|Index||5 reviews in total|
This is an utterly predictable but sweet and well-told story. Melissa
Gilbert plays a stage director who has annoyed everyone in Manhattan,
so when she gets an offer to direct a Christmas pageant somewhere
upstate, she takes the gig. The usual heartwarming journey of
self-discovery and love ensues.
Miss Gilbert gives a very graceful performance and is willing to undergo the indignities that the occasional bit of farce demand. The roles are one-note affairs, although the way the love interest slides in is interestingly handled. In short, this is the usual Hallmark Channel non-fantasy Christmas story.
Love Melissa Gilbert in everything she does and once again she brings a wonderful story to life with an exceptional cast of actors. The story covers every emotion and has lots of sentiment. Of course it's a Christmas movie so it's going to have a lot of predictability but I for one love holiday movies and it's the type of movie you watch over and over as it's so entertaining. I'm a mush for Robert Mailhouse and the actress who plays his daughter is very charming. Can't say anything but good things here and it will make you wish you lived in a town just like the one pictured here where kindness and warmth prevail. Loved seeing the cameo of Steve Lawrence as well,he looked great. You won't be disappointed. I've watched it 4 times already. Enjoy:)
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Okay, so the production values were good, the lighting and set decoration was good, the costumes and make-up were good ... however, that's about it for this one. You would think that a company the size of Hallmark, with their own cable channel, would be able to pay for better script-writing and direction and turn out better quality movies. Sadly, somehow, they just keep turning out the same, repetitive formula: Fired-executive/Scrooge/down-on-their-luck individual meets small-town-person-with-a-heart-of-gold (usually with a precocious/precious child or two in tow) whose spouse has just died. Good grief, Hallmark seems to kill off a lot of spouses (see Christmas Ornament, Mrs. Miracle, Trading Christmas, etc., etc.). Arrggghhhhh! It just seems that, in the interest of filling time-slots, they settled for mediocrity in direction and script-writing. Ho Ho HUM.
Just enough familiar faces in "Pagaent" to keep me interested. Edward Hermann is Garrett Clark (LOVED him in Overboard, with Goldie Hawn). In our film, his wife Ethel is played by Candice Azzara ( You'll know her as Rodney D's wife in "Easy Money"). Unfortunately, the comedic scenes here are pretty hokey... our star Melissa Gilbert has a spilled food scene at dinner, but the timing isn't right or something. She plays Vera, who has come from the big city to be director of a small town play. Sound familiar ? I couldn't stop thinking of Christopher Guest's "Waiting for Guffman". Vera manages to tick off most of the cast, and no-one seem s to like the changes she wants to make. This film also has similarities to "Big Eden", except in that one, the townspeople really like the outsider, big city person who returns to the small town. Of course, Vera must meet a townie, and there are ups and downs as we watch the courtship, helped along by a precocious little girl. It's OK. Things happen, decisions must be made. On the Hallmark Channel. Directed by David Cass, who directed Gilbert in two earlier films. Cass also has an interesting Bio on IMDb.
Overall, this was exactly what was expected from a cute Christmas show - no more, no less. Ed Hermann is annoying as the B&B proprietor and his wife is a cookie cutter Mrs. Claus type. Robert Mailhouse overdoes the love interest and I kept seeing his daughter in her commercial role as 'Lemonade Susie'. The worst character is Melissa Gilbert as a completely unbelievable Broadway director from the Big Apple. Bad plastic surgery, too much baggy clothing to hide an aging heavy body and too many red hair extensions make her more pathetic than likable. Regardless, if you enjoy Christmas programs that romanticize small town 'Its a Wonderful Life', this is for you. I gave it three stars only because its Christmas fun. Enjoy it with a cup of peppermint tea and honey.
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