Career or love? That’s the choice Lindsay Rogers is faced with upon receiving two life-changing offers in one night. A mysterious man driving a carriage doesn’t make it any easier.
Lindsay (Eloise Mumford) is in love. She’s also still living at home because education doesn’t pay well. Her life changes when, on the way to what she hopes will be a proposal by Jason (Michael Stahl-David), she gets a call offering to print her thesis as a (hopefully) best selling book as well as an associate professorship on a tenure track at Yale. The Yale in Connecticut. She happens to be living in Harborview, Washington. Needless to say, her hesitation in saying yes when her boyfriend proposes, because they both know a cross-country relationship is doomed, is not taken well.
Brokenhearted, Lindsay tries to calm herself at the park. As she sits there in the evening, a goateed man (William Shatner) driving a horse-drawn carriage arrives and takes her on a ride…an adventure. Little does Lindsay realize that upon seeing an aurora and a falling star her adventure has just begun.
It takes her a while to accept that she is now in a world three years in the future. She’s a bestselling author and professor. Her finace-that-could-have-been is instead marrying a mutual friend. Her mom is in Sweden — having fallen in love with the doctor who saved her life. And her grandfather (Christopher Lloyd) is still there to support her and fill in the blanks.
Lindsay then proceeds to inadvertently sabotage Jason’s pending nuptials while trying to get a handle on her new life — which isn’t easy considering that she has no recollection of the past three years. Her life at Yale is a complete blank. Eventually, the goateed man returns and after another aurora and meteor, Lindsay gets a second chance to set things right — which she does.
This is an interesting take on It’s a Wonderful Life in that the person learning the lesson isn’t let in on any of the rules. She has to figure it all out for herself. It also colors her choice. Since she has no memory of her three Yale years, she doesn’t know if she was happy in that life. All she sees is someone else about to marry her man. It might have helped if there was a clear antagonist, but it’s pretty much all about Lindsay and her own regret.
The pacing and tone of the story is uneven. It doesn’t seem to want to commit to comedy, broad comedy, or romance. Points do have to be given to the winks at Back to the Furture with Lloyd getting the line, “I don’t know…time travel?” while also driving what seems to be a Packard similar to the car Doc Brown drove in the movies.
The score was solid and only went noticeably dead briefly on a couple of occasions, and the denouement was good but a little rushed. The climax was hampered by the over-used montage over a song, which is very much filler as cutting it wouldn’t have impacted a thing.
Just in Time for Christmas is a fairly entertaining movie if you don’t try to think about it too hard. The pacing is good and the production is first-rate. The characters are generally agreeable and there isn’t a clumsy antagonist. I did have to mark down on story because this movie really had nothing to do with Christmas other than set dressing.
|3.25 of 5|
For more movies, go to the list at: Watching the Holiday Movies
Photo Credit: Copyright 2015 Crown Media United States, LLC/Photographer: Dan Power