This modern take on Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol is pretty well done. It mixes things up a bit but stays true to the moral story of living one’s life for others and not just oneself. Instead of crotchety business loan manager Ebeneezer Scrooge, we get Chance Love (nicely portrayed by Brittany Underwood). She has become a hit pop singer, but her ego has gotten as inflated as a hot air balloon. She is rude and curt to her employees, and she no longer keeps in touch with her parents. She epitomizes the word “spoiled.”
The Spirits of Christmas Past, Present, and Future are all included, but they have changed from their standard models. In this film, a man who likes to sip on his drink a lot, and whom Chance met in a bar, is the Spirit of Christmas Past. A comedian and singer with some soul is the Spirit of Christmas Present, and a lady with an attitude is the Spirit of Christmas Future, or yet to come.
Chance’s personal assistant, Brian (Kristos Andrews), is her former boyfriend. He still loves her, but she is short and rude with him. She is currently with a man named Jason (Randy Wayne), and we learn she left Brian for him when he showed up one night in a limo and with champagne, and he told her he had a great entertainment and lucrative opportunity for her. She promptly left Brian, even though they were headed to prom and Brian had rented a tux!
Condescending is her middle name and her game. She brushes past fans as a mother pleads for her to give her young daughter an autograph, as the daughter adores her. Her agent Cory (played by Jonathan Lipnicki, a memorable former child actor) tells Chance that he and her mother would like her to donate some proceeds from a concert for the less fortunate. “This is MY money!” she states emphatically. “How dare you and my mother talk about my money behind my back!” Her agent has to take stomach pills due to the stress of working for Chance. Chance states emphatically that she hates Christmas, and that it’s a “stupid, unnecessary holiday.” She says she doesn’t want to buy gifts for people, and pretend that she cares about them.
At one point, while in the limo, she exclaims that she doesn’t want to wait for her mom, and she tells the driver to leave. The driver gives her a gift from her dad, a stuffed bear holding a guitar, and she gives it to her assistant to get rid of it. “That wasn’t very nice, Miss Love,” the limo driver tells her. “You know he probably had that specially made.” “I’m not a little girl anymore!” exclaims Chance. “So, he’s still your dad!” says the driver, who shows some backbone.
Chance’s Grandpa Jack, deceased, who had been a musician too and a rock star, shows up in chains. She wants to know why he’s there and he tells her his actions in life had consequences and “living only for oneself has a price.” He tells her three spirits will visit her and this is his gift to her. He tells her he regrets living his life for fame and fortune. He says that humility, kindness, sincerity and mercy are all good virtues to be desired.
The Spirit of Christmas Past sips on his drinks as he shows Chance her past. She sees the Christmas that her parents got her a guitar and she bursts with excitement, as she has always loved music. She wound up on the TV show America’s Great Talent. She sees herself hurting Brian, as she leaves with Jason to pursue her career. “I never meant to hurt him,” she says. “He’s the best friend I ever had.” “Did you ever tell him that?” asks the Spirit.
The Ghost of Christmas Present shows up, clarifying to Chance that he’s not the Spirit of Christmas “Presents”! He shows her Brian at the hospital with his parents, as his mother is seriously ill. She had no idea. Zack Ward from A Christmas Story shows up (He played Scut Farkus). He learns Chance had scheduled a business meeting on Christmas Eve, and he asks why she couldn’t have scheduled the meeting for after Christmas. Chance sees that her dad is disappointed she didn’t make it home. She also sees them receive a Christmas present from her that she didn’t actually send. Brian sent them a gift from her so they wouldn’t be disappointed. Chance sees firsthand that Brian does indeed love her.
Finally, the Spirit of Christmas Future shows up, and Chance is shown her dad and Brian reminiscing about Chance’s mother, who has passed away. Her dad cries and it is almost too much for Chance to handle. The Spirit tells her she has been greedy, self-important, and did not spend the time she should have with her mother. To make matters worse, she winds up in jail for tax evasion!
We won’t give the ending away, but Chance realizes the terrible person she has become and that she has ignored the people who have truly loved her. The movie does a good job in showing that a person can always make a change for the better and focus on new priorities. The film has procured our Dove seal for Ages 12+.
The Dove Take
This modern take on A Christmas Carol will no doubt hit home with many families, and its focus on loving the people in your life is worth watching any old time of the year!