Sunday, October 28, 2012

The holiday onslaught begins -- with Sue Corcoran's cute ALL I WANT IS CHRISTMAS

Every year around this time, "entertainment" is seized by holiday cheer -- or something approximating same -- as movies, television, cable, DVD, and this year evidently VOD become inundated with holiday programming and/or releases. If TrustMovies, holiday curmudgeon that he is, must cover at least one of these, he's glad that it's the straight-to-VOD movie ALL I WANT IS CHRISTMAS (aka Ira Finkelstein's Christmas). If that original title lets the cat out of the bag -- yes, this will be one of those Jewish-boy-jealous-of-the-big-Christian-holiday movies -- then you are probably thinking, Oy, we're gonna get a lesson in cultural tolerance! Well, yes and no.

The film's director (as well as co-writer and -producer), Sue Corcoran (shown at left), keeps any moralizing about religion/culture to a minimum and instead concentrates on family and the importance of togetherness at holiday time. She also concentrates on a better-than-average storyline that offers some good fun.  Instead of having just one kid-with-a-problem, her movie offers two.

One boy, Ira Finkelstein (Elijah Nelson, above), lives in Los Angeles with his either sleazy or just-stupid movie producer dad (David DeLuise) and pines for cold, snow and holiday cheer; the other, Mikey Amato (played by newcomer Justin Howell), comes from cold weather and a fractured family and longs for some sun and warmth.

How each gets what he wants is part of the fun of the film, which fortunately stays with the kids more than the adults and gets good performances from all of them, including the snowy town's mean bully (another newcomer Ashton Herrild, above).

In passing, the movie manages to take in our current depressed economy, living on credit, child (and dog) abuse, and a few other timely issues without messing up the necessary feel-good finale. While some of the jokes are tired and thin -- particularly those to do with the making of a sci-fi Christmas movie by Ira's dad involving elves and ray-guns (at right) and a typical Hollywood diva with an attitude and a yappy little dog -- those that stick with the children and their situations, especially those that involve Ira's grand-dad (Elliott Gould, below right), result in some good chuckles.

Sure, the movie is no great shakes, but compared to many that squeeze every last bit of sentimentality out of things, this one seems relatively easy-going, charming, and benign. It doesn't even bother to tie up all the loose ends too neatly, and the 84-minute running time (plus end-credits) makes it an easy watch.

All I Want Is Christmas makes it VOD debut on November 1 via Amazon, Brighthouse, Charter, Comcast, Cox, Dish, iTunes (Canada and U.S.), Microsoft (Canada and U.S.), Verizon Fios, Time Warner and YouTube.

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