Holiday Watch: Window Wonderland

window wonderland 872060 800aChristmas in New York can only mean one thing: department store window display battles. Window Wonderland gives us a competition to see which of two wannabes will inherit the prestigious position left by the store’s legendary window dresser.

Sloan Van Doren (Chyler Leigh) is an ambitious woman eager to become McGuire’s Department Store’s head window dresser. Opposing her is Jake Dooley (Paul Campbell), a budding artist with a laid-back take on the world. The head of their department, Fitch, pits them against each other.

Sloan’s life is complicated by an upper-percent boyfriend who doesn’t understand why she wants to earn her position instead of using available contacts and leverage. After all, that’s what people in their position do. Jake, on the other hand, is settling in with living in McGuire’s after hours since losing his apartment. Sloan’s life is also complicated in that no one knows that she’s not society born and, in fact, she’s the daughter of the store’s women’s bathroom attendant, Rita (Naomi Judd).

The contest itself never devolves into dirty pool. Instead, the plot mostly deals with each of our leads’ secrets being revealed and the consequences that ensue from those revelations. Fortunately, no damage is done to anyone who matters.

I don’t think there’s any question that the two characters who steal the show are Rita and Mac, the window washer (Terence Kelly) who, like most everyone else in the movie, isn’t all that he seems. They have a chemistry even when they aren’t sharing the screen. As much as they warmed the heart, Sloan’s boyfriend, Kenny Kenneth never rose above the level of clueless douchebag. This was the case both before and after Sloan was revealed to him as coming from the working class. He couldn’t seem to wrap his silver spooned head around the idea that she wanted to be more than his “plus one”.

Because of Kenny Kenneth, as well as Fitch, I didn’t enjoy the first part of the movie on initial viewing , but knowing the secrets will surely make subsequent viewings much more entertaining.  The third act really saves it, ending with everything wrapped up in a loosely-tied bow. The story itself takes a bit of a hit for being a little too predictable. The boyfriend, for being too much in the mold of cliche obviously-wrong suitor, and Fitch being a general ass at the beginning, add up to a bumpy pair of antagonists that we have to wade through.

Though it ends well, Window Wonderland suffers from a start lacking in positive energy which hampers rooting wholeheartedly for either of the leads. This does improve. Naomi Judd’s character is really the engine that ties the principals together and lets us care about them. Window Wonderland, overall, is not a bad movie, but it is one that you’ll probably have to stick with at the beginning to get to the point where you’ll know you’ll get satisfaction.

  
Story:★★¾☆☆ 
Acting:★★¾☆☆ 
Antagonist:★¾☆☆☆ 
Denouement:★★½ 
Overall:★★¾☆☆ 
2.75 of 5 

For more movies, go to the list at: Watching the Holiday Movies

Photo: Crown Media

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