At this point, the formula for making a cheesy Christmas movie is pretty well known. These films don’t always appear on the Hallmark Channel, but Hallmark certainly makes a lot of them and helps define each other’s tastes. They almost always take place in a small town, where celebrating Christmas is the biggest thing the locals ever do. In general, the focus is on small businesses and communities threatened by a mean land developer who wants to evacuate the city, seal off the family farm, or build a super mega mall on a beloved piece of land. Usually it’s also a small town romance that comes from a city dweller who comes out of the water and ends up in the small town, whether it’s someone who left years ago and is now reuniting with their childrens treasure, or a country developer, who was charmed by the bakery owner in a small town.
Dolly Parton’s Netflix Christmas Movie Christmas in the square puts together every holiday cliché in a blender. Partly kitschy Hallmark film, part community theater production, part A Christmas song
[Ed. note: This post contains slight spoilers for Dolly Parton’s Christmas on the Square.]
How many worn-out films from the Christmas past Christmas in the square is in a small town. Rich Regina (Christine Baranski) returns to Fullerville following the death of her father after inheriting most of the land. Annoyed with the city because of some mysterious, unspecified event in its past, she decides to sell everything to a land developer who will soon build a mall on the property. And of course, because all the drama is absolutely the most, their eviction notices require townspeople to be out by Christmas Eve. Christmas Eve!
Everyone is upset, of course, and the city’s minister, Pastor Christian (yes, he is literally called Pastor Christian), organizes a protest against Regina. Viva the power of collective action! Regina’s old friends – and her former flame, shopkeeper Carl (Treat Williams) – can’t believe she’d betray them like that. Regina can’t wait to leave this little town, mostly because this strange homeless woman keeps following her. The homeless woman turns out to be Dolly Parton as an angel (called angel) and she appears at Regina’s fabulous mansion at the end of her first day in Fullerville and begins Regina’s journey of looking inside and repenting!
Of course, it’s all done to a song every five minutes. Christmas in the square boasts a full 14th new Dolly Parton songs. Some of them work better musically than others. The opening number is up there with the intro too In the forest For the way in which the exhibition is set up, the setting, the plot and the main characters are presented with a catchy catchy tune and an appealing choreography. But Carl sings a slow piece that basically sounds like that Song that everyone skips on the cast’s official soundtrack. Even so, the majority of the songs are fun and keep the plot moving. Characters speak lyrics like “Reggenie, you are such a mean! Play Queenie! I’ve loved you since we were little! “With full emotion.
Of all the actors, Baranski is by far the most skilled actor. Everyone else is fighting. Some are a bit stiff and feel like they are in a community theater production; others, particularly Jeanine Mason, who plays Regina’s assistant Felicity, play as if they shot a half-dozen mint mochas with a shotgun. But let’s be honest – if you prepare for it Dolly partons Christmas in the squarewith Christine Baranski you are there for Dolly and Christine; All the others just showed up to make them stand out. Dolly plays more or less just herself, but as an angel. (Though the real status of Dolly Parton is possible as little deity is worth considering.) Baranski keeps the cast down and manages to be both convincingly ruthless and personable, especially when Regina’s deep, dark secret of the past comes to light.
Even if the plot feels like it’s going in a worn direction Christmas in the square presents another vacation film. It’s a roller coaster ride of the clichés that keep the drama escalating until it finally reaches its climax. Since this is a glitzy Christmas film to make you feel good, it all ends naturally with warm blurring and a triumphant repetition of the opening number, with each lingering plot neatly connected with a sparkling bow. But hey, that’s exactly what you want from a movie in which Dolly Parton plays an angel named Angel. Anything else would not meet expectations. Thank you Dolly for adding some shiny Christmas magic to this dreary winter season.
Dolly Partons Christmas in the square is now streamed on Netflix.