In the spirit of the holiday season, Pittsburgh City Paper presents a holiday movie advent calendar. One holiday movie review, every day 'til Christmas (probably).
A Cinderella Christmas
A holiday masquerade ball turns fateful for hardworking event planner Angie when playboy millionaire Nicholas Karmichael falls for her during a stocking exchange. But there’s just one problem – she was supposed to be Candace, her spoiled cousin and event planning business partner, who had to skip the ball due to a botched chemical face peel. Now hijinks have to ensue
, as Nicholas puts out a call for the mystery woman who gave him the stocking, offering her his hand in marriage. The two cousins strike a deal – in exchange for complete control of the event planning business, Angie promises to tell Nicholas that it was Candace he met at the ball. But will their ruse work, especially when Angie begins to fall for Nicholas?
The film features all the trappings of a low-stakes Hallmark holiday rom-com: adult orphans (Angie’s parents died when she was young, leaving her to be raised by her uncle, Candace’s father), a convoluted plot, and a male love interest who looks like he was created by scientists at Tall, Dark, and Handsome Labs.
But there’s one catch – unlike countless titles in this genre, the acting doesn’t make me want to die. As Angie, Emma Rigby imbues her character with more depth and emotional resonance than the movie deserves, while Sarah Stouffer brings a fun
and, surprisingly, not grating brattiness to Candace. And I’d be loathed not to mention Lesley-Anne Down, who parlays her years of soap opera acting into playing Nicholas’ mother, Victoria, as a gloriously Dynasty
-level catty WASP. (The '80s kids may notice a familiar face in Angie's pseudo-fairy godmother Zelda, who's played by Mindy Cohn from Facts of Life
The film also demonstrates some refreshingly meta humor, including a news segment pointing out that Nicholas' proposal is, in fact, super bizarre.
But what really steals the show is a vaguely Santa-looking doll Angie sets down during one scene. Once it appeared, my husband and I could do nothing but stare at it, screaming “What the f*ck is that thing?” We even paused the movie and took a screenshot of it.
Why does it have orange balls for eyes? What is up with those exaggerated Muppet brows? Please, someone, where is its mouth? Why would Cinderella Christmas
unleash this Lovecraftian horror upon the world? What sinister dealings were going on in this movie’s props department?
I want to look away. But I can’t. So help me, I just can’t.