Sara gets taken advantage of and never speaks up about it to the people who do it to her. It doesn’t help that she works in a company filled with people more than eager to exploit her non-dominance — including her friend Molly and especially her immediate superior, Dirk.
At the company Christmas party, when Dirk baldly steals her idea (after, of course, previously dismissing it while chewing Sara out), Sara walks out but only after promising Molly she’d return for some egg-nog. Wallowing alone in her subordination, Sara is giving what she thinks is a secret Santa gift from…well, Santa. It’s, you guessed it, A Wish for Christmas. She takes it as a lark, but when pressed, she tells him that she wished she had more courage and the ability to assert herself. Returning to the party, the wish takes hold and Sara tears into Dirk in a stunning display of outing the thieving weasel.
The next day, Sara clears out her desk, certain she’s fired. It turns out that this isn’t the case. The CEO, Peter, believes her. In fact, to Sara’s relief, he fired Dirk. But that leaves Peter in a bit of a bind — he needs her to go with him to Seattle to pitch her idea to Wilson Taylor, the billionaire who could help the company succeed. With a little prompting from Molly, she agrees.
Having flown from Chicago to Seattle, they are informed by Taylor’s executive assistant, that despite the appointment, the deal has already been decided and . Sara then taps into her new assertiveness and cajoles a new appointment at White Ridge Ski Resort, which happens to be Peter’s hometown.
While the billionaire is being a privileged so-and-so, Sara pushes Peter to join in his family’s Christmas joy. He hasn’t spent the last couple of years with them owing to a difference of opinion between Peter and his father on Peter’s career path. So, with Peter on the outs with both family and billionaires, it’s up to Sara to tap into her assertive skills before time runs out.
The running time for this movie is 1:24 without commercials. That immediately raises alarm bells for me as it suggests there isn’t enough story. Surprisingly, in this case, it means a fairly tightly written story that does a reasonable job of staying on point. Even so, there were still 2-to-3 minutes of filler. It suggests that by adding three or four scenes, the movie could have been brought up to something closer to 1:30 — hopefully without badly impacting the budget.
I would have liked a better lead-up to the abuse Sara experiences at work. We were slapped in the face with it from the start and it made the first ten minutes uncomfortable to watch. Just showing her getting the office coffee, seeing in ever-increasing ways how she fails to assert herself, would ease the audience into her daily situation. There also could have been a little more family tension. Not as bad as the trivial spat with this father, but clearly some discomfort or awkwardness for a scene or two — to give some hope that Peter might resolve things on his own.
The one scene that felt awkward was the end at the office. The hair and wardrobe Sara wore seemed out of step with the rest of the movie. Honestly, to me it felt like Lacy had just dropped by from the set of another movie where she was of a higher class than here.
A Wish for Christmas is very recognizably Hallmark, but not in a crippling way. The structure and pacing of the story were fairly sound, the snow actually looked real, and the main characters were agreeable. Although the billionaire antagonist was socially rude and narcissistic, his actual presence was mercifully brief. The scoring was unobtrusive. While the ending was pretty much telegraphed, it was satisfying. Overall, not a bad effort. I mostly wish it had five or six more good minutes. What’s there, though, is good enough for some breezy holiday enjoyment.
|3.25 of 5|
For more movies, go to the list at: Watching the Holiday Movies
Photo Credit: Copyright 2016 Crown Media United States LLC/Photographer: Bettina Strauss