PLOT: Holiday humbug Krissy Kringle receives a special delivery intended for Santa Claus, the Naughty or Nice book he left behind while visiting a child, and uses the power of the book to expose the naughty deeds of those around her, but soon finds that her newfound power isn’t always so nice.
After plowing through a ridiculous amount of these types of movies in a short period of time, it was nice to see one that was self-aware and tried to stray as much as it could from the template. It was refreshing to watch something with a message that wasn’t the same old “if you’re nice, you will get rewarded on Christmas.”
Naughty or Nice stars Hilarie Burton (One Tree Hill) as Krissy Kringle — yes, that is the characters real name — as a recently fired ad executive who comes into possession of Santa’s Naughty or Nice book. You see she lives on… wait for it… Candy Cane Lane, and her name can be shortened to Kris Kringle so she gets all the mail intended for Mr. Claus. She discovers that the book’s ability to find out secrets about anyone in the world, and as one would, begins to use it to help her life.
Along the way she learns that knowing all this information is not making her happy, and that she should turn the book over so she can see the nice list. This leads to the overall message of the movie that there are always two sides to every story, and you can be on the naughty and nice list at the same time. It’s a good lesson for people to learn and strays from the usual theme of Christmas movies, which always has the good characters in the story are perfect and always good. It places the story in a more realistic realm.
It had the Keatons in it.
Reason For the Season Score: 0 out of 5
While the story itself wasn’t groundbreaking, I’m giving this extra points because it didn’t give us the obvious choice for the conclusion. It was refreshing to see a Christmas movie that had a couple that wasn’t married in the beginning be the happily ever after couple at the end. The chemistry was lacking between Burton and Matt Dallas (Kyle XY), but that something that seems to be an issue with Burton throughout her career, especially on One Tree Hill.
The Christmas aesthetic is fantastic in Naughty or Nice. There is nothing tacky about the decorations on Candy Cane Lane, and even the mall Santa set-up is low-key. Could have done more with the music, but this movie had a very Christmas-y look and feel.
Christmas-ness Score: 3.5 out of 5
What Naughty or Nice reminded me is that Burton is a good actor when she is not playing Peyton Sawyer. She does a great job of giving the character some depth that I don’t think is in the script. She does show signs of Peyton because when you play a role for so long it sometimes becomes a crutch in a scene. The movie itself is not great, but I do applaud it for trying to tell a different story and succeeding for the most part.