A Cinderella Story: Christmas Wish (2019)

A Cinderella Story: Christmas Wish
Director: Michelle Johnston
Writer: Leigh Dunlap, Michelle Johnston
Cast: Laura Marano, Gregg Sulkin, Isabella Gomez, Johannah Newmarch, Lillian Doucet-Roche, Chanelle Peloso, Barclay Hope, Garfield Wilson
Seen on: 23.12.2019

Kat (Laura Marano) lives with her stepmother (Johannah Newmarch) and her stepsisters (Lillian Doucet-Roche, Chanelle Peloso). They treat Kat badly and Kat tries her best to keep her head down until she can get out of there. She works at a Christmas fair as an elf together with her best friend Isla (Isabella Gomez), owned by the Wintergarden family. When a new guy starts working as the Christmas fair Santa, Nick (Gregg Sulkin), he and Kat hit it off. But Kat doesn’t know that Nick is actually Dominic Wintergarden and Nick doesn’t know that he already had a – to her – mortifying encounter with Kat. When Kat’s stepmother starts plotting to get at the Wintergarden fortune, things turn even more complicated for them.

A Cinderella Story: Christmas Wish is cute, though it will most likely appeal more to actual teens or tweens than adults who also like YA stuff (like me). It didn’t exactly blow me away, but it’s okay.

The film poster showing a young woman (Laura Marano) and a young man (Gregg Sulkin) standing back to back in fancy dress in front of a wall of red roses.

There are many takes on Cinderella out there and while, of course, this film is a modernization of the story, they didn’t really go for a new take on it (although they did remove the magical parts), a change of perspective or a reframing. No, they just told the story straight, so you know exactly what you’re getting.

Unfortunately that sense of familiarity is not just charming, it also becomes a way to simplify things even further here, glossing over things that just don’t make any sense because it’s just what the story demands (like Nick not recognizing Kat because she wears fake ears. I mean, ????). I think it’s mostly that and the cartoonish characters that made me feel like the film is aimed at a younger audience exlusively.

A young woman (Laura Marano) dressed as an elf and a young man (Gregg Sulkin) dresses as Santa Claus leaning in for a kiss.

Laura Marano and Gregg Sulkin are fine leads, though they both get outshined by Isabella Gomez who is a breath of fresh air and a jolt of energy whenever she comes on screen. And the film does need her dynamic presence a couple of times to not get stuck in a rut. Even though, it being a musical, it has all the chances of propelling itself along. Unfortunately, the music is pretty standardized (and overproduced) pop and if you asked me today, I couldn’t hum a single melody or quote one lyric of the songs that they sung.

The film was entertaining enough that I didn’t quit watching it, but I probably won’t be returning to it either.

Two young women (Laura Marano, Isabella Gomez) in elf outfits.

Summarizing: for the young ones.

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