Parents' Guide to

Christmas Wedding Planner

By Barbara Shulgasser-Parker, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 10+

Formulaic holiday romance has some kissing, drinking.

Movie PG 2017 86 minutes
Christmas Wedding Planner Poster Image

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Justin G. Dyck has directed at least 36 films, and yet with what seems an emphasis on quantity over quality, he still can't seem to master the skill. Eight have either the words "romance," "love," or "wedding" in the titles, and 14 feature the word "Christmas," suggesting these are his areas of expertise. Yet, in keeping with his style, Christmas Wedding Planner is a bland, paint-by-numbers, cookie-cutter, not-an-original-moment-throughout made-for-TV piece of fluff that will neither satisfy nor delight anyone who has ever seen a movie before. Jocelyn Hudon lays on the perkiness as Kelsey, a female character whose slavish adherence to stereotype makes Dyck's direction seem artistic in comparison. This is certainly child-safe by way of its absence of harsh language, violence, and sexual situations, but so is It's a Wonderful Life, so is Harvey, yet those films have imagination, humor, and heart, exposure to all of which usually enhances a child's life. This lacks them all, making it the cinematic equivalent of empty calories, the Froot Loops/Cap'n Crunch of movies.

The movie is bereft of small details that indicate some connection with the reality of how people talk, think, feel, and behave. How does Kelsey, wedding planning newbie, speak with the jaded voice of long experience, as when she gives us her take on the different categories of bridesmaids she's observed? She's never done this before, so where does her world-weary take on bridesmaids come from? Kelsey regularly messages an unknown person to explain everything the script has been too weak to communicate through actions, relationships, and dialogue. The big reveal is downright creepy and adds nothing to the tale.

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