“All is as it Should Be.”
There is one word for this Hallmark Christmas movie and that is “Amazing”. I’m amazed at the writing of both the original plot and the clever and funny dialogue. Yes, it is based on A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens which is hardly original, but I have never seen such a creative take on the story.
For centuries and centuries, every Christmas season teams of 3 ghosts (all of whom died on Christmas) are sent out worldwide to “Scrooge” hand-picked mortals who need to discover the true meaning of Christmas. Charles Dickens was Scrooged in the 1800s and it changed his life. In fact, he wrote a book about it. We meet the 3 ghost team who are the focus: Arlene, a cynical no-nonsense Asian woman (brilliantly played by Lori Tan Chinn), A wise, warm and sophisticated Reginald Vel Johnson (did I hear a reference to Die Hard come out of one character’s mouth?) And the young and beautiful Kat Marley played by Kim Matula.. But this year, something weird is going on. The man they are sent to “scrooge”, Peter Barron isn’t perfect (he is a bit of a coward with his awful father) but he is kind and good and filled with the Christmas Spirit. Arlene (Christmas Past) does her number on Peter, and Kat (Present) comes along to help. Peter and Kat get to know and start to fall for each other. They give Peter the courage to stand up to his father and the 3 ghosts return to headquarters, a little confused, but mission accomplished. But Oops. Charlie, the angel in charge, in a humorous turn by Blair Baker, screwed up big time. It was Peter’s father that was supposed to have been given the scrooge treatment! Or is it? They have to go back, but I’ll stop there with the plot. But it is not until Christmas Future steps in that we are given the final piece to the resolution. There are lots and lots of threads that come together and many layers to this funny and touching tale. The mysteries that wind through are solved in a very satisfying way but with enough clues to give the viewer a fair chance to figure it out on their own.
All of the actors were new to Hallmark, and they were all fantastic. I think it is significant that they didn’t use any popular Hallmark mainstays as a crutch. I’m not sure this would have worked with a Lacey Chabert or an Andrew Walker. I loved the self-aware sense of humor the writer exhibited. Two of the “Scroogees” know what’s going on immediatelywhen the ghosts come to visit because of all of the Christmas Carol-based movies that they have seen. Scrooged with Bill Murray is a favorite. But also a Carrie Fisher version, that is “highly underrated.” That would be Hallmark’s own It’s Christmas, Carol! Only Hallmark devotees would know this. It’s kind of an inside joke partially because it is rated very low.
The detailed attention to the sets, the wardrobe, the graphics, the casting, the character building, and well, just everything, shows that Hallmark knew that they had something special here and they were proud of it. They have every right to be.