Plot: The magic of Christmas isn’t what it used to be and no one knows that better than Santa (George Buza), who is concerned for the future of the holidays. After all, as fewer and fewer people believe in Santa, it makes it tough to carry on and at this rate, it seems like the end is inevitable. As if his problems weren’t enough of a burden, now Santa has been served with a lawsuit. A billionaire has sued Santa for emotional distress, over a present that never arrived when he was a child. So Santa heads to the big city to enter the courtroom as Kris Kringle and defend the Christmas season, though he can’t afford a high priced lawyer. He winds up with Michael Sherman (Dean Cain), a down on his luck attorney and single dad, who gets hired when Santa meets his daughter and she sells him on her dad’s skills. But Michael is not all together at the moment, which means he has to sort out both his professional and personal lives in a hurry, or else an entire holiday might be lost.
Entertainment Value: Once again we celebrate a very Dean Cain Christmas, this time as Dean plays a lawyer representing Old Saint Nick in a court of law. The narrative is passable and is of course a spin on Miracle on 34th Street, with some Hallmark magic sprinkled on top. No surprises and not much conflict to speak of, but Hallmark is known for these brisk, harmless holiday romances, so I think the filmmakers delivered on what the target audience expects. I liked that while The Case for Christmas plays on the usual Hallmark elements, the romance takes kind of a backseat to the main narrative, so this is much more about Christmas than romance. Of course, some viewers might feel the exact opposite, so that’s a toss up, I suppose. I think it works well here, as Cain is fun to watch and the Santa story has some charm, making it more of a family movie, as opposed to a couple or wine night flick. But there is still a romance, with Cain and Blanchard in the spotlight there and the chemistry is more than decent. In the end, I think this one has a little broader appeal than most of Hallmark’s movies, so The Case for Christmas is recommended to holiday film fans.
As anyone who explores the direct to video or made for television world of cinema knows, Dean Cain keeps busy and can be found in countless films of this kind, so it is no shock to see him here. He is a frequent Hallmark lead and he is a good choice for these kind of roles I think, as he has wide appeal and has enough to charm to be the romantic interest. I think one trait most of the Hallmark staples share is being likable, as with this kind of light, fluff material, sometimes being likable can be enough, since in depth thespian skills aren’t called on. Cain shows good charm and performs well, with an effort that is line with his usual presence for these kind of movies. He and Rachel Blanchard don’t burn up the screen with heat, but there is some chemistry and given that the romance is secondary in this case, it gets the job done. Blanchard’s role is smaller than I expected, but she is again likable and has good screen presence, so she makes the most of her scenes. The cast here also includes Krista Bridges, George Buza, A.C. Peterson, and Barry Flatman.
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