Plot: Amelia (Larisa Oleynik) is a rising executive with a booming career, as her services are always in demand. As her boss acquires new companies, Amelia is assigned to assess the financial situation of each one and take action, to ensure the highest profit margins, to get the most out of the acquisitions. Of course, that often means letting people go and closing entire sections of the businesses, but such is the corporate world and Amelia just tries to do the best job she can in each case. Her latest task sends her back to her own hometown, which is home to a family run ornament boutique that does good business, but perhaps not good enough. The locals welcome her with open arms and assume she will protect the business, as well as the people who work there, but she quickly sees that profits can be raised with personnel cuts. While she ponders the situation, she begins to fall for her old boyfriend Jesse (Aaron Ashmore), who happens to run the business, while her boss insists on seeing some progress with the cuts. How will Amelia handle things, as her personal and professional beliefs clash?
Entertainment Value: This movie centers on a rich and powerful woman who returns home to break hearts and fire people from a ornament studio, with Christmas right around the corner. That narrative doesn’t sound too festive, but of course, romance and warm feelings create obstacles to her corporate greed, not to mention that special, small town texture she rediscovers. This is the kind of Christmas fluff that floods Lifetime and Hallmark around the holidays, but Wish Upon a Christmas is more solid than most and has some good performances. The tone is light and comedic, despite the corporate raider premise, but it never turns into slapstick and doesn’t melt into romantic puddles until close to the finale. The humor is sweet and simple, with more of a focus on the power of community and being part of something special, with the romance given a good amount of time to develop as well. This is the kind of movie that telegraphs the entire ride from the start, so it is predictable, but there is a comfort in these kind of Christmas fluff movies and this one is quite watchable. So for those who like the Lifetime/Hallmark Christmas rush, give this one a shot.
The cast of Wish Upon a Christmas is better than average for these kind of television Christmas pictures, so while the performances might not be award winning level, they’re a step above the norm. A lot of these kind of movies have a big name whose star has dimmed in the lead, but in this case, the most famous player is likely Alan Thicke, who has a small role at best. He isn’t in the main narrative, just appearing in some phone conversations to lend his fatherly advice, as the lord intended. Larisa Oleynik has the main role and she is bright and fun to watch, though she seems out of place as a woman who would crush dreams left and right. She is more believable as the pushover softie, which doesn’t make her career seem believable, but this is a feel good Christmas season ride, so no complaints. Aaron Ashmore is fine as the generic nice guy trying to do right by his loved ones and his town, but he doesn’t have much chemistry with Oleynik, which dampens the romance and not in the fun sense. The cast also includes Kevin McNulty, Christie Laing, and Linda Darlow.