"Hey jingle balls! Move your candy canes!"
I'll Be Home for Review Time
I'll Be Home for Christmas is a 1998 Disney Christmas film that didn't get very good reviews and is mostly forgotten about today. So, yippee for that. Directed by Arlene Sanford (A Very Brady Sequel) and written by Tom Nursall (A Step Toward Tomorrow) and Harris Goldberg (The Master of Disguise), the film follows Jake (Jonathan Taylor Thomas) as he tries to get home from his school in California to his home in New York after his dad Gary Cole says he'll give him a car if he does. But when an incident with some bullies leaves Jake stranded in the desert with a Santa suit glued on him, his girlfriend-ish Allie (Jessica Biel) on her way home with his rival Eddie (Adam LaVorgna) and no money to his name, Jake tries to make it home in time for Christmas to win both his girl and his car. Gee, what a stand-up guy!
|But, he doesn't want to go to the Pole?|
I'll Be Home for Crappy Writing
Maybe I've gone soft. By all means, I should hate I'll Be Home for Christmas. I should really hate it. It's got a teen TV show "hunk" making his way to the big screen, a now famous actress in a co-starring role, a dumb plot filled with lame attempts at being cool and several moments so absurd that Gideon from One Magic Christmas would be calling BS. It's classic 90s crap. And yet... I just can't do it. I just can't bring myself to hate this movie, or even really dislike it. The spirit of Christmas has fully engulfed me and now I am too pleasant and joyful to be anger at movies from almost 20 years ago that everybody forgot about. I mean, like I said earlier, the film's plot is just not very good. The road trip idea is cool, but the film barely does anything, and the stuff it does do either have nothing to do with Christmas or get dropped once they stop being important. Entire characters he meets are step up as big deals and then are never mentioned again. At one point, he goes to a children's hospital and one kid mentions that his Christmas wish is to be home for Christmas and not in a hospital. And that's the last we seem of him. No big heart-warming moment where the kid goes home. Sucks to be him, I guess.
I'll Be Home for Life Lesson
But, after all of the, I still can't raise up much hate for this movie. The thing is, despite the weird lack of Christmas themed events, the film, like myself, is totally wrapped up in Christmas spirit. It's just all so nice and likable. Biel is great as the main character's... girlfriend, maybe, kinda? Taylor Thomas is fine, though he is basically just doing a Christian Slater impression throughout the entire movie. But, he is likable enough to keep me interested in the plot. The big thing is, I honestly felt for the guy. I know, I know, but, I truly did feel like this guy really did feel bad for what he did, really wanted to see his family and was at least amused at the hurdles he kept having to jump through. And the film is able to mine some humor out of that, plus the film keeps reinforcing to be good to people at Christmastime, which I can never complain about. The film does kinda throw it away in the end when Thomas does go back to his jerky ways and it all wraps up in an incredibly ludicrous race home in a stolen Santa sleigh. But hey, Christmas movies tend to be more improbable than most.
I'll Be Home for Verdict
Already I've seen some bad Christmas movies from Disney, so the fact that I'll Be Home for Christmas is only kinda decent is something to be thankful for. I mean, nothing about this movie sounded remotely good and for good reasons. The film doesn't really seem to know what it's plot is or who it's characters are, the ending is awful and the movie still has the 90s Disney movie vibe to it. But, the cast is good, the main character is likable, the movie is full of Christmas spirit and the message is great. Overall, not great, but could have been far worse. I mean, just wait until I get to College Road Trip. I'll Be Home for Christmas gets 3 and a half stars out of 6.