By Natasha Samreny
Best part about this movie is the military family subplot. Two families dealing with death, loss and deployment come together on Christmas through a fairy godmother-like character’s designs. Since US involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan in the past decade, movies discussing struggles military families face have increased but are still few and far between. Call Me Mrs. Miracle offers a touching glimpse into one of the hardest moments for families to be separated from their loved ones—the holidays.
Mr. J.R. Finley (Tom Butler) and adult son Jake Finley (Eric Johnson) run their struggling department store together. Mr. Finley used to throw the best Christmas party around and work side-by-side with his employees. But now they are lucky to catch his face on his walk up to the office, and his relationship with Jake is strained; father and son haven’t celebrated the holiday since Mrs. Finley died on Christmas years ago. As manager of the store’s toy division, Jake decides to go against the sales trend and push classic old-school favorites in place of the season’s hot new robot toy. Father-and-son relationship is pushed to the limit.
Since Mike Larson (Sean Carey) is deployed overseas, his pretty and professional sister Holly Wilson (Jewel Staite) now shops on the toy floor with her new charge and nephew Gabe Larson (Quinn Lord). Mike’s young wife died recently, and since he left to Afghanistan, Holly has worked tirelessly to help Gabe transition to his new school and temporary home with her. Enter Mrs. Merkle (Doris Roberts) who mysteriously shows up on Finley’s toy floor with a conveniently misspelled name tag (Mrs. Miracle) just in time “to save Christmas”.
Merkle carefully crosses Holly’s and Jake’s paths, weaving a sweet relationship that slowly pulls both young professionals into each other’s lives and out from behind their protective heart walls.
Trust the cover, this DVD is all that a holiday Hallmark movie can promise to be: “Heartwarming… filled with love, hope and family”. The movie is a sequel of sorts to author Debbie Macomber’s Mrs. Miracle (starring James Van Der Beek and also produced by Hallmark and based on Macomber’s book series).
My favorite parts included watching Roberts and Johnson light up the screen. Roberts (also known as Ray’s mom Marie Barone from Everybody Loves Raymond) has a knack for drafting you to her side with her fairy-godmother laugh and mischievous ways.
Not to downplay his acting abilities, but while Doris brings the funny, Johnson brings the charm. He once played young Brad Pitt in Edward Zwick’s Legends of the Fall. With those boyish dimples and blue-eyed good looks, it’s easy to see why Holly falls in love. While the romance is sweet, overall the movie doesn’t do much besides warm for the moment. Like hot cider on a winter night, it warms, entertains, then goes away.