The neighborhood public library in Manhattan has happily resided in the Shaughnessy building for fifty years. That is about to come to an end when the builder’s grandson is part of the machine intending to raze the building after the holidays. He didn’t count on one very passionate librarian.
Cheri Jamison (Lindy Booth) loves her library. She all but grew up here. Upon learning that Tony Shaughnessy (Robin Dunne), the guy who lives in her building’s penthouse, is part of the team intent on destroying her passion, she sets forth to convince him and his grandmother to save the building. To that end, she enlists members of the library to decorate Christmas trees to demonstrate their own passion and ties to the library. Despite dirty tricks, romantic pairings, and a moved-up timetable, Cheri manages to win over the hearts and minds of the developers.
One aspect of this do-gooder vs heartless moguls that I liked is that Cheri is often called out on the fact that she’s not above agendas and manipulations — she’s just a little less cynical about it. If you are going toe-to-toe with the privileged, you better be prepared to use every advantage.
I wasn’t a big fan of the Cheri/Tony on-off budding romance. While they fit alright, there wasn’t that burning chemistry that you usually get to see in this sort of film. They felt more like cousins (and not the kissing kind). On the other hand, the romance between the head librarian and the janitor had some sparks to it. They were so cute.
Another casting note: Mel B, who wasn’t so much scary as mean, happily chewed the scenery and it actually worked. What didn’t work so much was evil developer Charlie, who planned to move up the destruction to the day after Christmas so there’d be less media attention. Not only is he very much the grinch, but he also isn’t very much in the movie –just the move-up scene and then the climax when his heart conveniently grows a few sizes.
This movie didn’t really sing for me, though nothing big underscores that. The story is about average. Lindy Booth once again brings the same skill and enthusiasm as with Christmas Magic. The main character romance felt flat, there was a montage/vignette in the middle that slowed the pacing a little, and there was no real denouement to speak of…even the climax felt rushed. But none of that really scuttled the film.
Overall, it’s watchable and no doubt others will enjoy it — perhaps more than I did. For me, it just didn’t reach its full potential.
|2.75 of 5|
For more movies, go to the list at: Watching the Holiday Movies
Photo: Christos Kalohoridis / Lifetime