A low bar for the definition of “miracle.”

The plots of many wonderful films essentially serve as answers to a what-if question. What if a misanthropic weatherman was forced to live a single day over and over again? What if dinosaurs could be brought back from extinction and observed by humans? What if our toys had lives of their own?

A question no one should have ever asked themselves is this: what if the love child of Jerry Lewis and Forrest Gump had to fake being a professor in order to stalk a student into fixing everything wrong with her life? BY CHRISTMAS?!?!?!

Such is the world created in Debbie Macomber’s Mr. Miracle, in which Rob Morrow plays “Harry Mills,” the alter ego of an angel on his first assignment, looking to get his wings. Yes, this is the second Hallmark film of the season using the angel’s-big-assignment premise, although I will not be so forgiving of this one as I was of the oddly sweet Angels & Ornaments. Though I haven’t been mentioning the directors of these productions, I now see that this was a grave mistake. Carl Bessai, if that is your real name: did you really look at what Rob Morrow was doing and sign off on that? Are you daft, sir? Or maybe despondent about the state of your career, such that you simply shrugged and said “Okay, what does it matter anyway, let’s break early for lunch”? There has to be an explanation other than thinking that was good. There has to be.

Alright. Okay. So. Harry the dim-witted but big-gesturing angel sets out to believably walk around in the world as if he’s ever seen a cup or a chair before, teach an English class at a local community college, and help Addie, a dyslexic young woman dealing with her father’s death, who has already dropped out of college once, learn to love herself enough in order to start putting her life back together and follow her dream of working in medicine like her father did. He has an older, wiser angel named Celeste to help him; she has very pretty red hair and I wonder why the movie can’t be about her. There is also an angel who is a dog, named Tommy. Tommy’s owner never seems to wonder where Tommy is when he’s off meeting with Harry and Celeste.

The angels’ plan has several elements:

*have Harry’s class read A Christmas Carol, so that Addie can start thinking about how someone’s past needn’t dictate their future;
*remind Addie how much she loves helping people by manipulating her into caring for her hated neighbor after said neighbor is in a ski accident (whether the angels actually cause that accident remains unclear);
*have Harry move into a house on Addie’s block and hang around a lot like a jolly creeper until Christmas magic happens.

Let me get to the one thing that makes this movie watchable, and that is the hated neighbor, Erich. Erich was Addie’s classmate all through childhood and high school, and he embodies every hot boy-next-door from every TV show in the ’90s. His hair flows in blond waves that would make Zack Morris’s toes curl with envy. He calls her “Adelaide,” which she hates, but we know that means he likes her. He has a witchy girlfriend who went to high school with them, but he’s so ready to grow up and move on. If only a girl like Addie could see him as the adult he’s grown into instead of the shallow popular kid he used to be…

Just take a look at Erich's waves.

Just take a look at Erich’s waves.

I’m gonna have to jump ahead here and just say that it all works out. Addie comes to terms with her father’s death, finishes her class, and decides to keep going with school, and she and Erich share a single, painfully chaste kiss. I cannot go into more detail than this because it all involves Rob Morrow mugging it up as if in an attempt to prove that he totally could have handled the lead role in I Am Sam back in the day. I love you, dear readers, but not enough to relive that.

Perhaps it is also the “Debbie Macomber” label that made this movie such a disappointment for me, as usually it can be relied upon. For example, 2009’s Debbie Macomber’s Mrs. Miracle, featuring Doris Roberts as a nanny who helps young widower James Van Der Beek deal with his six-year-old twins and his healing, maybe-ready-for-love-again heart. Now there’s a movie worth your time. Sadly, I must be more wary in the future. Thanks a lot for that lesson, Harry.

Countdown to Christmas scorecard:
*female lead’s name is a Christmas reference: 3/9 films
*female lead gets fired: 2/9
*male lead has sad childhood Christmas memories: 3/9
*romantic ice skating scene: 3/9
*romantic tree decorating scene: 7/9
*character comes to senses after heart-to-heart talk with father figure: 4/9
*dead parents: 5/9


3 Responses to “A low bar for the definition of “miracle.””

  1. 1 Brandi Sperry December 14, 2014 at 10:28 pm

    Because I immediately felt guilty about slamming the director’s career, here’s a list of awards he’s won: http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0078762/awards

  2. 3 maliaann December 16, 2014 at 4:34 pm

    It’s always disappointing when a Christmas movie isn’t that good. Just last week I had to turn one off only 15 minutes into the show. Blah! I do agree that the Doris Roberts movie is cute, fun and enjoyable, though. Maybe the director of this one just wanted to add Christmas movie to his resume’. :)

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