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December 19, 2010

Movie Review: Christmas in Connecticut (1992)

Oh my. My oh my. I think I’ve actually crossed over into an alternate reality… oh, wait. It’s just another remake. Alas, Day 7 of the David Hayes 12 Days of Christmas Crap Review-a-Palooza is now boarding. Where we headed, Cap’n? To Connecticut!

On the seventh day of Christmas, the Head Cheese gave to me… seven has-been talents.

In 1945 Barbra Stanwyck and Dennis Morgan starred in a charming little holiday film about a deceitful television cook, a bona fide hero and how love is a powerful thing. Jump ahead 47 years and that charming little story is tacked out like a frog meant for dissecting. We’re in remake land and in remake land the rules of common sense just don’t apply. That satirical and romantic tale from 1945 is now directed by the Austrian Weed Machine himself, the slayer of all things nasty and soon-to-be former Governator of California, Arnold Schwarzenegger. See what I mean about remake land? It’s like physics just don’t apply. When Ah-nold is joined by, quite possibly, the recipient of the first facelift and Blade’s assistant not even the tenuous hold that remake land has on reality is enough to protect us from Christmas in Connecticut.

Although the ‘plot’ is basically the same as the 1945 original, there are so many missing pieces that a modern audience can’t help but find this film insipid and uninspired. Dyan Carrol (who is obviously afraid to grow old) takes the Barbra Stanwyck part playing cooking show host Elizabeth. Kris Kristofferson, the poor man’s Kenny Rogers, plays the Dennis Morgan part of Jefferson, a ranger who, during a blizzard, saved a young boy’s life. Jefferson’s house burns down and he is thought to have said that all he wants for Christmas is a home cooked meal. Elizabeth’s manager hears that and sees a great deal of marketing potential in filling Jefferson’s wish with Elizabeth’s gourmet cooking. There is only one problem, Elizabeth is a sham and her assistant makes all of her award-winning dishes. Blah, blah, blah. Jefferson finds out, falls in love anyway, all is well in the end.

What possessed the Schwarzen-rector to think that this story would hold up to modern-ish audience scrutiny in the early 90s? I mean, even then, a celebrity couldn’t fart upwind without the world hearing about it. You don’t think that if Wolfgang Puck was really illiterate and couldn’t even boil water we wouldn’t know? That is ALL Americans know! Most of us can’t tell you the name of our representative in Congress, but we know how much of Britney Spears’ crotch was exposed this weekend or which underage-looking boy toy Demi Moore is mentoring at the moment. Therefore, the story just doesn’t work. Furthermore, the direction, writing, acting and even the damn DVD transfer just doesn’t work! We’ve already mentioned Dyan, Kris and Arnold, but what about the other has beens from my opening refrain? Oh, they’re here and they don’t give a damn. It felt as if every single one of them was reading off of cue cards… poorly. Roll call, sound off! Tony Curtis? Here. Richard Roundtree? Shut up! But, I’m just talkin’ bout Shaft. 

That’s it, sorry. I know that I promised seven has-beens, but there were only five. I had to do something, it was the seventh day of Christmas. And, to be completely fair, it was the seventh day of Christmas in Connecticut, so you should cut me some slack.

If I were captured by aliens and they said that I had to watch this movie again or they would destroy Earth we would all be goners. The list of awfulness is far too great: remake, romance-less and unfunny romantic comedy, directed by the second most ridiculous Governor that California has ever had and starring a menagerie of people who did not want to be there.

I would rather have one of those giant plastic candy canes filled with the crappy tasting M&M rip-offs shoved up my ass than sear my retinas again with Christmas in Connecticut. In fact, as of right now, I hate Connecticut and everyone that lives there… just because.

But, since I do love you, here is the trailer for the original 1945 film.

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