A Christmas obsessed Jewish boy on his way to sunny Florida figures out how to get the Christmas of his dreams by trading airline tickets and places with another boy on his way to snowy Christmastown, WA.
A backwoods team of kids race to solve a 100 year old family mystery to save their friends, family and all of Ford County in this inspirational story about unity, friendship, and how the color of our skin is SO "last century".
MWW Michael Wilkerson,
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Ira J. Finkelstein is obsessed with Christmas. He's seen every Christmas movie ever made and his dreams are filled with reindeer, sleigh rides and SNOW. The problem? Ira's Jewish - and at 11 years old, Christmas is passing him by. When Ira's hopes for a holiday vacation in Aspen are dashed, he hatches a plan to finally get the Christmas of his dreams. Flying unaccompanied to visit his grandparents in Florida, he swaps tickets with Mikey, another 11-year-old on his way to Christmastown, WA . Ira gets more than he bargained for when he experiences his first "White Christmas".Written by
Max is a Hollywood director and his wife Rosie is a party planner. The weather is not what most people associate with Christmas, and furthermore, the family is Jewish and they do not celebrate the holiday. The parents get mad when Ira puts up a tree and decorates it. And to make matters worse, Max gets a chance to direct a Christmas movie starring the beautiful, shallow, demanding and bubbleheaded Jennifer Cameo. Never mind that even if the movie is finished in time for Christmas, how will it be released? Movies take months and even years to make (yes, but when you see the garbage we are dealing with ...). Ira must go to visit his grandparents Sam and Ruth in Florida, who have not seen him in years.
Ira must change planes in Chicago. Meanwhile, Mikey is miserable. His parents are divorced and his mom Julie is always working. Mikey is being sent to visit cousins in Christmastown, USA in Washington state, who he has not seen in years. He is miserable because he is tired of snow and wishes he could go somewhere warm.
What are the chances? The boys meet at the airport and they kind of look alike. They trade information so they will each be able to convince the other's relatives that he is who he says he is.
So Ira goes to Washington and is excited to see real snow. The relatives are happy to see him.
Mikey meets the very Jewish grandparents, who live in a retirement village. Everyone is so excited to see Mikey, and Mikey is having a good time, even if a couple of people are suspicious and don't think he looks like Ira. Signs of Hanukkah are everywhere and the music is great, if not what most of us might associate with December.
Mostly, the movie is about Ira's adventures in Washington. Libby is sweet but her husband Walt tends to argue a lot. He's out of work, though, and the family is going through hard times. Teenage daughter Jessica is a rebel who wears too much makeup and has some blue in her otherwise red hair (it is the actual color referred to as red hair), and she sings and plays the guitar with her friend on the street for money. Clare is the adorable middle child, and Kyle is the youngest, obsessed with martial arts.
Ira has a good time, for the most part. He gets to see a parade and Santa Claus, and he goes shopping. Clare even shows him her secret place, and old Vaudeville theater that people have forgotten about. She wants to write a Christmas play and a song and use the theater and local kids to perform it. But unlike her bratty sister, she's too shy to perform in public.
Then there is trouble. Jack the jerk is a bully who travels with minions and his dog Killer. Ira is very afraid of dogs, as we saw earlier with Jennifer. Soon, he is miserable and wishing he could be back home with his real family.
Oh, yes, Jennifer. Was it really worth it? This sci-fi garbage Max is working on could be one of the worst Christmas movies ever, or perhaps so bad it's good. And Jennifer is very difficult to work with. Maybe a call from Ira would be the best thing right about now.
But Clare and Ira get to work on their play, calling in kids to audition. Even Killer gets a part as Mistletoe. And the play includes everyone. It's not just about Christmas. It celebrates Jewish culture as well. Ira has learned from Santa, whose real name is Murray Lefkowitz, that Jews played important roles in the music and movies of Christmas.
The secret does get out, as you might expect. I just won't say how. And the results are hilarious, but there are many Christmas miracles.
So will everything go as planned? Will Clare succeed in making the holiday special? Will both boys learn a lesson?
This is a wonderful if silly effort. It is a holiday movie that gives plenty of attention to Jewish culture. And it is inclusive without watering down any of the messages of the season, something not found in politically correct celebrations. While the secular Christmas traditions are acknowledged, the play celebrates Jesus as the real reason for the season and includes the Jews as well.
Shaye Hodgins is great as the child who won't lose her faith and won't give up. And her song is sufficiently corny but something many people will like.
Elijah Nelson and Justin Howell are pretty good as the kids who deceive everyone.
Elliott Gould is the cool grandpa.
Even Julianne Christie makes an impact as a truly unpleasant, spoiled brat of a Hollywood actress. I don't really mean she's that good, but look at the type of movie this is. I don't know who the other actors in her movie are, but they're pretty good too.
While this is family friendly and it got a TV-G rating when I watched it, I should point out that it does have a few curse words. One used twice refers to geezers in this case and not to their digestive problems. And there's a disturbing scene where a child and a dog are mistreated, but nothing kids shouldn't see.
I only wish the music had been better. The big band music in Florida was great, and most of the background music was good, but many of the Christmas songs did not sound good; either they weren't the traditional versions or they weren't familiar.
Overall, it is a worthy effort.
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