Holiday Watch: Charming Christmas

 

Charming Christmas Final Photo AssetsMeredith Rossman wants to take her family store, Rossman’s, to the next level by franchising it, despite the reluctance of her store-owning parents. Will she wield her MBA powers to get her way, or will the new store Santa help her have a Charming Christmas?

The store’s Santa, Nick, is key to trying to get Meredith (Julie Benz) to see the people who work at Rossman’s as people instead of widgets. Working against him is a corporate shark who who went to business school with Meredith whose intent is to promote the deal in an effort to get Melissa into his “boardroom”.

With Nick’s (David Sutcliffe) help, Meredith takes the small steps she needed to understand that there would be real, personal and personnel consequences to ceding ownership of the store to an outside corporation. There is the single mom trying to get her ex-husband to be a part of her son’s life. There’s the dancer who, now healed from injury, wants to cross the country back to NYC to pick up where she left off…despite her devoted husband having just established himself.

The end is much as you’d expect — this being a Christmas movie and all. It also has the nice little mystery of Nick’s degree of actual Santa-ness. It’s treated in the same ambiguous way as the mystery of Cassie Nightingale’s witchiness is dealt with in the Good Witch franchise.

With the glaring exception of the transparent corporate tool, this was a well-executed story. While time was spent on the supporting story arcs, the main plot with its touch of romance was never left wanting. In fact, many traditional holiday movie tropes were spun in slightly new directions. As a result, while the story seems familiar, it still seems fresh.

For me, the franchising (later, outright buy-out) sub-plot was a problem. Not so much the idea of it, but the execution. First, we have a shark who is clearly of an “engulf and devour” philosophy — with Meredith as the trophy at the end. The only saving grace is that there is no tiresome romantic pursuit. The downside is that the subtext should the deal go through is much darker.

It was nice that Meredith’s journey wasn’t a long one. She didn’t need to be knocked over the head with humanity, just nudged enough to notice it again. Even better, the supporting stories were interesting and sufficiently fleshed out to stand on their own. Well, done. The denouement was better than most as a lot of the story threads were tied up without too much of  a rush.

Charming Christmas does a good job balancing being familiar while also sending the story in interesting directions. The cast as a whole is engaging, and the pace is pleasant. Unfortunately, the business story forgot to wipe its shoes before coming in to play. I’m happy to have spent time with many of the characters. I’d like to think you will, too.

  
Story:★★★½☆ 
Acting:★★★★¼ 
Antagonist:★★★☆☆ 
Denouement:★★½ 
Overall:★★★¾☆ 
3.75 of 5 

 

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

Photo Credit: Copyright 2015 Crown Media United States, LLC/Photographer: Brooke Palmer

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