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As some horse racing was cancelled today an extra Christmas film was put on TV. I happened on it by chance as I was flicking channels and watched a bit to see if it was any good. I’m a bit of a sucker for a cheery Christmas film and while I don’t normally do film reviews here I’m going to make an exception. This one was the most dreadful Christmas film I have ever seen. Seriously awful. So bad that they somehow forgot to tell us the name of it. It was one of those things that are so bad you just have to see it through to the bitter end. And boy, was the end ever bitter!

It all began with a depressed angel called Gideon being summoned by the moon. He called the moon Nicholas and we later discovered that somehow the moon was also Santa Claus. Santa interrupted the angel playing the blues on an old harmonica to tell him that he hadn’t been forgotten about and he had a job to do.

Nobody ever clarified exactly what the job was but I got the idea that the angel was supposed to make a woman named Ginny believe either in angels or Santa (I’m not sure which). Off popped the miserable looking angel to observe Ginny’s life. She was a woman in her thirties who was married with two young kids. Her husband had been unemployed for six months and she worked for a pittance in the local supermarket under a miserly pinhead of a boss. Oh and because they lived in a house supplied by her husband’s company they were being evicted on the 1st of January.

So far so cheery. It got worse. It turns out that nobody in town had any money and we watched Ginny serve a series of people who were struggling on vouchers before she went home to argue with her husband about what to get the kids for Christmas seeing as they were broke. There was some to-ing and fro-ing at this point but it was mostly arguing about everything under the sun. At one point some guy walked into their house and started showing a couple of prospective tenants around the place. Naturally they bitched about everything and told Ginny her colour schemes were awful. Oh, there was also a bit (which was actually quite funny) where Ginny got out of the shower to answer the phone and returned to a queue of toddlers all desperate to pee. The drain got blocked and her bathroom got flooded and she made the kids clear it up until the point one of them put a mop handle through the window.

Ready for more misery? Good, cos it continues. One odd thing going on was the angel wandering around in the background as he followed the family. The only angel-magic he did was when he pretended to be a paedophile (possibly) and lurked at the edge of a group of kids playing hockey in the street. The puck sailed towards one of Ginny’s kids but the angel stopped it from hurting him by rebounding it…straight through a window. Class. I couldn’t quite work out if he was influencing events or not but I got the impression that he was. Misery heaped upon misery for Ginny as we shall see…

On Christmas Eve Ginny went to work. She stopped at a petrol station on the way and saw a desperate man try to sell an ancient car but nobody would buy it. He drove off telling his son (who was with him) that he’d be spending the day at the bus station as daddy had stuff to do. Ginny drove off to work where her slimey boss kept threatening to sack her. And oh look, here comes the man from the petrol station who parks opposite the supermarket and enters the bank where he pulls out a gun to rob the place. In the meantime Ginny’s husband double parks outside, tells the kids to stay put and enters the bank. One of the kids ignores this and runs across the road. I swear at this point I thought she was going to get run over because it was that sort of film but she made it safely into the supermarket where she distracted Ginny to the point that the manager came over and sacked her.

Ginny put her daughter back in the car and stormed over to the bank to rip her husband a new one for all the trouble and came in just as the gunman started shooting his way out. Despite there being dozens of people around, naturally it was Ginny’s husband who ended up shot as the robber fled the scene. He got outside only to find that some inconsiderate asshole had doubleparked and blocked him in. Honestly, will the misery never end? He did what any sensible bank robber would do and leapt into the offending vehicle where the keys had presumably been left. Off he drove into the distance complete with Ginny’s now semi-orphaned kids in the back.

Ginny leapt in the robber’s car and drove after him. There was an incredibly lowspeed pursuit for a bit after that although strangely there were no police involved. The vehicles seemed to manage only about 60mph despite the roads being flat and straight. It was probably fortunate that the bank robber wasn’t driving too fast as it gave him time to make friends with the kids. It was heartwarming, it really was. What was unfortunate was that Ginny’s clunker broke down. She got out and started running down the road and the police finally turned up to give her a ride. They caught up with the robber just in time to watch him drive off a bridge and into the icy water below where he and the kids drowned and the car was swept away.

Still with me? Jolly good. So Ginny returns home to mourn and finally the angel grows a pair and fishes the kids out of the river. He arranges for them to be found and they are returned to their ecstatic mother who now has to explain that daddy isn’t coming home. No, not ever. This goes down about as well as you can imagine. Later, the children are arguing and the little girl (who should be named Houdini) decides to run away. She goes to see the angel who tells her he can’t bring her daddy back to life (and why not? He did for the children!) but perhaps Santa Claus can. Off they go to the North Pole where Santa/Nicholas also says he can do nothing. He leads Ginny’s daughter through his workshop where she sees an ex-neighbour of hers who had died. Santa then reveals that he doesn’t employ elves but dead people. He also seemed to have no regard for age as there were a few children running around working. Santa/Nicholas takes little Houdini to the mailroom where he fishes out a letter he once received from Ginny. He instructs the little girl to return it to her mother and flies off on his rounds. Meanwhile, Ginny is running around the icy streets looking for her daughter before reluctantly returning home.

The little girl is returned home by the angel and sneaks back into the house with nobody noticing. Quite some feat for a six year old. Her brother eventually spots her and calls for mommy. Ginny scolds her daughter and puts the little tyke to bed where the letter is revealed. Ginny reads it and realises it is her own letter to Santa sent twenty years before and that Santa must be real and by extension that angels must be too. She runs out of the house and sees the angel Gideon and gives him a nod. He is almost persuaded to give a half smile before he turns and walks away. Ginny then sees her husband walking down the road towards her – time has reversed and it is now the night before.

All this so that a woman can be persuaded to believe in angels? Good grief! I have never seen such a thoroughly miserable film with such a dreadful message. I have absolutely no idea what it is called because it wasn’t announced, wasn’t in the listings and if the title was in the opening credits I missed it. Which is a great pity because I’ll be looking out for it next year. Nothing beats a hilariously intense dose of misery at this time of year. 😀

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