A Nanny for Christmas (movie review)

During the 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.

1. The illustration of the idea that the mom needs a nanny is lacking
The mom’s kids have problems, like:

“I can’t find my pink hair clip!”

“Where’s my other shoe?”

The premise of A Nanny for Christmas is that this 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 mostly 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 just 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 plot is ruined. Sure, this gives Nanny Ally a way to help the kids and the mom to evolve their character (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.

2. “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 yes, while 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 in the process!)

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

3. 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 flick.) This not only opens up the world in which the movie takes place, but it makes the movie “feel” big – so it’s not just a story, it’s an experience. This works well if you’re… I dunno… Francis Ford Coppola and you’re making The Godfather, 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:

  1. ice skating rink
  2. mom’s mansion
  3. Ally’s house
  4. an office
  5. the office building lobby
  6. the restaurant

Now that list looks like it has plenty of locations (I was generous, I separated “an office” and “the office building lobby” into two separate locations), but the problem is, this movie has like three thousand 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 improbable that there would be that many scenes at an ice skating rink in one movie, but here we are), it ends up making the movie feel small because this movie beats its 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 begin to tremble with rage) could have taken place at Ally’s house.  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 Man (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 as much as anyone (NOTE:  I’m married, not dead), 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 manipulative 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.  But remember:  I warned you.

About Jamie Insalaco

Jamie Insalaco is the author of CreativeJamie.com, BomberBanter.com and editor in chief of ComicBookClog.com

Posted on November 29, 2013, in movie review and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.

  1. https://polldaddy.com/js/rating/rating.jsYou had me at “tremble with rage” … I just finished watching this horror!!! Thanks for your accurate review! I knew there be someone else who felt like me that’s why I googled it!

    • It’s awfulness is stunning! When you couple the facts that the kids don’t really need a nanny and the nanny is terrible at being a nanny… Yeah, I think that’s what overloaded my circuits

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