Holiday Watch: Christmas Incorporated

Christmas Incorporated Final Photo AssetsIt’s tough to find a good job during the holiday season. Riley Vance repeatedly learns this lesson but opts to try again at Young Inc. after she overhears a woman mention they are having open interviews. Amazingly, she gets the job…though she neglects to mention that she isn’t the “Riley V.” with the resume they thought they’d hired. Oops.

William Young (Steve Lund) is the scion of the company’s founder, and bristles at still being thought of as less competent. He almost buckles under the pressure of his board to sell, fire, and bow only to the shareholders in regards to a struggling toy factory that was Young Industries’ flagship. With a nudge from Riley (the nudge that got her hired), he agrees to visit the factory before making a decision.

The factory town of Dover, New Hampshire loves Christmas. Riley (Shenae Grimes-Beech) loves Christmas. William wants to run away from Christmas and bristles from the moment he arrives in town — in the back of the Sheriff’s car for driving without ID. Still, to appease his enthusiastic assistant, he at least goes through the motions. Then a funny thing happens: she gets to him. Sure, there are some complications along the way — a reporter of dubious ethics, William’s foot-dragging, Riley not being the other Riley V. — but in the end, a happy ending is had by the good guys.

This is a fairly solid, though uneventful, holiday romance. And that sort of underlines its weakness: the lack of a credible antagonist. The board spokesman seemed like he had some hidden agenda to sell the company, but after the boardroom scene, he isn’t heard from again. The aggressive Dover reporter, Rebecca Neston, seems to have a particular ax to grind over and above wanting to leave town with a job…but she sort of fizzles, too.

Unfortunately, the score is a little anemic at times. It’s not absent, but the movie does suffer from a few dead patches. The denouement is nothing more than ending at the resolution — very utilitarian. On the plus side: Santa’s cameos are pretty good.

Christmas Incorporated stands out as being a gentle romance with a practical subplot having a clear goal. In a season of formula movies, it does better than most to seem fresh. It is grounded and a solid vehicle for Shenae’s enthusiasm and sublimity. This is how you achieve “real life” verisimilitude without a truckload of angst or going dark and gritty. Yes, it has some weakness, but they are minor stumbles in an enjoyable movie. Recommended.

  
Story:★★★★☆ 
Acting:★★★★☆ 
Antagonist:★★½☆☆ 
Denouement:★★☆ 
Overall:★★★½☆ 
3.5 of 5 

 

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

Photo Credit: Copyright 2015 Crown Media United States, LLC/Photographer: Ben Mark Holzberg

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