Abigail Winfrey (Brianna Dufrene) loves Christmas and eagerly awaits Santa Clause's arrival as she looks forward to getting the gift she wants the most but each year she is disappointed. Her mom Marilyn (Denise Boutte) is a single businesswoman who keeps the family together. Abigail writes a letter to Santa saying what she wants and decides, as a back-up plan to take what she believes to be Santa (Christian Keyes) hostage. Of course, Santa is really her dad Sebastian dressed up who she hasn't seen since the age of five. He got caught in a rather elaborate scheme to make things up to his daughter. All it takes is a bit of tinsel tied to an electric fan and a set of fairy lights and Santa Sebastian is taken hostage by Abigail who is determined this year to get what she wants.
With his loyal personal assistant Tinsley (Jackie Long) dressed as an elf they both try to work out what Abigail really wants for Christmas and are sent on a goose chase.
Along for the ride is her friend Ursula "Moosie" Musterheim (Lily Solange Hewitt which I presume is the director James Hewitt's daughter) who tries to help Abigail in her plans.
The first impression I got from this movie watching the opening sequence is that it would be a 'Home Alone' clone full of traps for Santa to fall into but what we get is actually something very different. The plot mostly concentrates on the melodramatic elements of family breakdown. Strangely enough, some of it kind of works as it is often underplayed but I kept asking myself while watching this; "who is this film aimed at?" Kids would be bored to tears with it because nothing remotely exciting happens during the whole film and adults would find it too cute to take the melodramatic elements seriously. "Moosie" spends a portion of the film locked in a closet as Tinsley spends it wobbling about looking for a puppy.
To make matters worse, the acting is pretty bad. Hewitt gets by but I think poor Dufrene struggles with her facial expressions, making everything look forced. Both the girls awkwardly go into soliloquy mode at times, talking to themselves about what they are going to do and how they feel about it. The worst culprit is Long as Tinsley who is yet another black man who attempts the Eddie Murphy thing. Sadly, he is given absolutely nothing funny to work with so his manic mugging makes him look like he has a mental disease.
The message of the film is muddled too. One early scene shows Marilyn on the phone to her boss while neglecting Abigail yet she berates Sebastian later on for his work priorities. Abigail has supposedly been good all year and gets nothing but as soon as she adopts a mean-spirited attitude she gets what she wants. Is this film teaching us that kids can only get what they want when they do bad things? The low budget seems to have an affect on the quality of the film too. I noticed that the camera focused on the person with dialogue a lot and this showed the most when Marilyn found 'Santa' Sebastian tied up. She did her speech about how he wasn't a good parent yet the camera was focused not on both of them collectively but just her talking. It detached me from what they were trying to achieve.
At the end we are treated to an appearance of 'real' Santa Clause who narrates some of the movie. Bizarrely, the narrator is David Atwood while Santa Clause Douglas O' Neil is lip-syncing badly to the camera.
Sadly, I can't recommend this film for children and I don't really think I can recommend this film for adults either yet, with a bit more attention to detail and plot development, it could have been a film that would have appealed to at least one or the other.
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