Thursday, January 06, 2022

Tonight's Movie: Christmas Land (2015)

Today is the Feast of the Epiphany, which makes it a perfect day for a new Hallmark Channel Christmas movie review!

CHRISTMAS LAND (2015) stars Hallmark regulars Nikki DeLoach (TRULY, MADLY, SWEETLY) and Luke Macfarlane (SENSE, SENSIBILITY & SNOWMEN).

DeLoach plays Jules Cooper, a New York City businesswoman who is surprised to learn she's inherited property from her grandmother.  Grandma Glinda is played by Maureen McCormick, Marcia of THE BRADY BUNCH fame, in the opening flashback scenes.

Jules goes to visit the property, which includes a seasonal attraction called Christmas Land which she visited frequently as a child. She also meets a handsome local attorney (Macfarlane). Experienced Hallmark viewers can see right away where this is all going...

Jules plans to sell the property, which also includes a three-story house and a Christmas tree farm, but wants the new owner to continue operating Christmas Land, which is important to the local community. Jules believes that her boyfriend (Jason-Shane Scott) has found such a buyer and signs the sale contract, only to later learn that the buyer (Richard Karn) plans to carve up the property into lots and eventually raze Christmas Land. Jules is horrified and wants to tear up the sale contract. Can Christmas Land be saved?

Truth to tell, there are a few problems with the script which made the film on the weak side, starting with Jules's boyfriend being such a demeaning jerk that their relationship is clearly not long for this world. The townspeople are similarly over the top cartoony at the outset, although they settle down a bit as the movie goes on.

One also wonders, since Jules's parents are living, why they wouldn't have contacted her many months previously when the estate attorney was first unable to reach her regarding her inheritance; and finally, a savvy businesswoman not doing her due diligence before putting her signature on a contract makes no sense. Perhaps it could be said that she was trusting her attorney boyfriend, but even so, it's not the strongest storyline.

Those issues aside, I still liked and enjoyed the film. DeLoach and Macfarlane are both personable and "real," and their characters have a nice bantering relationship which is fun to watch.

There's also a bit of a nostalgia factor, inasmuch as Christmas Land reminded me of Santa's Village near Lake Arrowhead, California, which opened in 1955 and which I visited as a young child in the '60s. The park was later closed for many years, and then new owners reopened the park in 2016.

CHRISTMAS LAND was filmed in Utah by Theo Angell, with Pioneer Village in Farmington standing in for Christmas Land.

The movie, which runs 84 minutes, was directed by Sam Irvin.

CHRISTMAS LAND does not appear to have had a DVD release, but it's shown from time to time on the Hallmark Channels.


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