Kevin tries to be involved with his son and ex-wife’s family for Christmas. During dinner, he thought his Christmas *day* couldn’t go more poorly — until his son suddenly wishes it was Christmas every day. After that, it was a regular Groundhog’s Day. Kevin learns new dance moves and can actually sing. Don’t let the caroling fool you.
Like the movie Groundhog Day, the plot of this movie is about re-living a day over and over again. In this case, it is Christmas day and the main character, Kevin (Jay Mohr), visits his ex-in-laws and ex-wife Jill (Daphne Zuniga) in order to see his son, Ben. The problem is that Kevin has a real attitude. He picked up a quick Christmas gift for Ben, not even paying attention, and it winds up being a toy oven. When Jill’s new boyfriend, Todd, gets Ben a train set, it makes Kevin’s gift seem even worse. During a funny moment in the film, Arthur, the former father-in-law, sees the oven Kevin bought for Ben. He teases Kevin after Kevin says he’ll buy a new gift for Ben. “Get him an oven mitt!” says Arthur.
Kevin is bitter about the divorce although he had begun to overlook his wife and to be temperamental. When he first comes to the door a kid throws a ball that whacks him in the head. During subsequent times of re-living the day over, he ducks and at one point allows his former mother-in-law Trudi (Adrienne Barbeau) to get hit in the head. In addition, once he learns the score of the football game Arthur is watching, he tells him his home team will lose when he revisits the situation.
A few of the other events that Kevin learns by repeating the day again is that Todd has bought a new car and gift wrapped it as a gift for Jill. Kevin ruins that surprise too. Kevin would like to leave early but a boulder fell into the road, making it impossible for him to leave town. The family visits the Christmas fair downtown and two men are dressed as “Peas on Earth!” Believe it or not later when Kevin begins to change for the better, he plays one of the peas along with Arthur.
During the family dinner, Trudi asks what they all like about Christmas and various comments are made such as the music, family and even a small thing like wrapping presents. In an attempt to name all of Santa’s reindeer, Kevin does fairly well until the end, when he mentions “Doc” and “Grumpy” as being reindeer!
The whole Christmas day repeating itself begins when Ben says he likes having his dad, Kevin, with him, and says, “I wish it was Christmas every day.” A draft blows into the house and soon Kevin finds himself starting the day all over, and knocking at the door at the same time the neighbor throws the ball at him. Although humorous in several spots, the movie does contain some serious moments, such as when Kevin looks at a photo of himself with Jill and Ben when they were a family. He obviously misses those days. Yet there are other scenes which will elicit laughter from the viewer, such as when Kevin, in frustration, begins punching the plastic Santa over and over. In one scene, Kevin, who doesn’t like singing Christmas carols with the family, knows he is reliving the day over for the last time and sings, “This is the last time I have to sing this, fa la la la la la la la la! Hooray for me!”
But Kevin does begin to see how lousy his attitude has become and he decides to act like the mature adult he should have been all along. He owns up to the fact that he was wrong in the past and had a lousy attitude. Jill, who very much loved their marriage in the beginning, begins to realize that Kevin has indeed begun to change. Still, he remains Kevin to an extent as he wraps up Todd’s Christmas gift for Ben, the train, and gives it to Ben as his own, while his own gift of the oven is wrapped up and labeled that it’s from Todd!
Will Kevin and Jill reunite? How will things turn out for their son, Ben? Does Kevin really change? These answers are all a part of the movie. We are awarding our Dove seal for Ages 12+ to the film. It has a nice theme of changing for the better and of forgiveness. It does contain a few scenes of the character of Granny grabbing Kevin’s rear, and in one scene at the Christmas Fair a man playing a grown-up Jesus gets into a fight and is hit and hits others. It’s stated that, “Jesus just hit that guy!” And when the actor returns to a fight it’s said, “Jesus is coming again!” Some viewers may think it’s funny but some may not. But the theme of fresh starts and forgiveness is nicely portrayed in the film. And the catchy Christmas tunes are fun to listen to.
The Dove Take:
For anyone who has ever needed forgiveness or a fresh start, this movie uses a unique theme of living a day over and the wonderful holiday of Christmas to teach some fine lessons.