25 DAYS OF CHRISTMAS REVIEW: NOELLE

Bill Hader and Anna Kendrick in Noelle (2019)

Starring

Anna Kendrick (The Voices)
Bill Hader (Power Rangers)
Shirley MacLaine (Rumor Has It…)
Kingsley Ben-Adir (The Commuter)
Billy Eichner (The Angry Birds Movie)
Julie Hagerty (Just Friends)
Diana Maria Riva (Sabrina: TTW)
Ron Funches (Powerless)
Michael Gross (Tremors)
Chelah Horsdal (If I Stay)
Anna Van Hooft (Flash Gordon)
Jay Brazeau (Bates Motel)

Noelle (2019)When Noelle Kringle was a little girl, her father, Kris Kringle, would return to the North Pole every Christmas night to happily celebrate with the family. He reminds Noelle’s older brother Nick that he must begin his Santa training to take over for him one day. Years later, Kris passes away five months before Christmas and Nick has yet to perfect his training. Noelle continues to give him her Christmas spirit support while also making her famous Christmas cards. With the pressure too much to handle, Noelle tells Nick to get away for the weekend so that he can relax before the big day. Seven days later, the reindeer return to the North Pole, but Nick is nowhere to be found. When Noelle admits that she told her brother to get away, all the elves turn on her for essentially ruining Christmas. The elves have no choice, but to appoint Noelle’s cousin Gabriel, the Kringle’s tech support, to fill in for the year.While moping in her room, Noelle discovers that Nick has been looking through her magazines (her only window to outside the North Pole) and realizes that he must be in Phoenix, Arizona. She takes the sleigh and reindeer with her childhood nanny, Elf Polly, unintentionally coming along and they end up in Phoenix in the middle of a mall. The manager, Helen Rojas, plans to have her evicted, but when the customers all appreciate the presence of the reindeer, especially a Petco employee she has a crush on named Dan, she allows her to stay as long as they tend to the reindeer. Polly stays while Noelle continues her search for Nick. After running into so many “naughty” people, she finds an ad and meets with a private investigator named Jake Hapman. Jake, a single dad who has just divorced, decides to help Noelle despite her strange apparel.Noelle (2019)Meanwhile, in the North Pole, Gabriel uses statistics for gift giving and reasons that there are only 2,837 nice children in the world and plans to give all the naughty ones a notice telling them to do better next year, much to the horror of the elves and Mrs. Claus. Noelle meets Jake’s son Alex who expresses a desire to cook, but is afraid of telling his dad who is terrible at it. Noelle promises that if he is nice he will get his Christmas wish, which is to spend Christmas with his whole family. While out searching, Noelle discovers that she has an inherent ability to decipher if somebody is naughty or nice and can pick up any language including American Sign Language after speaking with a homeless deaf girl. A brief interaction with a woman about her yoga pants has Alex discover that Nick is working at the local yoga studio. Noelle and Nick happily reunite, but get into an argument about being Santa, ending with Noelle storming out.Noelle’s favorite reindeer, a small white one named Snowcone, arrives with a letter from Mrs. Claus, telling her about what is happening at the North Pole. Noelle has Snowcone sniff out Nick to a yoga retreat at the Desert Botanical Garden. While he refuses to talk to her, she leaves him the letter. Nick meets up with her and Polly at the mall the next day and Noelle has him continue to train by being a mall Santa. While Nick discovers the text message being sent to children from Gabriel, Jake discovers that Noelle told Alex about his Christmas wish, something that is awkward for him as his ex-wife remarried. Noelle breaks down and reveals that she is Santa’s daughter, causing him to leave. When Nick is accosted by the actual mall Santa, Noelle intervenes and accidentally hurts a police officer, resulting in her getting arrested and later hospitalized for psychological evaluation.Anna Kendrick in Noelle (2019)Polly meets with Jake who reveals that she is, in fact, an elf and asks for his help in getting Noelle released. They successfully do so with Jake seeing the sleigh and reindeer fly and Noelle, Nick and Polly return to the North Pole before Christmas Eve. While meeting with the elders, Nick reveals that he has decided that Noelle should be the next Santa, as the Santa Covenant technically does not mention gender, and the elves agree after Noelle gives an impassioned speech. Noelle takes off for the night to deliver presents where she encounters numerous mishaps. She begins to feel down, but after returning to the homeless shelter and meeting the deaf girl again, Noelle feels empowered and her Santa uniform (which previously was too big for her) conforms to her. She finishes her entire route before giving Helen tickets to Hawaii for her and Dan and dropping Jake off at his ex-wife’s house to be with Alex.Anna Kendrick in Noelle (2019)Noelle is celebrated at the North Pole as Gabriel happily returns to tech support, Nick opens up a yoga studio and Polly becomes an elf elder (something Noelle “slightly” regrets). Noelle admits that she is proud to continue her father’s legacy for being the 24th generational Santa.Disney has captured a cute and enjoyable amount of Christmas spirit with this movie that was helped along way by Anna Kendrick. A Christmas movie should do one simple thing … give you the feels … The feels are delivered here.

REVIEW: BEWITCHED (2005)

CAST

Nicole Kidman (Batman Forever)
Will Ferrell (Elf)
Shirley MacLaine (Terms of Endearment)
Michael Caine (Batman Begins)
Jason Schwartzman (Scott Pilgram vs. The World)
Kristin Chenoweth (Pushing Daisies)
Heather Burns (Miss Congeniality)
Stephen Colbert (Strangers With Candy)
David Alan Grier (Jumanji)
Steve Carell (Anchorman)
Katie Finneran (Wonderfalls)
Amy Sedaris (Puss In Boots)
Alison MacInnis (Power Rangers Lightspeed Rescue)
Valerie Azlynn (Julia X)
Richard Kind (Gotham)
P.J. Byrne (Rampage)
Jason George (Fallen)
Wendi McLendon-Covey (Bridesmaids)
Kate Walsh (13 Reasons Why)

Jack Wyatt is a narcissistic actor who is approached to play the role of Darrin in a remake of the 1960s sitcom Bewitched, but insists that an unknown play Samantha. Isabel Bigelow is an actual witch who decides she wants to be normal and moves to Los Angeles to start a new life and becomes friends with her neighbor Maria. She goes to a bookstore to learn how to get a job after seeing an advertisement of Ed McMahon on TV. Jack happens to be at the same bookstore after attending some failed Samantha auditions. Jack spots Isabel and persuades her to audition. At the same time, while she’s trying to settle into her new life, Isabel’s intrusive father Nigel keeps appearing to convince her to return home, despite several rejections from Isabel.

After Isabel impresses the show’s producers and writers, Jack finally convinces Isabel to join the show. Also joining the show is legendary actress Iris Smythson as Endora. After a successful taping of the pilot, Isabel happens to overhear a conversation Jack is having with his agent Ritchie. They are talking about how they tricked Isabel to appear without having any lines. Furious, Isabel storms off with Maria and new friend Nina close behind. She decides she only has three choices: quit, get mad, or live with it. Instead, Isabel’s Aunt Clara visits and aids Isabel in casting a spell on Jack in order to make him fall in love with her. At the same time, Nigel is introduced to Iris and becomes infatuated with her.

The hex works and Jack becomes love struck by Isabel, insisting on several script changes to give her some dialogue and jokes, ignoring statements from test groups preferring Isabel over him. Jack’s affection for Isabel grows and he asks her out on a date, making Isabel forget about the hex. But when he brings her home, she remembers and reverses it back to when she and Aunt Clara cast it. The next day, rather than the events the hex presented, Jack is outraged by the scores he received and takes his anger out on Isabel, who lashes back at him. Ritchie fires her, and she storms off. Rather than be angry at her, Jack is fascinated with Isabel and chases after her, taking all her comments into thought. So, after another great taping (with Isabel getting dialogue), a romance blossoms between the two. But the next day, Jack’s ex-wife Sheila arrives, determined to woo Jack back. Isabel sees this and casts a spell on her making her sign the divorce papers and have her decide to move to Iceland. Jack, thrilled, announces he will be throwing a party at his house celebrating the divorce.

Nigel attends the party with Iris and when Nigel begins flirting with much younger guests, Iris reveals that she is also a witch and casts a spell on each girl. When Jack makes a toast stating truth will be revealed with everyone, Isabel decides to tell Jack she’s a witch. At first thinking she’s simply an amateur magician, Jack officially believes her when she levitates him with her broom. Jack becomes frightened and shoos her away with a stick. Offended, Isabel flies off.

Jack takes this hard, being brought to the studios by the police and becoming disenchanted with the project. Isabel decides to return home as she no longer wishes to stay. Jack, imagining himself on the Conan O’Brien Show, is visited by Uncle Arthur. Arthur convinces Jack not to let Isabel leave, because Jack still loves her and wouldn’t be able to return for 100 years (which is later proven to be a lie Arthur made up to inspire Jack). Arthur drives him to the studio where he finds Isabel at the set. Jack apologizes to her and tells her he wants to marry her. They do and move into their new neighborhood (which resembles the neighborhood in the series).The beginning is slow, I have to admit, and at times the storyline does drag a little but if you stick with it I think you’ll be pleased and amused towards the end. But if you are expecting a movie remake of the Bewitched television series, this, sadly, isn’t.