The Christmas List (1997)
Reviewed on 2008 December 24
Unashamedly silly but sweet feel-good confection that ABC Family airs stingily this time of year, probably because they’re too busy making sure we see slick stuff like The Santa Clause a million times. This is something they show at odd times, but it’s worth a look.
Melody Parris (Mimi Rogers) is a gifted perfume “nose” slogging away at a department store. She can identify different perfumes blindfolded and can recommend a perfume to someone based on their answers to questions about such things as their favorite flower, but for now she’s stuck behind the cosmetic counter. She’d like to start her own fragrance boutique, but it’s all she can do to get the credit for the job she does. Her boss is convinced her scheming co-worker April (Madison Graie) deserves a coveted promotion more than Melody, and her stick-in-the-mud control freak boyfriend (Jano Frandsen) is moving like a glacier towards getting her a ring. When the conservative Melody asks for one night out at a fancy restaurant, he dismisses her request as too expensive. The holidays amplify all this, because her own mother (Stella Stevens) prods her to marry and start the family she’s always dreamed of.
Melody feels like she’s stagnating, until one day she writes out a list of all the things she wants for Christmas and her best friend slips it into the department store Santa’s mailbox…
Goofy as the movie is, I think it’s such a charmer because we all can relate to scribbling out a wish list and watching the items on it come true. The decent acting (April’s character is a little overdone but she should be) and the fact that Melody is such a decent person help too. No moralizing, no frenetic pacing, no lurid sets with odd creatures; this is great for anyone suffering Grinch flashbacks. If you can just go with it, this could make you feel the way you felt when you were a kid and Santa brought you the one thing you really wished for.
Three chocolate morsels.