A Boyfriend for Christmas (2004) – reviewed by George

The title is perfectly descriptive, but it’s still dumb. Longer but better: “Santa Promised Her a Boyfriend for Christmas (And a Partridge in a Pear Tree)”. But then it’s not descriptive – there’s no partridge in this movie. Snarky much?
Okay, when Holly is 13, she asks Santa (Charles Durning, who also played Santa in “Mrs,. Santa Claus”) for a boyfriend, and he gives her a snow globe – with an inscription that says she will find the perfect boyfriend a few days before twenty years from now.
Move forward and Holly Grant (Kelli Williams) is now 33. She has had a disastrous boyfriend in Ted Powell (Bruce Thomas), but is not reclusive – she is still out there. Unfortunately she has never told her folks about the reasons for the breakup, so they still like Ted.
Her family consists of mother and father Joanna and Martin (Shannon Wilcox and Martin Mull), brother and sister-in-law Ian and Carol (David Starzyk and Bridget Ann White) and their (twin?) sons Noah and Neal (Jordan Orr and Shane Baumel). So you get that Christmas around the Grants is boisterous.
Now a leaf from the “Sound of Christmas” playbook (or actually the other way around: “Sound” is new this year). A building used by a charity for children is on the block and a large company wants to buy it, empty it, refurbish it, and then charge exorbitant rents for the units. Ryan Hughes (Patrick Muldoon) is a lawyer for the real estate investment firm, but has been fighting his boss on this issue all along; Ryan acts as a children’s lawyer pro bono in as many cases as he can.
Which is how Ryan and Holly collide. She too is involved in child protection, and is accompanying some youngsters through a court case which she hopes will return them to their mother – just in time for Christmas. Ryan is their lawyer, but is stuck fighting the building take-over and gets to the court room late; the judge has already waited over half an hour, court is closed, and the children were returned to Children’s Services where they will stay until the next opportunity for a hearing – after Christmas. Holly was furious, and dictated a blistering letter to Ryan (whom she has never met). But Ryan, when he arrives and learns what happened, vows to get to the judge at his home if necessary and get the kids home for the holiday, which he does.
In the meantime Santa is through at the store and is working in a Christmas tree lot, still doing his magic (obviously he doesn’t have to leave until Christmas Eve). He meets Ryan (not accidentally) and manipulates him into working at the lot for a while, and Holly shows up to buy a tree. She doesn’t know Ryan, but he knows her. I don’t remember why (I suppose he mentioned the court case), but she tells him about the letter she sent. So when she asks his name he simply looks at her tree label (he’s carrying it to her car for her), and says, “Doug.. Douglas Fir… Firwood… Douglas Firwood.”
This is a cute, watchable film with a great cast of appealing actors. Even Bruce Thomas, playing the bad guy jerk Ted, can be identified with a little. He made a mistake and he wants to correct it and it’s just too late, but he can’t stop himself. Is it because he loves Holly, or is it pride? Doesn’t matter because you know he’s going to lose.
Situations in romance movies, even Christmas ones, are pretty artificial, but within the conventions of the genre, this one, written by Roger Schroeder and directed by Kevin Connor, is a fun example, and I enjoyed it.

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