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Christmas and Hallmark channel movies. It's a combinations loved by some but hated by most others. The movies are cheerful and always have a positive holiday vibe to them but they rarely are very good or original movies to watch as well, which both can be said for this movie as well.

Well, it undeniably is a Hallmark movie, meaning that all of the characters are constantly cheerful and smiling and even the dramatic conflicts never feel too heavy or serious to bring the movie its mood down. It's sugar coated happiness that never feels very realistic and works out as forced and over-the-top. Some people like this and it helps to get them into the holiday spirit but the movie itself remains nothing special to watch really.

It's a very basic movie, with only a handful of different characters and no real subplots. Just the storyline of a hard working (yes, that cliché again) woman who inherits a hotel, that also gets used by Santa Claus himself as a magical gateway for him to use during Christmas eve. A very nonsensical plot of course, that can only work out well and convincing enough as long as the movie provides plenty of magical and fun moments. The movie does neither really. There just isn't enough happening in the movie, both story- and character-wise and at times the movie even begins to drag a little. It definitely feels like the movie goes on for 20 minutes too long and there just is not enough comedy, fun or magical charm present to keep things going and at all times good and fun to watch.

And it's a shame how the movie decides to keep everything as basic and simplistic as possible. There definitely were plenty of opportunities for the movie to do something more with its story and characters. It touches upon some, seemingly, interesting themes at times but it only glances it and it's almost as if one of the studio executives told the director to scrap and ignore every potential side-plot from the script and any other elements that could have given the movie some more depth, that could have made things more interesting.

The characters also just don't work out as the most realistic or interesting ones because of that. Character development is minimal, interactions and bonds between the different characters never interesting and story elements such as the romantic plot-line fall completely flat because of this.

Sure, it's not the most terrible movie that I have ever seen but that's mainly because the movie is doing very little, so therefor it's also doing very little wrong, at least not to an extend that the movie turns into an unwatchable one.

5/10

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About Frank Veenstra

Watches movies...writes about them...and that's it for now.
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