LIFETIME has done it: they are the winner of the First Annual CreativeJamie.com Worst Made for TV Christmas Movie Award. Congratulations! YOU EARNED IT.
A Very Merry Toy Store is actually about three toy stores – not one, but three! And, I suppose they’re merry… I mean, none of them are especially merry, so this should set the tone for what sort of movie this is.
So, what’s the plot? It’s a SUPER LAZY retelling of You’ve Got Mail (though not really Shop Around the Corner). We’ve got two businesses going head to head, but in an effort to give the audience a flatter villain and to decrease the tension between Mario Lopez and Melissa Joan Hart, there’s a THIRD toy store run by a greedy businessman BECAUSE OF COURSE THERE IS.
If you’re wondering what happens between Mario Lopez and Melissa Joan Hart, well, cue a Simpsons reference:
There’s all sorts of other things going on. Mario Cantone improvises some funny stuff, Brian Dennehy can barely bother to stand up AND I DON’T BLAME HIM. The dialogue, the photography, the editing, the terrible green screen, the bizarre sled race that stole its pacing from The Phantom Menace, that awful comp shot…
This movie is so bad it’s good. It’s one of those, but more in a “nobody gives a shiz” sort of way rather than a “nobody knows what they’re doing.” I can’t wait to watch it again!
Former TV stars in a Hallmark Channel Christmas movie means you know exactly what you’re going to get: decent production values and a bland story. While not necessarily fundamentally flawed, I can’t give a recommendation for Broadcasting Christmas better than “walk, don’t run.” My reasons are as follows:
This movie is telegraphed as all hell. You can see every plot developments coming a mile away. Other than the initial premise (the plot point that has Melissa Joan Hart playing opposite Dean Cain as former lovers), this movie includes absolutely no surprises. What’s worse, it doesn’t include enough tension to function as a drama nor enough comedy to work as a comedy. Hence, this movie exists in this bland In Between (The Upside Down’s boring sibling) where nothing interesting ever happens…
Except the fruitcake story. That was a nice touch, although it would have worked a lot better in the movie if it tied into the plot or character development in any way at all. Meaning, it’d be a much stronger element if the fruitcake story was a metaphor for the relationship between Cain and Hart.
It’s not – it’s just a nice story they could insert in almost any Hallmark Channel Christmas movie.
Broadcasting Christmas has an antagonist problem. As in, they all disappear just when they seem like they may get interesting (the wedding planner) or never do anything much at all (the baseball player). You COULD argue that they give way to make more room for the central conflict between former lovers, but that includes zero tension, which is why the movie is so flat.
Come to think of it, I feel like a lot of characters disappear in this movie, like Dean Cain’s producer friend. Where’d he go? I guess he’s still at the old job, but I thought they were friends. Shouldn’t there be a seen where Cain goes to him with his problems and he gives sage advice?
The bottom line is Broadcasting Christmas is an extra montage away (and removing the fruitcake story) from crossing the line into absurdity, which I would have welcomed – at least then it would do something. Instead, it just kind of sits there, like when squirrels are eating a nut and then they stop for second and think, “Did I leave the gas on?”