|Susan Srandon & Robin Williams|
It's the mix of these problems that can make it difficult for audiences to connect with these characters. For a holiday film, it doesn't focus much on it and its tone is too melodramatic to feel like one. Regrettably this is not the end of its issues either. Making it more frustrating is the editing handled by Susan E. Morse. Having more than enough experience to know what makes a film flow easy, the editing between scenes are choppy and feels rushed when following the individual stories. Yet somehow, the pacing feels more than 90 minutes. How does that work? Plus few to almost no characters have the smallest bit of charm to them. Of the actors, Robin Williams and Paul Walker show more emotion than the rest even with their underdeveloped roles. The rest of the cast struggles to show any likability because of how troubled their characters are required to be. Of all this, the entire screenplay itself has trouble conveying its overall message.
Even the critically panned film Reach Me (2014) had characters with flaws and was able to make a positive moral statement out of it. There's no real lesson a viewer can take away from this other than "miracles happen". Whenever that is. That's not to say the concept doesn't exist but the majority of viewers will already know this. Visually, the camerawork is appropriate. Russell Carpenter was head of cinematography for this feature. Although his work wasn't anything to note of in Jean-Claude Van Damme's Death Warrant (1990), he did prove himself later with James Cameron's Titanic (1997) and Charlie's Angels (2000). Here it's about the same. All scenes are well lit and look aesthetically appealing. The musical score provided by Alan Menken thankfully was another plus. For although the actual tone presented on screen fluctuates between appropriate to overly downbeat, Menken's work tries endlessly to make the viewer feel something.
|"What are you lookin' at?"|
It's an ensemble cast movie that wastes its given talent with a script filled with unnecessary twists, all-too convenient character development to feel anywhere relatable and an uneven tone to match anything close to the holiday spirit. Even though they show the most emotion not even Paul Walker and Robin Williams can help the script. The camerawork and music also do their job right but feel a bit late to be fixing anything.
Points Earned --> 4:10