OK, I am not really a Scrooge when it comes to Christmas, but I might be a big Scrooge-ish when it comes to good holiday entertainment.
This past weekend, Jewel Staite became the first Whedon alumnus to be in a holiday movie since 2006 in Call Me Mrs. Miracle, a new Hallmark Channel movie abot a magical lady to saves Christmas by basically being at the right place at the right time. Doris Roberts was charming as Emily Merkle, the gal (who is a blessing from Heaven, let's be clear about this) who made everything better. I just wish she at least broke a sweat fixing everyone's problems. It just seemed to be a bit too easy for her. If that's how the book told the story, then my opinion doesn't count.
I will say Jewel Staite was the best thing about this. She plays Holly, the overworked but underappreciated assistant to Lindy Lo, a crabby fashion designer who thinks she's Anna Wintour. Jewel did a great job as someone who is determined to give her nephew a wonderful Christmas while did dad is deployed overseas. She actually reminded me of Jennifer Aniston. Anywho, Holly meets Jake, who manages Finlay's, a New York department store. Mrs. M, of course, thinks they could be good for each other...which they are. Problem is, Jake's dad, who owns the store, doesn't like to celebrate Christmas. He prefers to hide in the Virgin Islands until the holidays are over, so he can forget a very bad thing that did happen during the holidays.
So, Jake has a problem of selling out the toy department at the store despite the fact it doesn't sell the toy that every kid wants. His job, and maybe the store's future, are on the line. His hopes for a Merry Christmas look remote...but Mrs. M will make it all better.
I also didn't like Lauren Holly as Lindy Lo. First off, she acts like Meryl Streep in The Devil Wore Prada. Uh, why? It just distracts from the whole story. It also doesn't help that she doesn't respect her customers, or any potential new ones. It was also too easy for Mrs. M to change Lindy's mind, but if that's what happened in the book....
This was a typical Hallmark Channel movie where a family faces the possibility of an unhappy Christmas until a last-second miracle makes it all better. A cable channel full of cliches is not my cup of tea. Really good classic Christmas movies are made of holiday cheer, but they have a message that stands out if the story was set in July. In It's Wonderful Life, Jimmy Stewart realizes how important he was to his home town. In A Christmas Carol, an old man learns that he can afford to be kind and get something better than riches.
Call Me Mrs. Miracle may be a candy cane of a Christmas movie, but I prefer movies that can be gingerbread men, too.
Take Holiday Wishes, the Lifetime holiday movie that starred Amber Benson. She was a girl looking for her long-lost sister, while two girls (one rich, one poor) switched bodies to experience each other's lives thanks to a mysterious guy who Amber's character apparently knew. We later find out this guy was an angel. It was a bit more complex and interesting that what Mrs. Miracle could do. I just thought if you took out one of the angles (switched bodies, search for sister, guy was an angel), it would have been better.
So Call Me Mrs. Miracle shows Jewel can handle a nice romantic role, away from Browncoats and Stargates and such. Let's hope she gets a better story in the future. As for Christmas movies in general, I just prefer those where the hero works hard for a White Christmas after he dreams of it. In fact, I think that is what happens in the movie, White Christmas.
Then again, I also like Bad Santa.
Call Me Mrs. Miracle will be shown several times in December on Hallmark Channel