Candy Cain and Christmas Charm
The opening scene to "The Three Gifts" or "The Christmas Gift" as it is also known sets out what to expect from the movie, 3 young boys skateboarding on the path are meant to be tiny terrors but they are the politest terrors you will ever meet as they call out "Excuse me, coming through" to the people in front of them. It's oh so nice and polite and that is the best way you can describe the rest of "The Three Gifts" as this is one of the most inoffensive Christmas movies I have ever watched. Sadly whilst inoffensive does make a change it doesn't mean that "The Three Gifts" is any good as it lumbers from one over nice cliche scene to the next, providing some simple amusement along the way but nothing close to being anything more than average, well average for a made for TV Christmas movie.
Christmas is coming and Jack (Dean Cain - Out of Time) and Cherie Green (Jean Louisa Kelly - Uncle Buck) are busy with their business building traditional Christmas toys at their workshop on their ranch to give to charity. Jack is also busy helping his Aunt Rita (Mimi Kennedy) who runs the local orphanage and finds himself agreeing to take in 3 orphan boys over Christmas when his Aunt politely asks. As Jack and Cherie can't have children of their own they find having 3 young boys around their home brilliant and talk about adopting one of them which when over heard by one of the boys leads to them competing to be the nicest child possible so that they will be the lucky one. Except when you have 3 holy terrors trying to be good it usually leads to just as much trouble.
To be honest I am sucker for feel good movies and the actual basic storyline to "The Three Gifts" is quite nice with childless couple Jack & Cherie Green agreeing to look after 3 orphan boys for Christmas. And it is fun as these 3 boys believe that the Green's plan to adopt one of them and so go from being best buds to rivals as they try to out do each other by being the nicest child they can. Even the forced way we learn how each of these boys ended up in an orphanage and became best friends as they past the age of being ideal for adoption sort of works. But the trouble is that none of this and none of the drama where we have tears, trouble, stress and so on and so forth really sparks into life.
And the reason that it doesn't spark into life is that everything about "The Three Gifts" is just too nice and too perfect. Take the Green's for example they live on a ranch with horses but they also have their own traditional toy business, making wooden toys in the barn and each year they give a shed load of toys to charity. Not only that these are the nicest couple you can meet as they never shout or get stressed even when the 3 boys accidentally cause trouble and seem like they live for Christmas, going out to chop down a Christmas tree and decorating it to the nines whilst wearing Santa hats. By trying to create this magical ideal "The Three Gifts" becomes cheesy and false as is the fact that Jack's Aunt happens to run the orphanage and he is always there helping out. To put it simply we have Saint Jack and his attractive wife and very nice aunt.
If the niceness wasn't over kill the series of Christmas cliches will push you closer to the edge. We have these young boys wondering whether Santa is real, singing in a Christmas Concert and making a special present for Aunt Rita. It gets to the point of being painful and if it wasn't for the fact it is also all very innocent it would be terrible.
Now whilst we have various characters including Cherie Green played by Jean Louisa Kelly pretty much everything in "The Three Gifts" revolves around Jack and so we have Dean Cain in the majority of scenes. Now no offence to Mr. Cain but it certainly feels that he has been cast for his wholesome looks rather than for his acting, to be honest the story doesn't demand for much acting or characterization. So what that means is we get scenes where we have Cain as the hunky rancher with his cowboy hat and then scenes of Cain as Mr. Christmas with his Santa's hat on and in between that there are scenes of Cain just looking good and being nice. But that is what "The Three Gifts" is all about, looking nice, being nice and being charming on an idealistic innocent level.
What this all boils down to is that "The Three Gifts" is not a good movie and probably on another day I would say it was absolutely terrible but it has a certain amount of charm about it which makes it just about average. It is all very obvious, very forced and very fake but if you are looking for the most inoffensive Christmas movie to watch with your family then "The Three Gifts" is one of the most inoffensive Christmas movies going.