You won’t want to miss catching Shannon Elizabeth and Steve Byers star in Catch A Christmas Star airing tonight on the Hallmark Channel.
Nikki Crandon (Shannon Elizabeth) may be a huge pop star heating up the charts and plastered in the tabloids but all she really wants is normalcy in her life. She’s approached by two precocious children (Julia Lalonde and Kyle Harrison Breitkopf) at an album signing and learns that their father is her high school sweetheart Chris Mitchell (Steve Byers), a man she has never gotten over. Nikki and Chris rekindle their romance but Chris can’t handle the public scrutiny and worries about his kids in the public’s eye. Will Chris let go of his first love for her career again or will they fight to be together?
I have to say, I had low expectations on this one. I was burned pretty bad with last year’s Mistletones on ABC Family. It was pretty wretched and I thought it would just be bad yet it found a way to surpass bad all the way down to abysmal. I was concerned we were going to get something quite like that. Catch A Christmas Star is lightyears better than Mistletones could ever wish to be.
Oh sure, there’s a bit of horrible green screen in the beginning and some of the songs are over-produced but forgetting those minor details, this is an exceptional holiday TV movie. Elizabeth is charming as a singer who isn’t about the publicity but the music and the fans. She’s not fake, she doesn’t devise some harebrained plan to use Chris to sell records and boost her image. In fact, she stands up to her record label several times, which I found to be a strong character trait. The fact that the writers didn’t make her into a bit of a villain that needs to learn a lesson is quite refreshing. Take notes, this is how you write a multi-dimensional songstress rather than the tired cliché pop star typically written.
Personally, I couldn’t stop looking at Byers, as he made me question that the Ashmore twins may actually be triplets, or maybe have an older brother. Chris is rooted in realism and I enjoyed that upon seeing each other again, both he and Nikki were like awkward teens, just as they had left off when they originally broke up.
Chris Jacot has played bit parts all over the place, including my beloved Eureka, so it was a nice revelation to see him as Nikki’s consciencious assistant Carmine. A bit cartoony, especially when first introduced, I appreciated that he wasn’t someone who is milking off someone else’s celebrity but is actually concerned about her well-being and advises her to follow her heart rather than the money and popularity.
Nikki explains to Chris what he has read online is mostly false and fabricated by her label, and we learn quickly how despicable they can be. She refuses to play the label’s reindeer games. For someone that has a lot riding on her career, she puts her feelings for Chris out in the open. By opposing the label early on, the movie surprised me in the most delightful way. I would have hated for her to use the new relationship to further her own career and to hurt Chris and his kids’ feelings. Elizabeth beams as Nikki, just as she did as Nadia in the American Pie series. She’s grown up but she still takes on roles that allow her to be a kind and sweet person and I admire her in this film.
Of course, there would be a misunderstanding to break the pair up and unexpectedly isn’t eye-roll inducing. I find it highly aggravating when a movie or TV show pulls people apart over a silly little misunderstanding and refuses to allow the characters to talk things out or question each other. This is not the case here. The argument didn’t feel force but instead natural.
If I’m going to be nitpicky (and I general am), my only complaints are the green screen and some songs (which I mentioned earlier) and how Chris manages to get backstage. All I could think about is that if he was a stalker, he would have easily gain entrance to his prey.
Forgetting those minor details, Catch A Christmas Star is a charming holiday TV movie you’ll enjoy and may revisit yearly as it re-airs.
Cast: Shannon Elizabeth, Steve Byers, Julia Lalonde, Kyle Harrison Breitkopf, Zack Werner, Christopher Jacot, Doug MacLeod, Maria Ricossa, Billy MacLellan, Christopher Russell
Bottom-line: Catch it or at least record it if your Sunday TV schedule has conflicts.