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Stephanie Anne Mills
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Candace Cameron Bure,
A shorter Christmas film, with plenty of heart and good messages
Widow Mutterance (Katherine Helmond) has a run a candy store for years. She lives in the place's back quarters with her two adopted children, Amy (a tiny Melissa Joan Hart) and Wallace (Kimble Joyner). On the second floor, the building's grumpy owner, Snyder (Sid Caesar) makes his home. The candy sales have been rather poor lately, even though Christmas is very near, which makes Snyder even more touchy. Now he tells the widow that she is going to be evicted at the end of the year and he is turning the downstairs into a laundromat. Goodness! Naturally, Mrs. Mutterance is distraught, for the store is also home to her family. No amount of pleading or begging melts Snyder's heart. However, on the day before Christmas, it snows and Snyder suddenly turns up missing. The kids are happy, for they believe their problems will be solved. But, the widow insists that they go "look for" Snyder around the neighborhood, for he may have injured himself out in the cold and it is the right thing to do. Will they find the old codger? This is a lovely film with heart and good messages for families everywhere. Only 45 minutes in length, it nevertheless packs a punch into every minute. Regrettably, Helmond and Caesar, two great comedians, don't really get to show their comical sides but they are very touching as the film's stars. Hart and Joyner are wonderful as the kids and the other minor cast members do a nice job, too. The setting, costumes, and camera-work are merely average but the strong story and direction make the film a success. If your family, like others, needs a diversion in the days before the holiday actually arrives, this is a good viewing choice for families during the Christmas season.
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