Dolly Parton’s Christmas on the Square isn’t your typical Christmas movie.
Sorry – that’s an over statement. It’s actually as typical as a Christmas Movie gets, in that, without reading a description, you know exactly what’s happening at every turn; there are no surprises and a very predictable ending.
But – it’s a Christmas movie – and that’s the formula. So, we all know that going in.
There are really only a few variances of a good ol Fashioned Christmas Movie, but they tend to always include someone grumpy who has lost their Christmas spirit and finds it in the end. Basically, someone is always a Scrooge.
Coming in at an hour and 38 minutes, including credits, Dolly’s Christmas in the Square opens, with a song by Dolly Parton. She’s an Angel sent from heaven disguised as a homeless person – hair perfect, rhinestones glimmering. Her goal is to tug on the heart strings of the evil Regina – played by Christine Baranski – who inherited the all-American town which plays as the backdrop to the film. She’s basically evicted everyone RIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS – so she can sell the land to mall developers – but I may have gotten that wrong as I needed to go get wine.
I don’t need to tell you how it ends. You already know.
I get that it’s a Christmas movie. I get that Dolly Parton put the thing together – so there will be some singing. We were told there were 14 songs – but I swear they meant to say 40.
The movie started out with a solo from Dolly before the chorus kicks in with a wild song and dance number — 11 and half minutes later, we get some dialog. We have Treat Williams, the other star of the show, doing a little ditty – and then a pastor and his wife singing a song about In vitro fertilization, which I don’t think they ever really reference again?
The lip-synching in this movie is suspect at best. None of them know to do it. Except for Dolly. She gets it. Everyone else – EVERYONE – was way off – I think they’re just opening and closing their mouths.
I don’t want to say it was a hard movie to follow – it could be I missed a few things because I refused to pause it when the pizza came – but this movie was all over the place. After I plated the za for me and the kids – I come back to the TV to find Christine Baranski sitting at a bar being served by a child bartender. Not kidding. Maybe an 8-year-old mixing cocktails.
I’m all for forgiveness — and the town DID forgive Christine in the end – but there’s no way that forgiveness would have instantly appeared as shown in the movie with more singing and dancing after Christine found her way. You basically had everyone move ALL their stuff out of their stores and homes RIGHT before Christmas (like, in a matter of a day or two) – and it’s great to forgive, but realistically, I feel like it would have taken more than, “OK I’ve changed my mind seemingly overnight, but not before I terribly inconvenienced all of you. So, get your stuff back on your shelves – and no I won’t help – but how about I give you all some eggnog and we’re immediately friendly again.”
In terms of rating Dolly’s Christmas in the Square – I have no real point of reference because outside of her movie 9-to-5, which I probably watched on Beta back in the 80s, I’ve never seen another Dolly movie and my experience with Christmas movies in general is quite limited. Sooooooo 5 dollys out of 10.