Friday, November 6, 2020

Middleton Christmas: Movie Review





A lot of sweetness, romance, drama and cheesiness.
Middleton Christmas starts out as pure sweetness. Hershey chocolate wrapped in a glittery red bow. You know exactly what you’re getting when you unwrap it, but it’s sweet and comforting, and oh so bad for you, especially in large quantities, so hopefully we can keep these movies to a minimum this year (I say that knowing it’s the first week of November, I’ve already seen two, and avoided another dozen).   2020

Directed by: Dale Fabrigar

Screenplay by: Tricia Aurand, Suzanne DeLaurentiis

Starring: Kennedy Tucker, Michael Varde

I want to start with the sweetness, because it really is so sweet. Samantha (Kennedy Tucker) is a dancer, cheerleader, good student, caring friend, popular girl, daughter of the principal and girlfriend of the popular football player. She’s all that and legitimately nice. You hope she gets all that she wants out of life, and she doesn’t actually want much out of life. She likes Middleton, loves her mother, loves Christmas and just hopes that wherever life takes her she gets to come back home this time of year.

Sam’s mother, Alana (Eileen Davidson), is a good principal. She doesn’t discriminate against her students, does the most with limited resources and gives people jobs who just need a break in life.

Cynical viewers will choke on all the sweetness, but I liked that there were good characters, more good characters and no villains. There are obstacles but they come in the form of life and a lack of money. There are no cheesy villains. There is cheese but that comes after the drama. The sweetness takes a dramatic turn half-way through, but I surprisingly found myself invested in the well-being of these characters and loved Sam’s romance with Max (Michael Varde). They have chemistry and the film didn’t over do it with a destiny theme. Very simply, they just make a sweet, nice couple.

The limited budget affects the cinematography and there are no tropical locales in this one. Just a drab school, hospital room, and a car repair shop. I will say though that I liked the placement of the characters at the Christmas concert: Sam’s new beau just over her left shoulder, and her former beau a little farther back behind her right shoulder. And don’t worry, she made the right choice in suitors.

The drama does get cheesy and leads to some poorly developed scenes. The supporting actors aren’t great, and the penultimate scene of the big Christmas concert is just bad. The choreography is background dancers swaying to a not-classic Christmas song. I’m sorry, readers, but I laughed at how not good that scene is. However, if you’ve made it this far, then you obviously have the disposition to ignore those cheesy moments. And I liked it for the sweet romance anyways.