Dec 11, 2014

Review: The Wishing Tree (2012)

I don't know what I expect to find by going so deep into Christmas TV Movieland, but I'm guessing it won't be a deeper understanding of the true meaning of Christmas. Hallmark certainly likes to think that it has the answer in its 90 minute productions, but I think we can all agree that it has a better chance of doing that with its cards. It's doubtful that The Wishing Tree is any different.

The only actor I could recognize in The Wishing Tree was Richard Harmon who I remembered from the awful sequel Grave Encounters 2 which spoiled everything the first Grave Encounters accomplished. Harmon's character is pretty much just as annoying this time around too. He plays a rich emo kid who refuses to be anything else but negative at all time. All he needs is a good dose of Christmas spirit eh Hallmark?


Genre: drama, family, romance
Directed by: Terry Ingram
Produced by: Jamie Goehring, Daniel H. Blatt, Shawn Williamson, etc.
Written by: Michael J. Murray
Music by: Hal Beckett
Running time: 90 minutes
Production company: The Hallmark Channel, Pitchblack Pictures, Daniel H. Blatt Productions, etc.
Distributed by: The Hallmark Channel
Country: United States
Language: English
Budget: N/A
Box office: N/A

IMDb entry

Starring: Jason Gedrick, Richard Harmon, Erica Cerra, Emmalyn Estrada, Amitai Marmorstein, Carrie Genzel, John Innes, Teryl Rothery, Erica Carroll, Cole Grabinsky, Scott E. Miller, Shauna Johannesen, Angelo Renai, Kurt Max Runte, Callum Seagram Airlie, Alexandra Kaczynski



Andrew Breen (Richard Harmon) attends a boarding school and he is not a happy camper. Despite his English teacher Professor Farnsworth's (Jason Gedrick) best efforts, Andrew is a critic of pretty much everything. He has no friends and holds a special brand of disdain for a local "wishing tree" which people pay money to hang up handwritten wishes on its branches. When he finds out that his parents aren't taking him skiing during Christmas break, he pays the tree a visit which ends in disaster.


How does it end in disaster you're asking? Well, Andrew decides to go off on everybody who's there and goes as far as comically flipping over a table before the cops arrive and take him away. It's all pretty pathetic to watch and according to Professor Farnsworth, it's a classic case of a kid acting out to get attention from his absentee parents. 

To be honest, I'd describe the first half of The Wishing Tree as dull which is a step up from what I've gotten used to recently. Boring can be less entertaining than bad can be, but from a film making point of view, boring is objectively better than bad. Andrew makes friends with his fellow classmates and he seems to be getting into the Christmas swing of things as he serves his community service for the wishing tree. Andrew's transformation is pretty much on the turn of a dime, but what do you expect?

However, The Wishing Tree goes through a monumental collapse into a vat of melodramatic cheese. It's a spectacular collapse, enough to derail the boring first half. (Spoilers) It all stems from the surprise visit from Andrew Breen's mother who could easily be mixed up with Cruella Deville. She blames Prof Farnsworth for her son's misbehavior and puts the wheels in motion to have him fired. Andrew and his new friends unveil a giant banner in protest and hang it on the roof of an old building. Suddenly, the roof under Andrew's feet collapses and he falls straight through, getting covered in debris in the process. (End Spoilers)

With music that swells like a tsunami during these melodramatic moments, there's no way any of it can be taken seriously. The Wishing Tree is littered with false inspiration and crocodile tears. There are also two romantic plot lines and neither of them are very interesting. (Spoilers) That especially goes for Farnsworth who gets visited by his dead wife (there's always a dead wife isn't there?) in a dream twice. It was too much to handle for me. (End Spoilers)

I was honestly impressed with Terry Ingram being able to keep The Wishing Tree in boring territory for as long as he did. There were moments that were pretty awful though and everything came apart in grand fashion in the last little bit. Looks like I'm stuck here, still wishing for a half decent Christmas TV movie. Where's a wishing tree when you need one?



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