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Christmas in Connecticut (1992)

TV Movie  |   |  Comedy  |  13 April 1992 (USA)
4.7
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Ratings: 4.7/10 from 924 users  
Reviews: 9 user | 6 critic

Elizabeth is the star of a successful cooking show and author of several cookbooks. But when her manager, Alexander sees forest ranger Jefferson, who lost his cabin in a fire, comment on TV... See full summary »

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(earlier story), (earlier screenplay), 2 more credits »
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Title: Christmas in Connecticut (TV Movie 1992)

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
...
...
Prescott
Kelly Cinnante ...
Josie
Gene Lythgow ...
Tyler
...
Kevin / Anthony
Vivian Bonnell ...
David Arnott ...
Crazed Director
...
Food Stylist
Jenee Bandler ...
Kevin's Mother
Bob Braun ...
...
Captain Marsh
Judy Forrester ...
Billy's Mother
...
A.D.
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Storyline

Elizabeth is the star of a successful cooking show and author of several cookbooks. But when her manager, Alexander sees forest ranger Jefferson, who lost his cabin in a fire, comment on TV about wishing he could get a home-cooked Christmas dinner, he arranges for a special live show on Christmas, for Elizabeth to cook him Christmas Dinner. Only Elizabeth can't cook, and trying to keep Jefferson and the viewing public from finding out on a live show may be a little difficult. Written by Brian W Martz <B.Martz@Genie.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

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Comedy

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Release Date:

13 April 1992 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Um Natal em Connecticut  »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Arnold Schwarzenegger:  About one hour and sixteen minutes into the movie, Schwarzenegger is shown outside sitting at a table and speaking into a cell phone in front of the network's satellite uplink truck. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Last Action Hero (1993) See more »

Soundtracks

Cookin' for Two
Written by Mitch Albom
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User Reviews

 
It just could have been so much better
2 December 2010 | by (Tunbridge Wells, England) – See all my reviews

"Christmas in Connecticut" is a made-for-TV remake of a feature film from 1945, which I must admit I've never seen. Elizabeth Blane is a famous television chef, whose public persona is that of the perfect All-American housewife. She lives in a large house in a rural part of Connecticut with her husband John. She has a daughter, Mary, a son-in-law and two grandchildren, Kevin and Melissa. At least, that is the story put out by her publicity machine and her manager Alex. In reality Elizabeth is, and always has been, single without any children and lives in a penthouse in New York. To make matters worse she cannot cook and has no idea about housekeeping. All the dishes featured on her show are actually cooked by her assistant Josie. (Elizabeth also claims to be too young to be a grandmother, but as Dyan Cannon was actually 55 when the film was made, that claim should be taken with a pinch of salt).

One year, Alex has a great idea for a Christmas special. Jefferson Jones, a forest ranger from Colorado, has become a national hero after saving the life of a young boy during a blizzard. Unfortunately his home was burnt down shortly afterwards, and as he was rumoured (wrongly) to be a great fan of Elizabeth's TV show, Alex invites him to spend Christmas with Elizabeth and her "family". This, of course, involves a certain amount of deception. He finds an old farmhouse to stand in as her home, casts himself in the role of John and Josie as Mary and persuades various acquaintances to represent the rest of the family.

This is one of those films which could have been much funnier than it actually is. The basic idea is a good one, and "Christmas in Connecticut" could have been a devastating satire on the dishonest way in which the mass media manipulate the truth, something along the lines of "Network" or "The Truman Show". The final result, however, is nowhere near as good as either of those great films. I don't think it matters that the film's central concept is an improbable one. In 1945 it might have been possible to deceive the public as to a celebrity's domestic circumstances and culinary abilities. By 1992, however, the inexorable rise of the paparazzi and of the scandal-raking tabloids would have made this sort of deception virtually impossible. Satirical comedy, however, has always been a genre which has enjoyed a licence to stretch the bounds of the probable, and even the bounds of the possible; "The Truman Show", for example, is based around a central concept even more improbable than this one.

There are, however, three reasons why this film does not work as well as it could have done. The first is that the film is both a satire and a romantic comedy; Elizabeth and Jefferson find themselves falling in love, even though he at first wrongly believes her to be a married woman. The heroine of a rom-com must always be sympathetic enough to retain the audience's affections, which means that the script never satirises Elizabeth as mercilessly as it could have done.

The second reason has to do with the first word in the film's title. Any film with a Christmas theme is virtually guaranteed endless repeats on television every December. Yuletide, however, is the season of goodwill to all men, even to dishonest and manipulative television stars and executives, so Christmas movies must always contain a strong feelgood factor. Nobody wants to watch anything depressing while recovering from an overdose of turkey and mince pies, so over the holiday season sentimentality is in, mordant satire out. The third reason can be summed up by those words "TV movie". Hollywood can sometimes (as with "Network") produce a brilliant satire on the television industry; television producers tackling the same theme tend to pull their punches for fear of biting the hand that feeds them.

On the credit side, the acting is generally good, with Cannon making an attractively lively heroine, Kris Kristofferson a genial if bemused Jefferson and the late Tony Curtis showing that he was at much at home in comedy as he was in serious drama. Arnold Schwarzenegger's direction, however, is rather heavy-handed; this is to date his only film, and he was probably wise to diversify his career by going into politics rather than into film directing. Overall, "Christmas in Connecticut" is not such a bad film. It just could have been so much better. 6/10


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