A Nanny for Christmas (movie review)

During Christmas Cupid review, I mentioned A Nanny for Christmas a few times and today, it’s time to kick that rock over and expose the fact that it’s actually a petrified turd.

I’ve seen some real duds when it comes to made for TV Christmas movies of the romantic comedy variety, but this movie is especially crappy. Here’s just a few reasons why.

The illustration of the idea that the mom needs a nanny is lacking

"I can’t find my pink hair clip!"

"Where’s my other shoe?"

The premise of A Nanny for Christmas is that the overworked executive mom needs help managing her two children (they’re maybe 9 and 10, something like that), but the problem is, the kids are great. They’re intelligent, disciplined and fairly self sufficient. The kids do what they’re told and do it quickly. In fact, they’re so good at being this lady’s kids that, as you can see in the above trailer, the mom is just waking up and the kids are already dressed – the only problems they’re having is they can’t locate two specific objects – the hair clip isn’t that big a deal as the little girl wants to wear a specific hair clip, but the boy is missing a shoe, so… you know, maybe help him get on that, yeah? This seems reasonable. This kids aren’t like, "Mom! I need you to build me a working model of the human heart for my science project that’s due in an hour!" they’re more like, "Mom, I’m a kid and I lost something – specifically my shoe – which I need to go outside, so please help me."

What I’m saying is that the movie’s premise is fundamentally flawed, so the entire movie is ruined. Sure, this gives Nanny Ally a way to help the kids and the mom change (more on that in a second) from uptight people who don’t have fun to… less tight (?) people who do have fun, but it’s not satisfying.
At all.

"Hi, I’m Ally. I may be the worst nanny ever."
Seriously, Ally’s approach to being a nanny is enough to make Mary Poppins’ head explode.

I know, this clip appears on the site a lot. If you think I’m ever going to stop referencing this… well, I probably won’t ever stop referencing this.
I’m sorry.

As Ally has no experience as a nanny, you’d think she’d follow the mom’s detailed instructions to the letter… but, because this movie trades in logic for whimsy and characters should evolve during a story (but for good reasons, not just because they’re supposed to), she has the kids roll around on the ground instead of doing yoga (And seriously, what has yoga ever done for anyone? Besides reduce stress, anxiety and provide a good workout?), eat junk food rather than nutritious meals and trash their parent’s immaculate mansion by acting out Shakespeare instead of studying it. (I’ve always believed that Shakespeare was meant to be performed or watched, not read, but hell, you don’t have to ruin the lady’s house int he process!)

Or, to put it another way: the screenplay is weak!

This movie is CHEAP

When people get together and make a movie, producers and directors (and others) talk about "scope." The movie has to have "scope" so it doesn’t feel too "static." (Like Clue – that movie is based all at one location, and no one likes that movie.) This not only opens up the world that the movie takes place in, but it makes the movie "feel" big as a movie itself – so it’s not just a story, it’s an experience. This works well if you’re… I dunno… Christopher and Jonathon Nolan and you’re making Batman Begins, but for this sort of movie, it doesn’t work. I’m fairly certain this is an accurate list of the locations this movie shoots at:

ice skating rink

mom’s mansion
Ally’s house

the office building lobby
the restaurant
an office

Now that list looks like it has plenty of locations, but the problem is, this movie has like 90 scenes and they’re all about 2 minutes long, so we’re constantly bouncing back and forth from one location to another and by the fifth or so time you get to the ice skating rink (seems kinda improvable that there would be that many scenes at an ice skating rink in one movie…), it ends up making the movie feel small because this movie beats it’s locations to death! Instead of having several scenes taking place in one location, they spread it out over multiple locations when there is no reason to do so. For example, I’m sure some of the scenes that take place at the aforementioned ice skating rink of doom (trust me, when you watch the movie, you’ll know what I mean – every time you see that establishing shot of the ice skating rink, you’ll want to hurt yourself) could have taken place at Ally’s house, but I’ll bet this is what happened: Only one scene was written to take place at the ice skating rink. If they filmed at the ice skating rink for two hours or an entire day, it costs the production the same amount of money – hence, come up with an entire day of shooting at the rink; move scenes there that aren’t location dependent to the rink. Even the damn date between Ally and Love Interest (I forget his name, who cares?) takes place at the damn rink!

Is there anything good about A Nanny for Christmas?

Uhm… not really. Emmanuelle Vaugier has a lovely smile. I would totally hire her to sell the official CreativeJamie.com fragrance whenever we get to that point. I appreciate a pretty face, but she doesn’t convey the charm that Ashley Benson brought to her role (an admittedly very different role) in Christmas Cupid, so I guess it’d be better to compare her to Christina Milian’s character in that flick… what the hell am I talking about? Both of these films are manipulated rom-com drivel, so it’s nearly impossible to bring anything especially memorable to this sort of leading role.

You know what this movie does have? Dean Cain. All TV movies should have Dean Cain, and this movie doesn’t have enough! (In case it’s not clear, I think Dean Cain is awesome.)

The bottom line is that A Nanny for Christmas is bad even by cheesy made for TV Christmas rom-com movies and can only be watched for it’s ironic value or as a lesson on what not to do when you’re make a film.

If you’re willing to dig, I think you can find this entire movie on YouTube, but it’s probably playing on cable sometime during December if you’re willing to dig.

About Jamie Insalaco

Jamie Insalaco is the author of CreativeJamie.com and BomberBanter.com

Posted on November 29, 2013, in movie review and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

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