Sunday, December 16, 2012

TV Movie Review: The Case for Christmas (2011)

Could someone actually sue Santa Claus? That's what happens in this 2011 Hallmark Channel movie starring Dean Cain and Rachel Blanchard.

Young attorney Michael Sherman (Cain) is at the courthouse looking for clients when he finds a man claiming to be Kris Kringle (George Buza). After being charmed by Michael's daughter, Lily (Helen Colliander), Kris asks Michael to represent him in a class action suit being brought against him by Braxton Bennett (Barry Flatman), a rich entrepreneur. Bennett is suing Santa for emotional distress because he didn't bring him the presents he asked for, and he's found others who claim to have the same problem.

Widower Sherman has student loans to pay, so he's certainly not about to turn down a case, but Santa Claus? This guy certainly must be off his rocker. Lauren (Blanchard), a good friend of Michael's deceased wife, and Lily think Kris is the real deal.

It's hard not to like a movie with Dean Cain in it. He's such a versatile actor, who brings great depth and emotion to all his characters, whether he's playing Superman (Lois & Clark), Joseph Smith (September Dawn), or a toy maker living on a ranch (The Three Gifts). The Case of Christmas is definitely a feel-good seasonal tale. Cain plays emotionally detached Michael Sherman well and makes him believable and sympathetic. Colliander's Lily is also a star. Not only adorable, her wonder and awe of Kris Kringle and her quick belief of who he is and what he can do add a great deal to the movie.

I have to admit, however, that Blanchard's character lacked chemistry for me. Lauren is pining away for Michael, and when Kris asks her why she hasn't told him she's in love with him, her plain answer is that he would never be interested in a girl like her. Yet, she can believe Kris is the real Santa Claus without missing a beat. Blanchard delivers her lines, but until she gets angry at Michael I don't feel any emotion behind them. I didn't even sense the connection between Lauren and Michael at the end. It's  like the writers made the decision that the movie had to have a romance storyline in it, whether it would work or not. Personally, I felt it would have been better without the romance.

What I do think is hilarious is the sub-story of problems with the equipment at the North Pole. Kris has to keep disappearing to go back home to fix the machine. When he does, he leaves his right hand man, Charlie Elfkin (Dylan Roberts) to help Michael with the case. Charlie is an annoying guy with a huge appetite, leading to many funny moments. Bennett and his attorney, Dina (Krista Bridges), also add several funny scenes.

Overall, this is a cute seasonal movie. The combination of serious and funny was good, but I wouldn't have minded if the movie was more drama and less comedy. It should run again on Sunday, December 23 at 10 AM Eastern if you want to catch it.

Release Date: 19 November 2011 (USA)
Runtime: 87 minutes

I recorded this movie on my DVR off the Hallmark Channel. This review contains my honest opinions, for which I have not been compensated in any way.

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