Featured DVD Review: Annie Claus is Coming to Town
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Annie Claus is Coming to Town is one of many Christmas movies out there that focus not on Santa Claus, but one of his relatives. It first aired on The Hallmark Channel, which has a reputation for its TV movies, and not a particularly good one. That said, I always try to go into these movies without preconceived opinions, but maybe lowered expectations will be a good thing.
Maria Thayer stars as Annie Claus, the daughter of Santa Claus and current V.P. of Toys at the North Pole. We meet her when she's helping plan Christmas. She's a little too enthusiastic, even for Christmas movies. However, she has a reason to be excited, as she's going on a sabbatical. She's leaving the North Pole to experience the real world. Santa Claus is a little worried about this, partially because the real world isn't like the North Pole and people are meaner. But also because he's a little worried she won't come back home. Martha Claus (Vicki Lawrence) does point out that when the current Santa went on his sabbatical, he met her. When she chooses where she will be going through the traditional method (throwing a dart at a spinning globe) she finds out she's going to Los Angeles.
Meanwhile, not all is jolly at the North Pole, as Chester Singleton, the V.P. of Operations, has a scheme. If Annie decides to stay in the real world and Santa retires, he will take over the position. He explains to Ian (Daniel Weaver) that he's making sure this will happen, by hiring an actor, Dean, to woo her. It's a perfect plan, except Dean is a terrible actor.
When in Los Angeles, we meet Ted (Sam Page) and Barry (Randy J. Goodwin), who work for a failing toy store. We also check in with Lucy, who runs the rundown The Candy Cane Motel, which is the place Annie decides to stay till Christmas. While Lucy is showing Annie to her room, Lucy's daughter, Mia (Nay Nay Kirby), comes home. She's being bullied by Amy (Lucy Loken), because Mia got the lead solo in the pageant. Also, Mia still believes in Santa Claus. When Annie hears about this, she, well, she freaks out. Not in a 'hide the knives' freak out, but in a way that is very odd for a grown woman. When Mia's Christmas pageant is canceled because the director had to return to their home to help a sick relative, Annie steps in. She also finds a flyer for Ted's toy shop and wanders in, but instead of buying anything, she begins to tidy up the place and get it better organized.
So that's the basic setup to the movie, and basic is probably the best way to describe the plot. This is not a challenging dissection of the human soul. This is a Hallmark Channel original movie. It reaches into a big bag of clichés and pulls forth several of them and assembles the film into a way designed to be heartwarming and little more. Does it work in this area? Yes. Maria Thayer is super charming in the movie, although she is perhaps a tad too bubbly / enthusiastic / deranged when comes to Christmas. I know, the naivety is a key competent of her character, but it could have been toned down a little bit to be more nuanced and realistic, which would have given the film more emotional weight.
There are no extras on the DVD.
Annie Claus is Coming to Town is a good for people looking for a cheerful Christmas film that they can watch with their families. There are no extras on the DVD, which hurts the overall value. I think it is worth renting for most in the target audience, picking up for some.
- Submitted by: C.S.Strowbridge
Date posted: 2012-11-08