Holiday Watch: Christmas Magic

There are times when you don’t want to have to work to watch a movie…especially during the holidays. Christmas Magic is an easily digested break from the hectic season. The story isn’t complicated or ironic, just quietly entertaining.

Carrie Bishop (Lindy Booth) is a career-first, New York City event planner who figures there will be time to take care of those life things at some later date. When she wakes up in a being-alive-challenged state, she’s given an assignment from another angel: help widower restauranteur Scott Walker (Paul McGillion) reverse his fortunes.

In no time at all, Carrie bonds with Scott’s 8-year-old, insightful daughter, Abby. Soon, the joy of Christmas starts filling Scott’s world as well as a key opportunity. Carrie uses her skill to get an artist to hire Scott to cater his gallery show. Combining the theme of the show with Scott’s killer barbecue recipe provides the magic to bring new customers to the restaurant.

At the show, Scott becomes intrigued enough with a woman to start dating her: Carrie’s long-time rival, Lynette. Though Carrie tries to warn Scott off, there are rules in the afterlife that prevent her from actively intervening. With her heart breaking, Carrie decides to cross over almost too early…but it seems that her story in the living world isn’t finished quite that easily.

Calling Christmas Magic a movie might be raising expectations a bit. It’s really more of an extended vignette. There aren’t a myriad of sub-plots to have to wade through. Though not without its twists, the story moves ahead without a lot of contrived complications.

With a less skilled creative team, this production could have fallen on it face. Instead, you find yourself pulling for Carrie to succeed even when she’s in pre-afterlife, workaholic mode. Credit must be given to Lindy for making Carrie so gosh-darned likable. She’s very much a down-to-earth angel.

The only sort of hiccup comes from the supporting characters. While Lynette fits into the world that’s been created, she’s played a little more snarky than is probably necessary. And the artist is a bit over-the-top—not unrealistically but noticeably. None of this seriously impacts the movie as the sub-plots involving these characters are more background than usual.

Lastly, the story ended well. It was wrapped up in a big bow, though a bit loosely tied. The audience is left to fill in a few blanks, but overall the ending wasn’t rushed or wasted.

Christmas Magic is solid, light entertainment with likable characters. The pacing is good and the mood generally upbeat. If you are looking for something with grit or irony, you might be a little disappointed, but if you just want to feel like you’re spending some time with friends, you should check it out.

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

Photo: Copyright 2011 Crown Media Holdings, Inc./Photographer Micholina Storer

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

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