Sunday, December 16, 2012

TV Movie Review: Once Upon A Christmas (2000)

Kathy Ireland stars as the daughter of Santa Claus in this family tale of the season.

Santa is unhappy that so many families are on the naughty list, so he's going to cancel Christmas and take off on vacation with Mrs. Claus. This leaves his oldest daughter, Rudolfa (Mary Donnelly-Haskell) in charge, and she plans to change Christmas in drastic ways. Kristin Claus (Ireland) can't let that happen, so her father tells her if she can bring one family from the naughty list onto the nice list, he'll come back.

That won't be easy. The Morgan family consists of a widowed, work-aholic father played by John Dye, and two spoiled, bratty kids who have chased off every nanny they've ever had. There's also Uncle Johnny (Wayne Thomas Yorke) who's living off the family and has no plans to get a job any time soon.

When I looked up this movie to write my review, I was surprised they produced a sequel (Twice Upon A Christmas). I had a few challenges with the plot of this one. While it all works out in the end and you discover Santa's true intentions, the early minutes of the movie show a Santa that is not discouraged over how the world is changing, but one who is ready to blow off all the good kids who deserve presents so he can take a vacation. I'm not sure that's the kind of movie I want my children to see, even if Santa is redeemed. I also didn't care for the fact that Santa has an evil daughter and some naughty elves who help Rudolfa carry out her plan to ruin Christmas.

The main characters of this movie were portrayed a bit stereotypical for my taste. Bill Morgan (Dye) buried himself in his work after the death of his wife, and has lost sight of what is important. To make up for his absence, he's spoiled his kids, Kyle (James Kirk) and Brittany (Kirsten Prout), lavishing them with gifts they don't even play with. Kristen Claus (Ireland) is so good that one can't even consider she would jaywalk. And if I were to be totally honest, Uncle Johnny creeped me out a bit. The only character I truly loved was the Tooth Fairy played by Liz Torres. She was hilarious.

Once Upon A Christmas has potential. If they rounded out the characters a little bit; made Santa more sympathetic; tossed the evil daughter, and made Kristen more believable, it could work. Proust did a great job in the role of Brittany, and I was glad to see her finally come around.

Though this movie really wasn't for me, the ending was superb. I wish the rest of the movie had been like the ending. I would have truly enjoyed it. This will replay on Thursday December 27th at 2 AM and 4 PM Eastern if you would like to catch it.

Runtime: 90 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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