“An adaptation of Dickens’ A Christmas Carol? In a modern day setting? Inspired!”
“But hang on, we’ll need a subtle name, so our audience don’t cotton on straight away that we’ve ripped off a seasonal classic for a cashcow.”
“Hang on, we’ll call it… A Carol Christmas!”
“I see, because two of the words are reversed! Inspired!”
I can only imagine this is the exact conversation that the bigwigs at The Hallmark Channel had at the conception of this film. They’ve mixed it up, though: this time Ebenezer Scrooge is a chat show host called Carol (eh?) Cartman- proving that women too can be twisted and bitter on the inside.
It’s the usual set up: Carol is super mean to everyone, her assistant is clearly a better person and overworked, she falls asleep and some spirits scare the living bah-humbugs out of her until she gives away her money and buys a goose. Or does she? Because Hallmark seem to be doing their darnedest to make it un-Dickens. The tagline reads, “She’s looking for a little holiday spirit, before she gets scrooged.” I’m confused: Carol doesn’t go seeking any holiday spirit, on account of her already being Scrooge, surely? Cmon, Carol- you’re meant to be Scrooge. Keep up. And spread that message while you’re at it- the tiny Tim surrogate girl? She’s not even got Polio or something debilitating to her health! The only thing she’s crippled by is her mother’s lack of free time and some rubbish custody case. Pffft.
There are some gems in A Carol Christmas: take for instance Carol’s little nephew, who stares wide-eyed directly into the camera (more than once), and also can see ghosts? One for the “children and animals are freaky” category of films. There’s also the fact that William Shatner and Gary Coleman are both ghosts in this film. It was a bit harsh casting Coleman as the Ghost of Christmas Past, and referencing him being some child actor, thereby implying that his career is dead? (A legacy in Avenue Q begs to differ.) Carol’s controlling Marley of an aunt is pretty great actually. She’s dressed in chains, probably the most subtle imagery in the film. However, she’s portrayed at pantomime villain levels of evil to an extent that Carol’s only fault is listening to the aunt, instead of, y’know, that greed and selfishness which leads Scrooge to the famous point of haunting? I mean, if Carol isn’t consumed with her own gain, what good do the ghosts actually do her? The reformation means diddly squat. Heck, she even gets back with her estranged sweetheart, teaching us all that you can be an awful person, and still get everything you wanted! Great moral, thanks A Carol Christmas.
Rating: Ho/Ho Ho Ho.