Plot: Noelle (Candace Cameron Bure) has taken a break from romance, but she finds solace in her work at a popular department store. While the position isn’t what she dreamed about doing with her life, her job does allow her to keep an eye on the shoe section. As she is more or less addicted to new shoes, this is a valuable perk and she also loves the Christmas season, so she has fun decorating and planning for the store’s various displays. But there is such a thing as too much of a good thing, which she realizes when she is accidentally locked in the store overnight. At first she basks in all the fun stuff she can do with no one else in the store, or at least she thinks she’s alone, until she meets Charlie (Jean Smart). Her new friend claims to be an angel and not just any angel, but Noelle’s guardian angel, no less. But is Charlie really an angel and if so, will Noelle’s life be changed by her visit?
Entertainment Value: For some reason, A Shoe Addict’s Christmas is often marketed as a new take on A Christmas Carol, which isn’t an accurate depiction. Noelle is no Scrooge and while there is an angel and some visions of alternate holiday experiences, that is where the similarities end. So if you come in expecting a fresh spin on the Charles Dickens classic, you might be let down, but if you’re after a more typical, brisk holiday movie in Hallmark’s style, you’ll feel right at home. The narrative has an It’s a Wonderful Life kind of vibe at times, with a little more emotional depth than most Hallmark movies, but still light in tone overall. The story is of course predictable and saccharine, though I doubt the intended audience will mind at all, since the movie is clearly intended to be a holiday feel good ride. To that end, we have likable performers and a very light romantic element woven into the narrative, as well as a lot of shoes. The shoes are also used as a narrative device, which helps the movie stand out a little, while the exploration of the “what if” scenarios keeps the pace on point and helps distract from the otherwise rather routine plot. Hallmark fans have seen this all before, but for those who appreciate the formula, this one should hit the usual marks.
As one of Hallmark’s most prolific regulars, Candace Cameron Bure is a veteran of these holiday romances and even stars in a murder mystery series for Hallmark, so she clearly has a lot of appeal for the network’s viewers. Bure is likable as always and the tone here is light, which lets her charm take the lead and she is able to show some of her comedic skills as well. I think Bure is a capable lead in these Hallmark movies, as she has settled into what the audience wants and is able to consistently deliver, while being a charming, enjoyable screen presence. I doubt anyone will sing the praises of Bure’s work as award level or what not, but she performs well and is able to elevate the material at times, which is about all you can ask in this kind of picture. So for fans of Bure or Hallmark in general, her lead performance should be right on the mark. Jean Smart manages to steal the show however, in a smaller, but still prominent role that she really runs with and the movie is much better for her presence. The cast also includes Luke Macfarlane, Tanika Davis, and Vanessa Matsui.