PLOT: Man inherited a company that has a toy factory in a small town. The town needs the factory to stay open. He goes to decide to keep or close the factory. Finds the meaning of Christmas along the way.
After 16 movies, the only thing that I’ve learned is that I’m getting old. First, the Pink Ranger was believable as a mother of two adult daughter, then Gretchen Wieners plays the mother of two young girls, and finally, Alex Mack apparently doesn’t look out-of-place as woman who could have a young child. Oh my childhood, are you really that long ago?
It’s it not even that actresses are getting more grown up roles, but rather, it everything about these movies. Every situation is something I can sympathize with, whether it’s about a mature relationship or being a working professional, and these moments now have an even higher emotional impact than when I watched this genre as a kid. This is even more evident in Wish Upon a Christmas.
Larisa Oleynik (Secret Life of Alex Mack, 3rd Rock From the Sun) plays Amelia Pierce, a women who job is simply to fire people. While this may seem mean and cold-hearted, she sees it as necessary to the health of that company. As a person working in this current economic climate, the idea of layoffs adds a different layer of emotion that wouldn’t have been there a few years ago. Becoming an adult is not what we thought it would be as a kid.
Before I wallow anymore about my mortality, let us discuss Wish Upon a Christmas in more depth. This Lifetime original movie is as generic a Christmas movie as I have ever watched. The writer mixed a bunch of familiar elements into one mediocre plot. There was the single father whose dead wife loved Christmas, the woman who didn’t like Christmas but the magic won her over, the kid who is desperately holding on to Christmas, and a guardian angel-type Santa.
That last one was really unnecessary because the revel at the end was a Bruce-Willis-was-dead-the-whole-time twist, but it actually made me laugh. The idea that the son wrote a letter asking for his father to find someone was never mentioned until that moment. It could have been edited out, or maybe it happened so quickly that the audience didn’t pick up on it. Either way it felt like the only reason it existed was to end the Santa plot thread even though the better ending occurred a couple of scenes later.
At this point, it will be a surprise if I ever have anything to say in this category.
They used the high school sweethearts angle to try to kick-start the story. There is nothing too over-dramatic about their story, but telling us they used to date is slightly lazy and excuses the writer from properly pacing the arc. Aaron Ashmore (Smallville, Warehouse 13) — no, not the one from the X-Men movies; it’s the other one — and Oleynik are cute together and you can see enough chemistry for the sweetheart angle to work.
In a movie about a failing ornament factory, it would almost be shocking if there wasn’t a lot of Christmas-ness in the movie. There’s your typical company Christmas party with cookies and lights strung about, and a fiddler (see photo). What gave Wish Upon a Christmas most of its score was the humming of Christmas songs while sculpting the ornaments. And of course, this movie has Santa in it.
Christmas-ness Score: 4 out of 5
Wish Upon a Christmas is about as middle of the road as it can get, and doesn’t show enough to elicit any emotion from the audience. The story was predictable, so you didn’t need to be that invested in the movie. That is not to say the movie’s bad in any way, but it’s very blah. Most of my time watching. I was wondering about Oleynik and thinking, ‘Oh, yeah, she would be getting adult roles now.’ That’s how invested I was. But if that doesn’t get you excited, Canadian god, Alan Thicke, (Growing Pains, Robin Thicke’s dad) is in the movie.