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CBS gets early start on Christmas with TV movie

 
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teknofriend



Joined: 25 Oct 2005
Posts: 199

PostPosted: Sun Nov 20, 2005 6:04 am    Post subject: CBS gets early start on Christmas with TV movie Reply with quote

LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - There's something a little weird about watching a Christmas movie when it's still 80 degrees outside and before we've even purchased the Thanksgiving turkey.
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God probably didn't mean for the yuletide to be a sweep event, but that's what we get in "Snow Wonder," a holiday film that follows the requisite everything-sucks-will-it-ever-possibly-be-right-again? theme so endemic to the genre, giving us five unconnected stories about people affected in various ways by a freak Christmas Eve snowstorm. It's all very bittersweet and predictable, like dark chocolate with a bit too much wax. The odd subtext to this Christmas miracle premise is that the film was shot in New Orleans, a place where they don't necessarily equate harsh weather patterns with Divine intervention these days.

Based on a short story by Connie Willis, "Snow Wonder" struggles a bit to find a true unifying theme, existing more as a catalyst for garden variety emoting than anything else. Mary Tyler Moore and "CSI: Crime Scene Investigation" regular Eric Szmanda (synergy alert!) star in one story as a guy trapped in a tiny apartment with his crazy aunt as she regales him with stories of trysts with Paul Newman (pre- Joanne Woodward) and Marlon Brando (pre-weight gain). In another, a trusting spouse (Caroline McKinley) discovers that her husband (Jason Priestley) is a philandering scumbag, the snowstorm exposing his cover about being trapped in an airport as a total crock.

A third tale centers on a divorced mother (Jennifer Esposito) and her dread of having to hand over her young son to his jerk of a father for Christmas, with a fourth story examining a lovelorn maid of honor (Poppy Montgomery of "Without a Trace," more in-house CBS synergy) and her realization that the groom about to marry her best friend seems to have the hots for her, too. The most poignant of the narratives examines a recently widowed woman (a haunting performance from Camryn Manheim) who flees to New Mexico to escape memories of her deceased husband's favorite holiday -- and finds reminders at every turn.

There is something remarkably moving about Manheim's work here in playing a woman whose grief manifests itself in raw bitterness and despair. Anyone who has felt lonely or depressed at holiday time will be able to relate. But it's so achingly relatable that it feels like something out of a different movie compared to the superficial vignettes surrounding it. The warm snugglies go into hyperdrive as the film moves toward its climax in scribe Rodney Vaccaro's adaptation, which occasionally strikes a nerve but most often opts for the conventional.

On the positive side, "Snow Wonder" is blessed with a uniformly talented cast and has its heart in the right place, even if its head tends to be a bit scattered. The blizzard-as-metaphor for blowing miracles into the lives of those who could use one is -- let's face it -- kind of lame. Yet that's Christmas for you, the season when syrup is embraced as the condiment of choice no matter the meal.
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nuttylove



Joined: 26 Oct 2005
Posts: 160

PostPosted: Sun Nov 20, 2005 8:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm not really ready to see the Christmas films in November.
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