Christmas Town deals with Liza McCann (Nicole de Boer) an overworked real estate agent that travels to Hollyville with her son to visit her estranged father. Hollyville is filled with Christmas decorations and Yuletide spirit, which frustrates Liza, who has hated Christmas since childhood. However, through a series of surreal events, Liza begins to change her viewpoint and the story unfolds from there.
This film attempts to transcend the typical coming home for Christmas story by infusing it with supernatural and magical elements. However, the result is a difficult pill to swallow. The performances are flat, the score is dull and the story seems all too familiar. The comedic moments of the film are cliché and boring and unfortunately the characters are not likeable either. Nevertheless, the director does salvage some of the film with a beautiful British Columbia backdrop. There are some gorgeous landscape shots and are threaded through the film well. On the other hand, when the highlights of the film are without characters or dialogue, it does not bode well for its cause. This is a Christmas misstep and should be avoided at any cost.
Christmas Town is presented in 1.33:1 anamorphic widescreen. The grey overcast in the film dulls it completely. Images look dreary and nothing manages to pop from the frame. The transfer is serviceable with limited grain and mediocre colors. The location shooting does help a touch and would have been nicer with a better contrast. Unfortunately, this is a bland visual effort and does not provide any help to the suffering script.
The 5.1 Dolby Digital surround sound might as well be stereo. There are no immersive elements whatsoever. Moreover, the director overuses the score. There are only several minutes of just dialogue; the rest of the film has a generic score jammed in the background. The sound provides yet another problem to the seemingly innumerable amount.
The film is problematic from start to finish. The Christmas formula continues to draw more and more filmmakers to it with very limited success every year. The dialogue, characters and story are all standard fare. Unfortunately with this film, nothing is done reasonably well and it stumbles over its own two left feet. Better luck next season. Happy Holidays everyone.