Our friends out at Vivendi Entertainment sent over a little shot of Christmas a little on the early side in the form of The Christmas Pageant, a title that will likely get you in a holiday mood, even if it is a bit early.
The Christmas Pageant introduces us to Vera Parks, a Broadway director with a bit of an attitude problem. A problem sufficient to get her fired from the latest in a long series of jobs. She’s offered a new gig as the director of a small town’s Christmas pageant, a rather substantial step down from Broadway–forget off-Broadway, this is barely in the same state–and it’s going to grate on Vera’s every last sensibility. The townsfolk aren’t exactly happy about their fancy new director waltzing in and changing things; they want the same show they’ve seen every year. Worse yet, the one who recommended her for the job is no less than her ex-fiance Jack, former titan of industry who’s now running a coffee shop in said small town. But while Vera finds the whole affair a little less than ideal, she’s going to quickly discover that there’s a lot more going on to keep her around.
It’s a bit of a cliche, no mistake; the city fish out of water hits the small town theme has been done for decades. We’re not just beating a dead horse any more, we are beating the tree that sprung out of the earth that was fertilized by the dead horse. And it is a disturbingly large tree. But despite the fact that this particular theme has all the originality of carbon–it may not have been around quite as long as hydrogen, but it’s still pretty close to the whole “beginning of the universe” thing–there’s still no doubt that it’s a pretty well done bit of unoriginality.
Given the fact that The Christmas Pageant is Dove Family Foundation approved, and was originally put up on the Hallmark Channel, it explains things pretty nicely. Yes, this is a retread several dozen times over, but it’s still one to tug at the heartstrings and put a little extra shine on any holiday mood that isn’t already primed and ready to go. It’s a holiday steamroller, frankly–it’s powerful and it has a complete lack of subtlety. It’s playing on old tropes and smashing through scenes like a bull hopped up on peyote and set loose in a china shop the size of a city block.
No one comes to The Christmas Pageant for its novelty, or its clever reinterpretation of old themes. It comes for a Christmas story that is well known and well loved. In that, it’s disturbingly meta; the pageant will get some interesting new twists, while the movie itself will break little new ground. For those looking for a new Christmas movie to add to the lineup, much worse could be done–and has–than The Christmas Pageant.