Straight away, I noted the quality of this film was noticeably… not 2019. But Judd Nelson? Imma hang in there. This movie opens with, you guessed it, the cancellation of Christmas. A holiday “board of directors” has taken over and tasked Santa (Nelson) with the rehabilitation of two naughty, spoiled, young people, as well as the indoctrination of a third boy who uses a wheelchair — or else Christmas is permanently cancelled. The board members think the young people of today are too spoiled and a holiday which gives them “whatever they ask for” is outdated.
There’s a whole bunch of ableist bullshit due to one character, Adam (John Fleming), being in a wheelchair. They do touch on race for a brief moment – mostly in discussing that Santa is always portrayed as white (“caucasian”), which in this case, he is. I’m not against it, this aspect was handled better than I suspected.
There’s some hilarious integration of an adolescent internet which amuses me. I almost called 2010 the “nascent” internet, but adolescent is much more apropos.
I love the magic aspects. I love the puns, “We’ve got bigger stockings to stuff.” Et cetera. The costuming and sets are solid. The acting is completely fine and solid. The storyline is a nice reinvention of a common trope: people with challenges in their lives learning to let the spirit of Christmas into their lives and hearts. The dialogue is booooooo. Why are practical jokes getting such a bad rap in this movie? I mean, I guess. Teachers could do all of this work if they were paid approximately $15k more a year for their masters degrees.
Ms. Claymore: I just want you to know I think you’re a better person than you pretend. That’s all. Goodnight!
There’s some grief and loss themes, though I can’t say that it’s portrayal is completely accurate. That said, there are some powerful messages of young people bonding over their grief… which is something I myself have witnessed and think is completely rad. As the movie goes, there is SOME small empowerment of people who utilize wheelchairs, but not nearly as strong as it could have been in its messaging. There’s a dog, which helps a lot. Gosh, dogs are good. Judd Nelson’s belly is a thing of hilarity. There’s some disturbing cross-dressing. Anyway. This movie. Well. It’s… medium all around.