Dec 14, 2014

Review: All About Christmas Eve (2012)

So, is All About Christmas Eve some kind of homage to All About Eve or something? I haven't seen the 1950 classic, but a really quick glance at the story seems to indicate that it jumps around a bit to different time periods. AACE on the other hand is a parallel universe story that presents two sides at the same time. I guess whoever titled this movie just liked the Christmas play on words that could be had with a main character called Evelyn.

All About Christmas Eve stars Haylie Duff, the less famous sister to Hilary Duff. At the same time, Haylie does deserve some credit for always having work and keeping herself busy with different projects even if most of her work is composed of TV movies these days. It's also kind of unfortunate that she's pretty much started doing two Christmas TV movies a year since 2013. Not sure if she'll continue that pace but if it pays the bills right?

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Genre: comedy, romance
Directed by: Peter Sullivan
Produced by: Barry Barnholtz, Jeffrey Schenck, Peter Sullivan, etc.
Written by: Hanz Wasserburger
Music by: Matthew Janszen
Running time: 90 minutes
Production company: Production Media Group
Distributed by: Hybrid, Starz Home Entertainment
Country: United States
Language: English
Budget: N/A
Box office: N/A

IMDb entry
Rotten Tomatoes entry

Starring: Haylie Duff, Chris Carmack, Connie Sellecca, Patrick Muldoon, Stephen Colletti, Bianca Lawson, Gib Gerard, Mark Lindsay Chapman, Diana DeGarmo, Ace Young, Chelsea Rae Bernier, Margot Rose, Tim Haldeman, Nick Endres, Ralph Cole Jr., Dylan Vox, Anne Montavon

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Synopsis


Evelyn or Eve Wright (Haylie Duff) works as an event planner under her infamously stern boss Elizabeth Cole (Connie Sellecca). Elizabeth decides that she wants Eve on one of the most important projects in the company's history which would pave the way for an expansion to the West Coast. Evelyn has the opportunity to head that West Coast branch and it all depends on making that flight to LA and doing a good job for the client. In one world, Eve makes the flight and everything goes swimmingly, but in another she's late and fired from her job. Which outcome is the right one for Eve?

Review


I suppose the two parallel worlds thing is pretty bold for a TV movie, but I couldn't stop wondering what the point of it was? I never really cared about Eve as a character to begin with because of how ineffectually her character's motivations are presented. She's supposed to be unsure if being an event planner is for her but to me there wasn't enough of that exposition at all. She's also pretty dimwitted to not realize that her boyfriend is just using her which doesn't help with getting my sympathy.

I didn't know that this was a parallel worlds movie when I started watching and once it began to go down that route I was beyond confused. I eventually got used to the format but what for? There was no point in the concept at all and both situations go overboard. When Eve makes the plane, everything that happens next could not be more perfect. When Eve doesn't make the plane, everything that happens could not be any worse. The lack of restraint hurts AACE and there are pretty much no surprises either. (Spoilers) It also becomes very obvious that both situations will reverse at one and that is indeed what happens. (End Spoilers)

What also irked me was how the two worlds were presented. There are these silly looking sparkly transitions that make All About Christmas Eve look like it was edited using Barbie software. (Spoilers) Once we get to denouement, both worlds meet in this really bizarre scene that is more eyebrow raising than anything else. The "good world" Eve decides in the climactic scene not long before that none of this is for her and she leaves, just like that. The "bad world" Eve was on the right path all along in what is a very rushed effort to show that before the end. (End Spoilers)

Haylie Duff isn't all that great in All About Christmas Eve, but does it really matter anyway? The dialogue is the kind of dialogue that sounds completely unnatural and would only ever be found in a TV production like this. There are worse performances than Haylie in here for sure though like Stephen Colletti for example as as Eve's boyfriend Darren. You can see his acting from a hundred miles away and it's painful. Connie Sellecca as Elizabeth Cole is also quite amusing as Eve's boss. When talking business, she sounds like a granny using words she has no idea what they mean. Main love interest Chris Carmack pretty much just excels at being boring.

It's kind of crazy just how uncomfortable AACE can be. Scenes that are meant to be romantic or comedic fail every single time without fail and that's not an exaggeration. From half-assed montages to unbelievably pointless appearances from two American Idol alumni, this is a movie that thrives in mediocrity and needlessness. 

The one good thing about All About Christmas Eve not being a Hallmark production is that it's a little more edgy and free to not be all proper. There are even two transsexual characters surprisingly enough. Unfortunately they're just there to say unfunny lines so there's no point in them either.

The big question at the end of the day is what is the point of All About Christmas Eve? Follow your heart or something to that effect maybe? If that's the case, Hanz Wasserburger's script does a terrible job at exploring that and there aren't any actors able to shine through his mess and Peter Sullivan's lack of direction. AACE is unfunny in every single regard and dramatically/romantically it feels as fake as the fake snow effects that are used.

Rating


3.5/10