A Snow Globe Christmas – 12/16/13

snow-globe-christmas

Alex:  Lifetime takes one giant leap for Christmas movies! It’s rare that we see an interracial couple in anything, let alone one of these films but that’s exactly what A Snow Globe Christmas is all about. Well, not necessarily “all about” as the interracialness of the relationship isn’t ever brought up or made a thing of, which is good. But I’m pretty sure that this is the first to break the color barrier for the main, romantic lead characters and all my usual snark aside, I give them kudos and credit for their trailblazing efforts here. The white girl is Alicia Witt, who in my mind is desperately in need of redemption for that not-so-merry mix-up that was A Very Merry Mix-Up (how ’bout that, huh? Some professional review wordplay right there) and to try and get her hands on the all-important title of Christmas Queen for 2013. Then the black dude is Donald Faison. That name may not instantly ring a bell but you know this guy from Scrubs and Clueless and a bunch of other things you can’t quite remember and even though I’m not making a great case here for his relevance in recent days, it feels like he’s not yet ready to take this leap himself. By that I mean, do one of these movies. God bless them all, every one of them, but Hallmark-Lifetime Christmas films are a last stop, like I keep telling you. No one ever does one of them and then goes on to revive their career. But perhaps Donald will break that barrier too? I honestly hope so, because I like the dude and he’s not bad in this.

Unfortunately, that is pretty much everything positive I have to say on the subject of A Snow Globe Christmas. It’s about a Alicia Wit as television producer/director/unspecified boss who actually makes Christmas movies like the ones we’re watching. People these days would call that “meta” and I wanted to even call it “cool” but they didn’t do anything particularly clever with the idea and what’s worse, it comes off making me feel like this movie thinks its better than all the rest so my final analysis is, “Screw you, Alicia Witt.” Of course I know it’s not really her fault, she’s just reading the lines she was given but you know what is her fault? Being bad at that aforementioned task. And being pretty unlikable as a character once again. Now I may not understand the casting process, Lifetime’s target demographics, or even how magnets work but it seems critical to me that the leading lady be someone that women around the 30-50 year-old age range want to care about and relate to. I don’t see any way that could be her or her character, Meg. She’s whiny, annoying, smarmy, and doesn’t seem to even stand for anything like at least the self-righteous female protagonists do. She’s also not at all believable. A television producer? No she is isn’t. I’m not buying that. Then she’s supposed to be particularly good at this job and has become one of those Scrooge-like bosses, pushing her employees to work extra hard on Christmas Eve so they can get a scene the movie is so obviously mocking, perfect.

This is another thing that ASC gets wrong, repeatedly. The tone of their world. And its about to get much worse. In a pretense that’s more confusing to me than any magnet, Meg carries around a big snow globe while at work. She meets some stagehand Christmas angel character who says that this globe represents everything she will never have. Perfection, happiness, living underwater, I’m not sure I totally get it. Then I really don’t get it when the conversation moves to Meg saying (paraphrasing here), “Oh yeah, I will prove to you that your claims are false by smashing this snow globe on the floor.” Then she tries to smash the snow globe but it doesn’t break. Then the angel stagehand goads her some more so this time, Meg rifles that thing onto the floor but instead of breaking, it bounces right up, hits her on the head, knocks her unconscious, and when she wakes up, she finds herself in an alternate reality where she is married to Ted, a black guy she barely remembers dating in college.

Kind of a roundabout way to get there but okay. She is also in this strange town, which we are led to believe is like the town in her snow globe. This is something else they also don’t pull off very well. Parts of this town look extremely fake. But not necessarily fake in an over-stylized way to really sell that it was done on purpose, to support the notion that she is inside a snow globe. Fake as in just bad sets. When Meg wakes up, she even assumes she is on the set for one of her movies but goes out of her way to say how real it looks, specifically mentioning  that they got real snow when it’s pretty clear that it’s at best, real cotton snow. So wait, are we supposed to think everything here looks real and isn’t a hyper realistic snow globe world? It’s one of those concepts that if you want to do, you need to go really over-the-top, especially in a TV movie. People might have missed that opening bit with her snow globe or even if they caught it, not necessarily understand what the hell’s going on.

But again, in this alternate reality, she married a guy she kind of remembers dating in college and actually had children with him. I have a couple of problems with this. For one, when they usually pull this plot stunt, the relationship that ended in the real reality but continued in the alternate reality was a much bigger deal. Like childhood sweethearts who were maybe even engaged but of course during a critical moment, one character picked Career over Love. In this case though, it seems like their relationship was much less serious. Like I keep saying, Meg barely even remembers it. Nor do either of them seem to know the other too well. This doesn’t give me much of a sense that they are soul mates, meant to be together forever. My next problem is with the kids. In no world, snow globe or otherwise, could Alicia Witt be the mother of these two children. I’m not saying that it’s physically impossible and maybe the actress actually has children of her own, but if so, her performance in this movie is worse than I thought because I get absolutely zero maternal vibes from her whatsoever. All that stuff that Zunes brings to the table, Witt is the opposite.

And Meg’s whole reaction to this is odd. On one hand, I give them credit for trying something new here but on the other hand, it’s pretty ineffectual. Instead of questioning the new reality, she accepts it outwardly, on a sarcastic level, but knows internally that this is all a figment of her imagination and everyone in the world is behaving how they might in a Christmas movie. That’s not completely true though and also, is this a dream in which everyone acts like they are in a movie or a alternate reality presented by some magic, Christmas angel? I think the movie thinks they can be one in the same but it doesn’t work for me. The rules and tone changes are distracted and I just can’t settle in or care about anything. Sometimes they treat things seriously, sometimes its hyper realistic and maybe/maybe not fake on purpose. Sometimes things look like real things, sometimes they are maybe/maybe not supposed to be matte paintings? Sometimes music even plays from nowhere and I’m still not sure why:

CHEAP, CHIPPY CHOPPER FROM THE BIG, BLACK BLOCK

Also did you check out the set design there when Witt was smelling a pine needle at the end? That’s an example of what I’ve been talking about – is it supposed to be real? I also like in that scene how she’s talking to Ted one minute and then suddenly, they go their separate ways for no reason that makes any more sense watching just that small clip than it does watching the entire movie. Oh yeah, and that reminds me of yet another big problem I have. The romantic relationship between Meg and Ted, the ground-breaking relationship I might add, is a total joke. I find Ted to be pretty likable and I like the actor too so once again, I hate to say it but this is on you, Witt. Sure, it takes two to tango but that’s assuming that both participants are willing and have the ability to dance. The script maybe thought it could override this with witty repartee between the two but because Meg just comes off as smarmy and unbelievable, this only makes me like her less.

But who really knows? I can’t even figure out why she ever had a snow globe in the first place and I’m still confused by magnets so maybe I’m just not the right person to ask about any of this (although at least I am in good company with the magnets, Insane Clown Posse doesn’t understand them either). What I do know is that I wanted to like this movie, I wanted to give it a chance, but it awkwardly bounced a snow globe off the ground right into my face with how much it sucked. And maybe for these reasons, I am just kind of angry at it. I don’t even like this review and I need to blame someone so I’m sorry once again, Alicia Witt, but that person is you. I have to make you the scapegoat but if it helps ease the pain at all, I will make it…

…1 Baby Scapegoat baby_goat

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