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Category:    Home > Reviews > Drama > Comedy > Telefilms > Holiday > A Nanny For Christmas (2010/Anchor Bay DVD) + Comfort & Joy (2003) + Holiday Switch (2006) + Home By Christmas (2006) + Recipe For A Perfect Christmas (2005) + The Road To Christmas (2006/New Video/Li

A Nanny For Christmas (2010/Anchor Bay DVD) + Comfort & Joy (2003) + Holiday Switch (2006) + Home By Christmas (2006) + Recipe For A Perfect Christmas (2005) + The Road To Christmas (2006/New Video/Lifetime DVDs)


Picture: C     Sound: C+     Extras: D (Nanny: C-)     Telefilms: C-



At this point, it is very fair to say there is a glut of holiday programming and most of it is bad.  Many odd productions were made going back to the silent film era, but time has not improved that situation much and that is especially clear on TV.  The lamest cycle of telefilms for the holiday is the kind that is sappy and thinks adding a star name or two or some type makes the special… special.  Here are six cases where it does not work.


A Nanny For Christmas has Dean Cain as a tough, cold (if you can believe it) owner of a chocolate manufacturer who is more interested in sales than the spirit of the season.  Ally (Emmanuelle Vaugier) is trying to find a job and Samantha (Cynthia Gibb) is a strung-out Beverly Hills ad executive.  Can they land up helping each other for the holiday?  Can they find a good script?  No, and the racial and sexual politics of this romp is suspect, but not awful.  However, it also has a goofy ending like the Spielberg’s version of the Twilight Zone classic Kick The Can from the feature film he produced in the early 1980s with Scatman Crothers.  It is weird.  There is odd chemistry to all this too and Cain is once again, underused.


Starting on the Lifetime telefilms designed to put women back in the home via brainwashing, Nancy McKeon is wasted in Comfort & Joy, where she plays a hard working business woman and mom who lands up in a car accident that gives her amnesia.  You see, she needs to forget about working for a living and just give up and go back home to be a stay-home mother.  Why remember being independent when you really want o be codependent?  And what this has to say about women is so negative that you have to see this disaster to believe it.  Dixie Carter also shows up contradicting anything she achieved in Designing Women.


Nicole Eggert plays an unhappy housewife who imagines what life would be like if she landed up with her one-time boyfriend who is now rich and in Holiday Switch, she experiences her wish come true, but she learns (as too many such Christmas programs tell us) that being poor is better (even great!) as long as you are stuck with your family, which means you have to be automatically happy.  If you have a great family, great, but that is not the case for too many and the script ignorantly ignores this.


Linda Hamilton barely fares better in Home By Christmas, where she plays a mom who has money until her husband not only cheats on her, but has hidden all their wealth, so she and her daughter have to live in poor circumstances.  Then her daughter lives with her ex and she starts to live out of a car!  Wow, funny how this always happens on Christmas.  What was Hamilton thinking?


Carly Pope is a food critic in Recipe For A Perfect Christmas, a far from perfect holiday tale in which her mom (Christine Baranski) shows up unexpectedly to make the holiday wackier.  She sets her mom up with a younger man (Bobby Cannavale) and this too backfires, especially when she likes the man more than she thought.  Call Dr. Freud for this one!


That leaves us with Jennifer Grey in The Road To Christmas, which turns out to be a road traveled too often as Claire (Grey) is about to get married to a rich man (oh no!) when she gets stuck in a snow storm and meets a poor guy (Clark Gregg) who has a son and she falls for even more, so once again, being poor equals being very, very, very, very happy?  These last four telefilms prove what Lifetime’s political agenda is all about and it is not as pro-woman as it would appear.  Yikes!



The anamorphically enhanced 1.78 X 1 image on Nanny is surprisingly as weak as the 1.33 X 1 transfers on the older Lifetime releases, when it should be a bit sharper, it is soft and color can be an issue.  The Lifetime transfers have aliasing errors and softness throughout and look older as expected.  The Dolby Digital 5.1 mix is weak and too much to the front on Nanny, stretching out the audio a bit further than it can go, while the Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo on the Lifetime releases is barely so.


Extras on Nanny include a feature length audio commentary track with Executive Producers Barry Barnholtz & Jeffrey Schenck, Writer/Co-Producer Peter Sullivan, Director Michael Feifer and actors Vaugier & Richard Ruccolo, plus a trailer.  The Lifetime DVDs have no extras at all, which is like another rock of coal in your stocking.



-   Nicholas Sheffo


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