Christmas in the City movie review

UPDATE:  Look, even Lifetime knows Christmas in the City is a dud.  The above video is the closest thing I can find to a trailer for this flick.

Last night, we watched the new for 2013 TV movie Christmas in the City and it’s… ya know, par for the course, I guess. It’s flawed but not boring and it feels as though many of its screenplay issues come from a producer’s story directives. Here are four items that I think came from a producer and made a bad situation worse.

I want it to snow in this scene, but I’m not paying for a snow machine.

Like Defending Santa, this movie breaks out the digital snow flakes, but they didn’t go bonkers like the folks who worked on DS did. Still, they look bad and stick out like a sore thumb during a sunny Los Angeles day, so they would have been better off leaving them out. Apparently, Santa wasn’t making that scene magical enough.

Make the location of this movie as ambiguous as possible in a way that doesn’t cost us any additional money.

Since this movie is called Christmas in the City, they kept saying ‘the city’ a lot, but never said what city they were referring to. It looked like LA to me, but we felt like they hitting a lot of New York City tropes, including the rude cabby, walk up apartments and exposed brick inside said walk up, but finally, we saw that the theater was labeled as the Los Angeles Theater, so that mystery was solved.

I want this to be a musical, but I will not pay for a choreographer, dancers or for any new songs – public domain that shiz.

There are some random musical quality vocal performances of classic Christmas songs in this flick, but all of the other elements that a movie musical would have were missing. It gave a movie with an already awkward tone a more disjointed feeling, but then, it’s not like Christmas in the City was going to be some classic if not for the spontaneously misplaced singalongs.

There should be three minorities in this movie: one can be a good guy, one can be a bad guy and one can be a featured extra.

White people much? These sort of movies are often heavily populated by white people and then have the token black friend, but this time, we got not just the token black friend, but also a one-dimensional black person baddie AND a minority “featured extra,” meaning the same lady played the same character more than once, but was only allowed to communicate via hand signals because if she spoke, they’d have to pay her more, but, hey – three minorities! That must be a made for TV Christmas movie record.


Ashley Williams (this flick’s protagonist) is now the runner-up to Emmanuelle Vaugier for the spokesmodel job. That lady can smile, and that’s what she does throughout this entire movie. When she doesn’t know how her character is supposed to react because the script makes no sense, she drops a smile on you and it’s money in the bank. Although, I do have to point out that, “You’re the real Santa, aren’t you?” is one of the worst deliveries I’ve heard in a movie for a while. On the other hand, Ashanti was straight up chewing the scenery – so was Santa – but then, they’re not the leads of the movie.

This movie is OK – it’s frustrating, but I’ve seen worse. I’m giving Christmas in the City a 4 out of 10 because it’s 90 minute running time moved quickly and Ashley Williams is charming.

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About Jamie Insalaco

Jamie Insalaco is the author of, and editor in chief of

Posted on December 11, 2013, in observations and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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