Collaborative Blogging, Film Reviews

The Christmas Collab: The Mistle-tones!

Second feature in the Christmas Collab, and I haven’t even started my Christmas shopping. I will do that…eventually. THANK GOD Christa brought made-for-TV movies into our holiday theme. It makes me wonder why we don’t watch bad TV movies all day, every day b/c I could. I really, really could.

See if Christa is in agreement on her blog!

The Film:

The Mistle-tones!

Where to Watch:

Netflix (US)

The Premise:

Tori Spelling and Tia Mowry are in this and it’s an ABC Family original movie. This immediately appeals to you or repulses you—there is no in between.

The Uncondensed Version:

Tia Mowry has the cringe-worthy name Holly, which is, coincidentally, the name of all women in made-for-TV Christmas movies. So Holly is auditioning for the Snow Belles, a sort of holiday glee club(?). IDK, guys, this film made me realize how limited my knowledge of song-and-dance group terminology is.

Biggest point of interest at this point is that Holly has a cat who is, naturally, an asshole.

A ginger cat rests its paw near the handle on a toilet.
Okay, but as we learned from Meet the Parents, it is actually impossible for a cat to flush a toilet.

Due to cat-related obstacles, Holly is late for auditions, and Tori Spelling is not an understanding Snow Belle. You know she’s going to be a bitch because she has a tiny dog and winks a lot.

A blonde woman standing in a church holds a small dog, wearing a fur hat and looking intensely at an off-screen character.
See also: Cruella DeVille-esque hat.

On a side note, it’s really weird to see Tia without Tamera. At this point I Googled the Mowrys, and holy shit, Tia and Tamera are 37?!??!? They look half that age. And apparently Tamera is too busy hosting a talk show to do made-for-TV Christmas features.

Actress Tamera Mowry drives a car in a scene.
Thought: If Tia and Tamera Mowry decided to switch lives, how would anyone know???

So Holly gets rejected from the Snow Belles and decides to start her own holiday-themed group so she, too, can feel that sense of fulfillment when she and her group get to perform at the mall. It’s somewhat refreshing that this is a film about, among other things, setting achievable goals.

Except the part about dating your boss (which I’ll get to later).

Holly asks the manager of the mall for the honor of singing in the mall, which leads to his brilliant idea of holding American Idol-style auditions in ONE WEEK. This sounds like an absolute nightmare to coordinate, especially if he already has a group booked for whatever holiday event this is. I just feel this is probably a misrepresentation of mall leadership and really any leadership, which takes the path of least resistance when at all possible.

But let’s put that aside. Holly recruits all of the office nerds to join the group, but they are missing that certain je ne sais quoi. Luckily, she stumbles across a karaoke bar, where she discovers serious boss man Nick embracing a free-spirited karaoke persona. It’s like a really tame version of Coyote Ugly with comparable levels of shame—Nick fears anyone at work ever knowing his terrible karaoke secret.

Two women stand on either side of a man standing on a bar in a crowded room, singing karaoke passionately.

Holly blackmails Nick into becoming the group’s…project manager, essentially. All he really tells them is that they have to work together and sell their performance. Basically things you can take away from watching Wall Street for 10 minutes.

This part of the movie is like watching Glee with worse dancing but a more believable plot. As indicated earlier in this review, there is a developing relationship between Holly and Nick, which if not in violation of policy is probably frowned upon by the company.

All of this is complicated when Tori offers Holly a spot in the Snow Belles, Holly and Nick make out at the staff Christmas party, Nick receives a promotion to the Southeast Asia division, and the Snow Belles perform a rather convincing rendition of “All I Want for Christmas Is You.”

In terms of the ending, it’s approximately 30x cheesier than you are imagining. If you made a grilled cheese entirely out of cheese slices, and put more cheese on those slices, it could not be cheesier than this film’s conclusion.

The Rating:

3.5/5 Pink Panther Heads

It’s like any high school movie ever made except no one stops drinking wine.  Which pairs nicely with cheese, so I’m not complaining.

Undoubtedly Christa’s review would make the Snow Belles. Read it here!

Collaborative Blogging, Film Reviews

Lovestruck: The Musical, or: Too Many Colons (:) in This Title

To conclude Romance Week(s), Christa and I are reviewing what is destined to be a film classic, ABC Family original movie Lovestruck:  The Musical.  Check out Christa’s thoughts here!

The Film:

Lovestruck: The Musical

Where to Watch:

Netflix (US)

The Premise:

A successful choreographer becomes young again (not just in spirit) and tries to sabotage her daughter’s wedding.

The Trailer:

The Uncondensed Version:

Jane Seymour, how the mighty are fallen, stars in this ABC Family production about a choreographer who can’t accept aging or her daughter Mirabella’s impending nuptials.

Right off the bat this starts to feel like an extended episode of Glee when Jane Seymour (Harper)’s command to “just dance” transforms into an extended song and dance routine. Unfortunately, Harper’s knee starts acting up mid-routine, tragically cutting the number short.

A middle-aged woman leads a workout class with a couple of men standing behind her.
Damn, Jane Seymour. Damn.

It all hits the fan when Mirabella arrives, announcing her intentions to stay in Italy with her husband after the wedding instead of returning home to star in her mother’s show. Harper threatens to sue, Mirabella un-invites her mother from the wedding, and you know the scheming has just begun.

Despite these obstacles, Harper decides to attend the wedding, but her knee is still giving her trouble. She downs a vitality tonic her assistant found in the theater, which should not have made it through airport security in her carry-on. After some minor indigestion, POOF, Harper is young again! Cue another song!

Cut to the horribly named Mirabella, who is sharing with Marco her great ambition of staying in bed with him all day and having 6 kids. Marco has apparently turned over a new leaf and no longer lives as the so-called “Playboy Prince.” Two points here: 1. Terrible, terrible nickname. 2. The actor isn’t the worst looking guy ever, but he’s just not charismatic at all, making it so hard to imagine women falling over themselves for him. In spite of the charm that allegedly oozes out of him, Marco is having trouble expressing his feelings for Mirabella in vow form.

A man and woman's embrace is interrupted as they speak to a person off-camera.
I believe their attraction is based on having approximately equally punchable faces.

Luckily, we don’t have to put with Marco/Mirabella for too long as young Harper, pretending to be a distant cousin of Mirabella’s named Debbie, crashes the party. Her plan is basically to stop the wedding by making out with Marco.

So we get a ton of comedy of errors-type humor with Debbie freaking out when Mirabella tells stories about her past misdeeds and trying to get her to wear more sunscreen. There’s also an incredibly cringe-worthy song and dance to “Like a Virgin.”

Shortly after, Debbie acts really drunk and kisses Marco, prompting him to make a long speech about how Mirabella has made him a better person but he can’t be the man she deserves, etc., etc.

Debbie starts to feel super guilty about this, especially when Mirabella confides that she never wanted to be a dancer. (Ok, but if you don’t want to be a dancer, you don’t want another career??? You just want to marry an Italian dude and have a bunch of babies?)

Meanwhile, Harper’s ex/Mirabella’s father arrives in time to wreak havoc. While Debbie advises Mirabella that she should give Marco a chance to tell the truth, the dad (I totally forget his name) tells Marco to bury the truth and stomp on it and light it on fire.

When Harper’s ex, Ryan (I gave in and Googled it), recognizes her as Debbie, she gives him a dose of the tonic. I know, this plot point was a bit of a stretch for me too, but it set up the opportunity for Harper/Debbie and Ryan to do a routine pretty much out of Dancing with the Stars. And, of course, for Harper/Debbie to overhear Ryan confessing that he still loves her and made a huge mistake when he cheated on her years ago.

A man and woman ballroom dance together, the woman's leg lifted high above the man's shoulder.

After reverting back to her more mature self, Harper finds Marco and tells him to make a gesture that shows how he feels about Mirabella. Just as Mirabella decides to leave for good, Marco tells her he loves her as Harper and Ryan let all of the drafts of his vows shower down on the two. An original song follows that will make you so incredibly glad most of the soundtrack involves covers of songs. Lyric sample: “I just ask you ‘Do you?’ I do. Me too.” It’s not exactly Shakespeare, is it?

A man and woman stand in front of a large building, sheets of paper falling down around them.
Seriously dude: save some trees, use a computer.

You’re probably thinking this movie HAS to be over by now, but NO; this is the Inception of ABC Family movies, and there’s one final twist no one could possibly see coming.

Harper’s assistant arrives and tells her the third dose of the tonic is permanent, which some 1930s vaudeville guy discovered the hard way. Apparently everyone except Harper can see the drawback of eternal youth, and it gets super Tuck Everlasting-y when she has to choose between living out her natural life or living forever young.

Which will she choose???

Yeah, let’s be real, this ends basically the way you would expect an ABC Family movie to end, but let’s maintain the illusion of suspense.

The Critique:

This is a cheesy, sappy, unoriginal, and somewhat disturbing TV movie…so I found it really entertaining.

There are some unintended messages about aging built into this film…basically that you have to accept your life is over once you reach a certain age. Age with grace, essentially, because it’s the done thing. Also accepting the natural life cycle. I really hope we can agree that immortality would not be the greatest, but I think we’re going to have to give serious thought to what we consider the natural life cycle and by what means we are willing to extend our lives (I’m hoping robot bodies). Maybe it’s a bit unrealistic of me to expect an ABC Family movie to talk about particularly complex ideas, but I WANT TO BELIEVE. (I also may need to watch slightly less sci-fi.)

Don’t even get me started on Mirabella and Marco.

If you take this film as a piece of light entertainment, though, it’s really effective. Chelsea Kane as young Harper/Debbie was actually pretty good, in my opinion. And funny.

To be honest, I want a spinoff about the vaudeville guy. Presumably he’s still out there somewhere doing his vaudeville act? Or maybe he’s had to modernize.

The Rating:

Small Pink PantherSmall Pink PantherSmall Pink Panther 3/5 Pink Panther Heads

Mostly because this film doesn’t deserve 4, and I don’t feel like busting out my 1/2 PPHs.

See Christa’s review here!