I love when a film starts with a woman walking around a room full of trees and awkwardly feeling for snow. Oh wait guys, it’s not going to be a trippy film, it was just a dream sequence! Namely that of widow Sara Armstrong (Gail O’ Grady, who looks like but isn’t Claire from Modern Family).
Claire’s Sara’s current situation is handily summarised for us by her friend and the film’s exposition point, who just apparently doesn’t have a name: “it’s been seven years since Peter died… You’re 38.” Thanks, exposition pal!
It’s not as if Sara’s done nothing: following her husband’s death she opens up a shelter in his name. Isn’t that lovely? It’s good that we remember those in need at Christmas time- but enough about the homeless, Sara needs a husband, apparently! At least, that’s what her weird son thinks (he’s not Luke from Modern Family), when he sends off a video letter to a toy company as part of their All I Want For Christmas campaign. They, like most toy companies in film, are heartless if not completely evil and think it’ll make a pretty PR penny to set Sara up on date after date. The shelter’s on board, because they’re getting money from the stunt to buy the building once and for all. As Sara’s co-worker, a pimping old lady points out, “when something is important you do what needs to be done”. Ew.
Of course, the son’s all for the plan until Sara starts dating the toy company vice chair or whatever (a man who looks like Mitchell from Modern Family. You know, if this film were just an episode of Modern Family I would be having a much better time). Suddenly he’s outraged! It seems his plan was to set his mum up with their neighbour, like he had some plan mapped out from the beginning. This to me seems a bit manipulative, but somehow the mum finds this endearing and goes for the neighbour all along. After all, he’s always been there for little Whatshisface, and his current girlfriend is super mean (if by “super mean” you mean she doesn’t like bowling, which is all this film does to make her look like a total bitch). Still, I would’ve gone with the rich guy who suggested shipping that kid off to boarding school where he can control the lives of people his own age.
About halfway through watching All I Want for Christmas, I realised I’d seen the beginning of it last year already! For some reason, a part of my brain had hidden that memory right at the back amongst all the dusty piles of trashy films not worth a second viewing- almost as if by design. Is my brain becoming my own creepy son? Who knows. I’m going to watch Modern Family now.
Rating: Ho/Ho Ho Ho.