All I Want for Christmas
directed by Robert Lieberman
(Paramount, 1991)

If you are divorced with children, you have likely experienced the woes of child matchmaking to get the family back together. That is the plot for All I Want for Christmas.

Ethan (Ethan Embry) warns Hallie (Thora Birch) not to ask Santa (Leslie Nielsen) to intervene in their parents' lives. She ignores him and asks Santa for her mom and dad to get married. When she hears her mom, Catherine (Harley Jane Kozak) telling Nana (Lauren Bacall) that she is going to marry Tony (Kevin Nealon), Hallie believes it is all her fault because she asked Santa for her parents to get married, but did not specify "to each other." Ethan cannot let Hallie down, so he concocts an elaborate scheme to get their parents alone for Christmas.

This is a cute movie, but the story has been done to death -- plus most of the divorced parents have lived it and do not care to relive the story, even if only for two hours. For a movie with this storyline to be good or hold the viewer's attention, they have to show us some new, updated tricks. The mice are a tired routine. Besides, who calls an exterminator for white mice?

There are far too many lulls in this movie for me to recommend it for anyone except the really young viewers. It is however, a good choice for a child that is currently going through the first Christmas with divorced parents. It is a clean family film with which most children of divorce can identify. Otherwise, I have to say pass this one by.

The high point of the film for me was watching and listening as Nana and Hallie sang "Baby It's Cold Outside," which happens to be one of my favorite Christmas songs.

review by
Alicia Karen Elkins

20 December 2008

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