Title: Merry In-Laws
Year of Release: 2012
Available On: Amazon Prime as of 11/2016
Rating: 4 out of 5 Jingle Bells
Apparently, I accidentally watched a series of Christmas movies exclusively starring CHEERS stars, because this gem features Shelley Long and George Wendt.
“Merry In-Laws” has all of the things I love about Christmas movies: hijinks, touching scenes, a cute kid, non-religious Christmas spirit. Norm (Wendt) and Shelly play Mr. and Mrs. Claus, whose son (played by Lucas Bryant, who is very handsome) is engaged to a scientifically-minded woman from a hyper-logical family, the Spencers. Naturally, they are trying to hide their magic from their future in-laws and things get messy.
Shelly Long is a treasure. Long and Wendt have an adorable rapport that belies their years of working together / knowing one another. You believe them as a married couple. An unexpected joy is Spencer mother, played by Barb Mitchell, who ends up being the hidden ally for her daughter and her in-laws. Now, why poor Ms. Spencer has spent her years hiding her true self and over-acheiving in all regards in order to please her uptight and rude husband (Greg Lawson) is another story… Likewise, Alex Spencer (Kassia Warshawski) isn’t the most sympathetic character either, at least not in the beginning. When Peter Claus asks her to marry him, she answers, “I don’t know.” It’s not the best love story I’ve ever seen. It makes me feel sad for the repressed and overly practical Spencer women who live in fear of the patriarch’s wrath. (Warshawski has one of those faces that looks like someone else’s, because she looks SO familiar but I haven’t seen anything else she is in. Anyone know who she looks like?)
Overall, however, Merry In-Laws is an above-average TV holiday movie. The production is good, the plot is more solid than most, and it’s family friendly without being juvenile. You could probably watch this with kids, but don’t take my word for it because I am notoriously desensitized to adult themes. Either way, I am putting this one on the short list to watch again in the near future. It’s pretty good!