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All I Want for Christmas (1991) 

Directed by Robert Lieberman Written by Richard Kramer & Thom E. Eberhardt

  I wasn’t exactly sure how I wanted to start this one, this is my third Christmas film and with family films, there really shouldn’t be too much to say on the matter. You either enjoy them or you don’t; I actually expect them to be cheesy and contrived…it’s kind of their thing. (Which you could even argue for several other genres) But apparently, some people expected advanced plot schemes with the ending to be something…unexpected? Like instead of the parents getting back together; having the ex-husband burn the Christmas tree while dancing around screaming “How do you like me now?” Did you happen to notice the cover for this film has Sandy Claws upside down, held so by two children?! Does anywhere in that scream “I am a film that will make you think while teaching you moral values to use in everyday life!” Give me a break.

  It stars Thora Birch and Ethan Embry as siblings Hallie and Ethan (Yup, a start to their creativity already). Their mother Catherine (Harley Jane Kozak) clearly coming from money with their even more extravagant grandmother Lillian (Lauren Bacall) seeming to flip-flop in her morals constantly…you mean rich people have those to begin with? Preferring her daughter’s former husband Michael, (Jamey Sheridan) who had not only made Catherine feel lonely, but did so while opening his own restaurant that in fact, becomes a rather successful operation. Who knew time would have to go into running a business? The worst thing by far being her new boyfriend Tony, (Kevin Nealon) who otherwise seemed to fit into the whole, excessive lifestyle, yet unable to be authentic enough for everyone else. Hallie getting the idea to ask Santa for help in getting her parents back together. But not being able to take this request to just any Santa; “You gotta go to the real guy, at Macy’s.”

  Though protested by Ethan in having no business involving a mall Santa with sch a request and possibly leading to disappointment. Rather they take it into their own hands, Ethan begins devising a plan that continually changes as unforeseen circumstances continue to arise, now who could see that coming? The reason for the couple having broken up seeming silly but in hindsight, I’m sure not the first to be able to attest of such. Why the mother felt the need to go ahead and remarry already seemed silly as well. But I’m sure “those” people (rich folk that is) operate on whole other levels I won’t begin to try to understand, so maybe it wasn’t too soon for her. So yes, don’t expect too much here and if you find yourself feeling too intelligent to properly enjoy a family film, then perhaps your best off just leaving the whole genre alone.

 Most don’t recognize Embry but has been in many films after, though seems to have left any confidence in this film! Anyone else notice this was a prelude to yet another scene with a “loved” one in a train station. (Can’t Hardly Wait) The cameo from Leslie Nielsen was a nice surprise in that he sure did make one beautiful looking Santa. The entire outfit and everything, now THAT I would not have guessed. One cannot help but take note of Birch being as adorable as ever, either. I liked the attitude she had while saying her lines and how everyone continued to compliment her, but it seemed only to annoy her at hearing things already known. Did it surprise me that they were also able to get one past their self-consumed parents who didn’t really pay much attention in the first place; no! It never does. Home Alone, A Baby’s Day Out, GOONIES, the list really can go on. So the lesson for today? Parents just don’t understand. If seeing the trailer doesn’t completely turn you off then something you should check out with the family and if not then don’t. I’m sure it won’t make that much difference at the end of the day.