Blallywood Film Review: The Mistle-Tones
Everyone has a favorite holiday movie. Mine happens to be Home Alone 1 and 2. They NEVER get old and I can watch them year round. I love them. I can’t exactly explain why, I just do. The affinity is probably connected to the fun and pleasant memories of my childhood each year at Christmas, and the concept of a kid being alone to run amuck with reckless abandon still excites the sheltered and repressed nerdy kid inside of me. Fortunately, we can count on one of the Home Alones to air on a major network this time of year, along with some worthy original films. This year, our favorite celebrity twin is headlining one on ABC Family, The Mistle-tones.
At the top of the movie we meet Holly (Tia Mowry), a young 9 to 5er in a small town who’s sole Christmas wish is to sing with The Snowbelles, an all-girl local singing group founded by her own mother. When she’s late for the auditions, the snotty leader of a group Marci (played by Tori Spelling) refuses to let her audition. She takes the pulpit and sings anyway. Marci, fueled by a catty power struggle completely of her own making, refuses to admit her to the group, even though she was the best to audition. Her sister gives her the idea to start her own group, a hodgepodge of friends from work and her boss. What ensues is endless spirited outbursts of song as the rivaling groups practice for a change to sing at the “Deck the Mall Christmas Spectacular” at the local shopping center.There isn’t much to say about this movie. It’s classic ABC Family, a thin predictable plot with lavish holiday-inspired background and wardrobe, spontaneous musical numbers, and endless romance. ABC makes sense of the random singing, interspersing them with scenes that keep the stakes high for the players. The most interesting storyline is that of Holly’s family, namely her mother who founded the hugely popular all-girl group. The film never explores what exactly happened to her and how the group strayed from their lofty founding principles. Tia Mowry is appropriately warm and charming in the leading role. She’s always the portrait of wholesome warmth and joy, and her personality shines through in a role like this one. She alone makes the film’s journey interesting and deep.
Though I was poised to be unimpressed, I actually enjoyed it. Midway through I made a steamy mug of hot chocolate and just enjoyed the story. It’s a warm film full of holiday cheer and joyful song. It was cute and campy clearly targeted at the demographic that spares no expense this season, the conventional American family unit. Check it out. It’s still available on Hulu. B-.