Sean has called this movie the Coyote Ugly of Christmas movies. Um. Coyote Ugly might be aspirational for this movie. But it’s kind of a funny statement for a film that tells you its biggest influence right in the title. And yet.
Kat (Laura Marano) is in fact both a Cinderella type AND a Violet (that’s Piper Perabo in Coyote Ugly, in case you’re wondering – yes I had to look it up) AND part elf. Kat is an aspiring singer-songwriter who works in Santa’s Village, dreaming big and biding her time until she turns 18. Meanwhile she lives with her step-mother and step-sisters, who are truly awful to her and make her do all the chores. But at work she’s falling for Santa, which is probably as weird a that sounds because at first they only know their costumed selves. But eventually Santa reveals himself to be Nick (Gregg Sulkin), the son of Mr. Winterbottom, the richest man in town. But Kat closely guards her true identity (though let’s be honest: it consists solely of a wig…Nick must be pretty dense), vowing only to reveal it at the charity gala. Of course, if you know the fairy tale, you know Kat’s “steps” aren’t about to let that happen.
The step-mother and step-sisters have excessively, wonderfully gaudy costumes and hair but the characters are so over-the-top there’s just no basis in reality and it’s hard to guess where on the spectrum the filmmakers were aiming for. And that’s if the cheaply-executed music videos and song & dance numbers (auto-tuned within an inch of their lives) sprinkled throughout don’t get you down. And then there’s the
ball charity gala, which was clearly and achingly shot with so little budget they were forced use a high school auditorium for the set. And a very hokey elf dance can only mean that for all Mr. Winterbottom’s wealth, the man has no taste.
I can’t imagine any grown human being liking this movie, but Sulkin is cute enough that this movie may fit the bill for tween girls looking for some PG romance.