Why Jess Lomas adores… A MOM FOR CHRISTMAS

24 Dec

Season’s Greetings from WHY I ADORE…!!!

Loving all the Christmas trees, tinsel, coloured lights and glistening presents surrounding us at the moment, but what we love most of all at WHY I ADORE… HQ is the feeling of goodwill and love to one’s fellow peeps. ‘Cause, y’know, that’s what we’re all about here at Love and Adoration Central. So I wish all our readers a massively Merry Christmas, Happy Festive Season and a stupidly kick-ass/arse New Year!!!

And on the jingle of Christmas bells rides in our latest Adorer is JESS LOMAS, editor of books, reviewer of movies (on her blog, for Quickflix and for WatchOutFor) and purveyor of popular culture! The object of her adoration is largely ignored and kind of obscure — qualities I always love to see — and, befitting the season, ultra-Christmassy. So, sit back, pour some wine or eggnog, break a Christmas Cracker/Bon-Bon and put on your paper crown as Jess gives us…

 

I promised Paul back in July that I would write something for Why I Adore … then the Melbourne International Film Festival happened, then I attempted to write my entry, changing films every few weeks until here we are – the week of Christmas. So it only seems fitting to spread some Christmas cheer and share a classic (yes, classic!) Christmas film from the golden age of cinema – the 1990s. In full disclosure, A Mom for Christmas was a TV movie but it’s still 100% certified awesome!

The 90s were a special time for me; leggings with matching pattern jumpers, hiking boots, scrunch socks, floppy hats with giant flowers sewn onto them – needless to say, I was one spiffy kid! There are many films from this time I remember fondly but there was always one film that, come December, my sister and I would hope one of the networks would play – A Mom for Christmas.

I’ve long since given up on commercial TV to come through with the goods at Christmas. This year you can “enjoy” Shrek the Halls or The Santa Clause 1, 2 and 3, along with the token playing of another favourite, National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation. Perhaps I am remembering through rose coloured glasses but, back when I was growing up (and now I feel old for saying that), you would have a plethora of holiday classics on offer. Luckily I have my very own copy of A Mom for Christmas to play whenever I feel the need for some Christmas cheer.

When 11-year-old Jessica receives a free wish, she gets what she asks for–a mom for Christmas! Beautiful Amy (Olivia Newton-John) shows up at her door bringing life and laughter back into Jessica’s family. The trouble is Amy isn’t real and can only stay until Christmas Eve. But now that Amy has brought new meaning in their lives, Jessica and her dad don’t want to lose her. You’ll love this Christmas wish come true.

What the official synopsis doesn’t tell you is that Olivia Newton-John plays a department store mannequin who is magically brought to life by Philomena (Doris Roberts) to grant Jessica’s wish. Yes, a mannequin, which means for the entire film Olivia Newton-John exhibits her fine acting skills attempting to portray a woman who is really a mannequin … cue repeat use of the “crazy eyes”.

Clearly this is as cheap and tacky as holiday movies come, but if you’re the sort of film lover who embraces the occasional serving of cheese this has to be in your pile of movies to watch these holidays. It has everything needed for a truly “dramatic” film; a young girl grows up without a mother, has a workaholic father (aren’t they always), is unpopular with the other kids because she’s “weird” and wishes for a mannequin to come to life to be her mum (mom) – wild antics and adventures ensue.

There’s probably some psychological reason why I hold this film so dear to my heart, but I find it more hilarious than heart-warming which eases my perhaps unstable mind.

Not only is Amy magically transformed from a mannequin to a human but she seems to possess some magic of her own, as she brings to life other inanimate objects including Wilson, a mannequin chauffeur from the store. Amy also teaches Jessica about the “evil” mannequins, those without any faces … yeah I wouldn’t trust them either! Fortunately, faceless mannequins can’t be brought to life! See aren’t you learning some interesting stuff!

All sorts of “crazy” things happen in the film: the family Christmas tree catches on fire and Amy, being a former mannequin, pours her eggnog on the flames causing half the room to ignite – hilarious! The department store Santa mannequin, temporarily brought to life also, gets hit by a car – nothing says Christmas like Saint Nick getting mowed down. Amy turns out to be a Kleptomaniac, having been caught stealing from the department store where she scored a job. Amy and Jessica’s dad even have a holiday romance that finishes in a heart-wrenching climax where he discovers she’s a mannequin and doesn’t seem to care! True love wins in the end and Amy leaves her life in the department store to join their family – this is some freaky family entertainment! Even the way Amy is summoned back to the store when her time as a human is up used to frighten / delight me as a child (skip to 5.52).

Obviously, having watched this as a kid, I can appreciate that many (okay, most) adults won’t watch this film or, if they do, they won’t enjoy it. But it’s a delightful mix of nostalgia and classic Christmas cheese that keeps bringing me back. Sure, It’s a Wonderful Life is a true Christmas classic, and will be more widely received by your family on Christmas night, but with enough Christmas “spirit” (i.e. alcohol), A Mom for Christmas will remind you what Christmas is really about… Mannequins learning to love.

– Jess Lomas

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One Response to “Why Jess Lomas adores… A MOM FOR CHRISTMAS”

  1. Claire December 24, 2010 at 12:43 pm #

    Oh Jess…you’re great.

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