Harmony Lang (Kathleen Cannon) has just found out what it feels like to be unprofitably unemployed. Having moved to Tucson, Arizona for a job that vaporized, she receives a pep talk from her mom (Elizabeth Von Isser), recalculates rent and finds a tiny house she can afford.
Soon we meet bigger-than-life tattooed goofball Joshua (Micheal Ochotorena) and cool dude Carl (Freddy Jay Walker). The two are friends of Harmony’s landlord (Avai d’Amico) and get the job of moving Harmony’s furniture into the already shrinking tiny house. Joshua, whose leather jacket declares “Jesus is Lord,” doesn’t miss a humorous opportunity to wail and moan about the weight of her furniture. We quickly find the furniture isn’t the only weighty thing about this film. It (the film) doesn’t move either.
Watching this, I began to wonder if there was indeed a scriptwriter. Many of the characters’ lines are impromptu. Harmony babbles on, frequently improv-ing about her ornament collection, her cookie decoration, or anything else laboriously tedious, leaving us running and screaming for the fast forward button. Rev up that sleigh and get away, Martha Stewart!
Fortunately, Harmony lands a Christmas job as an elfette. Faith (Krissy Kapp), her new friend and co-elfette promptly briefs her on pixie priority protection policies. The two are protecting none other than Santa himself, the listening beard at the end of the runway, from clever kids using quick ground maneuver tactics. We pick up just a little more speed when Harmony declares dibs on Santa. And lo and behold, we discover Santa is played by Carl!
From then on, Harmony and Carl hit it off, spending cookie and tree decorating time together. Oddly, things start appearing at Harmony’s unsuspecting wishes. Things like garland, lights and marshmallows for hot chocolate. Harmony just cannot figure out how Carl is doing these things, but “On Comet! We’ve got cookies to decorate!”
A skeptic at first, Harmony discovers Carl is a nephew of the real and only Santa Claus, and that Santa has an expansive and diverse family. The secret unfolds as Carl participates in a zoom session with his family, concerned that Uncle Santa is stressfully overworked, and now needing to step away from the sleigh for union breaks, etc. There’s dissension and tension among the ranks, perhaps presenting an important opportunity for Harmony’s ideas to keep the gifts coming and the Christmas spirit alive.
Regarding production, quite a few minutes of superfluous talking could be shaved off A Tiny House Christmas. There are a couple of sound volume issues and a noticeably shaky camera here and there, but for the most part, the production value is pleasant. The music score strengthens the film and undergirds the story nicely.
However, there’s yet loose tinsel. For example, Joshua’s character jumps in, here and there, to add some nutmeg and a laugh, but no sub-story develops with his character. Many dialogue scenes drone on for three plus minutes about subjects like how to get icing smoothed on to a sugar cookie. (Really?!) Actually, Harmony (Kathleen Cannon) handles this pretty well considering her performance choices are at the director’s discretion. There is nothing objectionable in A Tiny House Christmas and much of the film incorporates Christmas decor and costumes. Dove awards this film the All Ages Seal of Approval.
The Dove Take
A Tiny House Christmas brings us Santa Claus, elves and cookies but tends to drag on, thus disengaging its viewers. Dove review