Christmas-themed romantic comedies seem to be all the rage right now. You can watch about a hundred of these movies every December and the plots are generally the same: attractive single father (or mother) with steady, stable (boring) boyfriend (girlfriend) and cute kid(s) meets seemingly inappropriate man(woman) who works their way into their heart as well as instills the "true" meaning of Christmas. There are a few variations (sometimes Santa gets involved, sometimes there is some kind of magical element). The variation I like the least involves the children doing the matchmaking (Ugh! What child of any age has ANY interest in his or her parent's love life?) What does "The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year" offer? Nothing new EXCEPT sharp writing, actual comedy, and Henry Winkler.
Yes! Winkler really makes this movie with his funny, warm portrayal of our heroine's interfering uncle Ralph from Brooklyn. This is the first comedy I've seen him in in a long time, and he really does shine in these kinds of pictures.
However, Brooke Burns and Warren Christie are also very fun to watch as the mismatched couple. I liked that they didn't make Burns a Scrooge who hates Christmas. She is simply a busy woman who loves her son and wants Christmas to be special. And in her desire to do so, has lost sight of what Christmas should be. And kudos to Connor Christopher Levins who gives a boy with some mature habits (his penchant for organization) some very real childlike desires (his wish to believe in Santa even when logic dictates he shouldn't).
The plot moves along very briskly and the movie seems to end all too soon. Would that we could all be neighbors to such warm, funny and attractive people! There's even a good message about how we need to stopping stressing about Christmas.
My favorites quote (from Uncle Ralph): "When it comes to life, she's dumber than a bag of barber hair!"