Carole (Kimberly Elise) and Marcus (Anthony Montgomery) have the kind of relationship that makes their two teenage children roll their eyes. Gross: mom and dad are kissing. But they’re also struggling a bit this Christmas season. He’s recently started a landscaping business that isn’t taking off, and her non-profit’s getting defunded. The bills are starting to whisper rather aggressively from their unpaid corner of the cupboard. Several years ago she gave up a lucrative corporate career opportunity in favour of helping those in need. But now that her family is nearly in need herself, she’s starting to wonder what her life might have been like had she chosen the other path.
Yup, it’s one of those movies. A guardian angel type named Iris (Jackée Harry) takes her under her wing and grants her wish. Poof: new life. Not entirely new, but she gets to live with the dividends of different choices. Of course, we can all see it coming: be careful what you wish for. Sure she’s got a fabulous corner office and big beautiful house, but her new lifestyle seems to come at the expense of family time.
Carole’s Christmas is the Sears portrait of Christmas movies – very staged. Literally, the whole Jordan family gathers around a cutting board so they can watch Carole prepare her “Pasta Puttanesca!” elbow to elbow, feeling each other’s hot breaths on their necks, like they’re piled into an invisible phone booth in their kitchen. Eerie. I expect these movies to be corny but I hope they’re not so stiff. The cast ensemble isn’t terrible but they’re not really up to propping up a soppy script.
Anyway, it turns out money doesn’t buy everything. Is that the MOST popular Christmas theme? It’s such a movie trope. Of course, out here in the real world, we understand that money does buy everything, including but not limited to love and happiness. I mean, money buys puppies and pizza, what else do you need?