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I'LL BE HOME FOR CHRISTMAS

SYNOPSIS:
Jake Wilkinson (Jonathan Taylor Thomas) is a fast talking but self-centred student at a California college. Instead of going home to his family in New York for Christmas, he wants to spend it on the beach with his girlfriend Allie (Jessica Biel). She, however, is determined to go home. But when Jakeís father (Gary Cole) offers him a Porsche if he makes it home, Jake decides to fly back. But things go horribly wrong when one of Jakeís campus scams is foiled by Eddie (Adam Lavorgna), and Jake finds himself in the desert dressed as Santa, with no money and little hope of making it to New York in time. But the lure of the Porsche, and seeing Allie travelling with Eddie, make Jake all the more determined to make it; whatever it takes.

"Let me say at the outset, Iím completely the wrong demographic for this movie. Its commercial appeal is based almost entirely around Jonathan Taylor Thomas, best known as the smart-mouthed son on Tim Allenís Home Improvement TV series. Now, I have nothing against Thomas, you understand, but I donít really see the attraction. But, purely as a film, Iíll be Home for Christmas is a thin exercise in recycled storylines, cookie cutter characters and schmaltz. The holes in the plot are huge, the acting ordinary and direction rather confused. The underlying 'theme' about finding the true meaning of Christmas is lip service at best. If thatís what youíre looking for, watch Itís a Wonderful Life; or even When the Grinch Stole Christmas. Ironically, for me at least, this film reinforced all the worst things about the holiday season - crass commercialism and phony sincerity. Despite a couple of amusing scenes, Iíll be Home for Christmas is ultimately a star vehicle for Thomas and little more. However, in a sense, the film is immune from any criticism. No matter what the reviews, its target audience will see it anyway."
David Edwards

"It's probably entirely fitting that after spending a decade playing one of Tim Allen's sons in TV's hugely popular Home Improvement, Jonathan Taylor Thomas should make his big screen debut with a Disney feature which promotes the kind of formulaic conventions usually associated with the average tele-movie. Written by Harris Goldberg and Tom Nursall, I'll Be Home for Christmas posits Taylor as a smug, opportunistic college kid who agrees to come home for the holidays only on the proviso that his father hand him the keys to the family car - a classic 1957 Porsche. Thanks to the unselfish ministrations of the various people he encounters during his subsequent cross-country journey, the self-centred campus wheeler-dealer gradually begins to see the error of his ways, and finally arrives home with a healthier appreciation of some of life's moral imperatives. To be fair, the film doesn't strive to be anything more than a G-rated, production line caper aimed squarely at a fairly young, undemanding holiday audience. And though Arlene Sanford's direction is uninhibited by finesse, Thomas and his mainly youthful co-stars make for an attractive, sit-com perfect ensemble, and the film's running time is a blissfully brief 95 minutes."
Leo Cameron

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CRITICAL COUNT
Favourable: 0
Unfavourable: 1
Mixed: 1

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SOFCOM MOVIE TIMES

I'LL BE HOME FOR CHRISTMAS (G)
(US)

CAST: Jonathan Taylor Thomas, Jessica Biel, Adam Lavorna, Gary Cole, Eve Gordon, Lauren Maltby, Andrew Lauer, Sean O'Bryan

DIRECTOR: Arlene Sanford

PRODUCER: David Hoberman, Tracey Trench

SCRIPT: Harris Goldberg & Tom Nursall

CINEMATOGRAPHER: Hiro Narita

EDITOR: Anita Brandt-Burgoyne

MUSIC: John Debney

PRODUCTION DESIGN: Cynthia Charette

RUNNING TIME: 86 minutes

AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Roadshow

AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: December 10, 1998







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