I almost hate how much I enjoyed A Family Thanksgiving. Yes, it is stupid and a cheap remake of The Family Man and stupid but it’s also got an off-putting amount of heart and cute unintelligible children and no you like this film shut up.
Claudia is one of those work-driven women (that rare breed) who is so busy-! How busy is she? So busy she needs to recite all of her tasks whilst walking down a corridor. She has her own walk-in wardrobe the size of a London flat (so like, a small living room? That’s my satire quota used up for the article. If you’re here for the satire this is where I leave you). She’s even too busy for actual sets- check out that green screen office! Who’s standing in this powerful woman’s way?
Right on cue, a lady dressed up with what I can only imagine was a brief which read “homeless Cher” decides to send Claudia into a world where she has none of her high-flying green screens or wardrobes. Instead, she’s stuck in surburbia with kids- yep, homeless Cher’s one of those traditional types that feels a career is worthless without children. Claudia spends a long time reacting to this situation the way any human would, alternating between phrases “whaaaaaat?!?”, “who are you” and “I’m not your mother”. Whilst I get this is what you’d do normally, it gets old really quickly considering she’s got to have a whole character arch over the next 90 minutes and she’s wasted a good 5 just looking terrified.
Soon Claudia gets the gist of what she’s meant to do, playing house happily with her two kids and spending two hours over dinner deciding she could quite easily love her husband. She even gets to use her lawyer skills to defend the town’s park from a Big Bad Business (the villain of every schmaltzy seasonal film)- it’s just basic logic that her neighbours had never seemed to have thought of. Law!
Yes, the film is crawling with plot holes- like how homeless Cher says this world is Claudia’s future but in the future her previous work has no idea who she is. Or how her lawyer friend seems to have bumped her head and forgotten everything in the “future”. And also this lawsuit about the town park is a case Claudia’s working on at the beginning of the film, then in the “future” it’s only just become a problem, then in the present again the lawsuit goes to court and is settled. Methinks homeless Cher was lying to us.
Ah but the schmaltz levels in this are off the Richter (or the schlock scale. I realise they’d never be on the Richter in the first place). Claudia looks from a skyscraper to this random family and she nods a lot so we know that the idea of family is nicer than the idea of buildings. There are all these genuine chats she has with her best friend and these nice backstories from her husband so we know it’s all a nice loving relationship. Argh I don’t care I like this film it’s nice there I said it.
Rating: Ho Ho and a Half/Ho Ho Ho.