' ' Cinema Romantico: Good Morning Christmas!

Tuesday, December 15, 2020

Good Morning Christmas!

That wearying modern lament about a War on Christmas is one typically made, ironically, in bad faith. I mean, if you’re a devout Christian upset over the secularization of a religious holiday, fine, fair enough, but take it up with Clement C. Moore and Rowland Macy, not the liberal media. No, like so much These Days, an ostensibly non-political argument is strictly political. Take one look, “Christmas is”, as Billy Mack once sang, “all around.” Christmas Muzak is omnipresent two, three months of the year, the cosmopolitan elite craft breweries are stacked to the rafters with Christmas Ale, snobby Starbucks cup might not cite Christmas but every other damn thing in the store does, and the Hallmark Channel, those purveyors of Holiday – oops! – Christmas spirit begin running their slate of Yuletide-themed movies before Halloween. Movies like “Good Morning Christmas!”, in fact, where that excessive exclamation point underlines – nay, emphasizes – one character’s ultimate transformation from Grinch into believer that Christmas is, unreservedly, the most wonderful time of the year. 

“Good Morning Christmas!” is about a Kelly and Michael like talk show called, heaven help me, Bright & Merry, hosted by Brian Bright (Marc Blucas) and Melissa Merry (Alison Sweeney), a pair of names demonstrating Hallmark’s unrelenting penchant for subtlety. Bright & Merry is the number one talk show in America which we know less because the movie submits true evidence for their quality as on air act or America’s love of them than a poster that simply states it: the number one show in America. Party pooper Brian, though, his eyes on greener pastures, wants out, hanging Melissa out to dry, which will come to a head during their Christmas week broadcast from Mistletoe, Maine where romance will bloom and Brian, kind of Tom Brady as Ebeneezer Scrooge, will get over his aversion to Christmas.

That aversion to Christmas, as it often is in Hallmark land, is rendered as something akin to a moral failing, unnatural, the movie blind to its own wild-eyed Yuletide insistence. When Brian explains he plans to spend the holiday with his fiancé in a sunny locale, Melissa expresses extreme skepticism over a Christmas sans snow, as if forgetting good chunks of the globe spend their December 25th in warmth and sunshine. Through this light, the movie’s routine ice skating sequence, gingerbread house making scene, tree lighting ceremony, etc., are not mere paint by numbers plot points but Brian being hooked up to a steady drip of holiday joy. 

Granted, much of “Good Morning Christmas!” is too ho-hum for it to excel when measured against the best Hallmark Holiday offerings. The secondary characters are unconsidered nonentities, the obligatory third act reversal and resolution are lackluster and the romantic chemistry between Blucas and Sweeney is nil. Even so, Blucas gives the movie its kick, rendering his holly jolly metamorphosis not by being subtle but over the top, drunk on too many cups of cheer, embodying the guy who wears the Santa hat at the office Christmas party and truly cannot grasp why a non-gentile might not feel the spirit of the season. He fought Christmas and Christmas won.

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