonderful as it could be.
Now I won't lie, the storyline to "The Most Wonderful Time of the Year" is as obvious as they come; the whole set up with single working mother Jennifer trying to make Christmas wonderful for her son whilst deep down longing for Christmas to be over has been done before. And so is the same when it comes to the romantic storyline which sees her starting with one boyfriend only for a handsome stranger to come into her life and unintentionally change things. It doesn't take a brain surgeon to know where "The Most Wonderful Time of the Year" will end up as to who Jennifer ends up with and it follows the formula from A to B very closely so all the expected scenes are there as the initial antagonism between Jennifer and Morgan turns to warmth. But you know what, it doesn't matter because the storyline delivers that feel good factor, it delivers warmth and brings a smile to your face.
I could say the same about the comedy because it's all been done before and scenes which see Jennifer frantically trying to get the one special present or the antagonism between Jennifer and Morgan could easily have been lifted out of any other romantic comedy and just transplanted in to "The Most Wonderful Time of the Year". Even the character of Uncle Ralph who with a good heart meddles in Jennifer's life feels like we've seen it before. But once more I have to say it doesn't matter because the comedy is fun, it's all very sweet and innocent and yet again it brings a smile to your face.
And of course being a Christmas movie there are plenty of romantic and funny scenes revolving around the festive season from Jennifer's complete incompetence when it comes to cooking Turkey to her Christmas Nazi neighbour who hassles her over making sure her house is decorated appropriately. But it all works; it's all amusing and just basically good simple fun.
It has to be said that the casting of Brooke Burns as Jennifer and Warren Christie as Morgan is pretty damn good, both are good looking and they have some form of chemistry, not an amazing romantic spark but just enough to be believable, but it is their performances of the characters which is so entertaining. Burns delivers that career focussed single mum perfectly without becoming a complete cliche whilst Christie delivers the laid back easy going traveller just as perfectly so you get the chalk and cheese but a chalk and cheese which so obviously go together.
But for me it is the casting of Henry Winkler which makes "The Most Wonderful Time of the Year" more than just an average Christmas romantic comedy. His character of Uncle Ralph may not be the most original or well developed, basically a nice old guy who wants the best for his niece but Winkler delivers it brilliantly. And let's be honest just the way Winkler acts and delivers lines with an ease and coolness instantly brings a smile to your face let alone when he tries to meddle in their lives and match make.
What this all boils down to is that "The Most Wonderful Time of the Year" is a really warm, fun Christmassy romantic comedy. It may have been made for TV but it is just as good as any big screen romantic comedy of recent years. It's a lovely movie to watch to put you in the mood for Christmas and with Henry Winkler delivering his charm and meddlesome coolness it brings smile after smile even if it is all very obvious.