Working suburban mom Sophie Kelly (Lea Thompson) couldn’t be having a worse day. Her supportive but less than efficient spouse (Andrew Airlie) has just burned all the breakfast pancakes, her ten year old daughter packs on the makeup like a hooker and talks back to her, and Sophie’s boss at the law firm where she drudges away complains that she’s lost her edge, not to mention showing up on the job with torn stockings. So what else is an exasperated moonlighting housewife to do than monopolize Santa’s lap for a bit at the local mall just before the holidays, and wish for any life but her own, and then some.
As much about binding fantasy contracts as a beware what you wish for, grass is not necessarily greener draconian Faustian bargain with a devilish Saint Nick, The Christmas Clause is a bittersweet endurance test pitting motherhood and career aspirations against one another. And with no easy answers, but a generous infusion of laughter in between.
Directed by George Ershbaumer and written by Sheri Elwood, The Christmas Clause, aka The Mrs. Clause, finds Sophie awakening to a partially altered life as a filthy rich CEO, pampered and clueless in mink, a McMansion and morning martinis. And while serious second thoughts instantly kick in, Sophie dashes out to locate her hopelessly misplaced family because, well, something’s not quite right if she can’t cook dinner and hasn’t finished yelling at her husband yet.
Her workplace apparently still exists, where she’s now the head tyrant and job-appropriately ruthless and cruel, but with exceptional teeth and a gym body. Not quite a preachy family values yarn that is totally soured on moms in the workplace, The Christmas Clause does make a case for fulfillment on both scores in, well, a fairly even-handed split verdict. And with even a little wiggle room for a newly enlightened Sophie to declare more benevolent maternity leave provisions for all in need.
MTI Home Video
2 1/2 stars