Candy Cane Lane was watched early as a screener. It comes out on Prime Video on Friday, December 1st!
Christmas is the best season to be and exist in, according to Chris Carver (Eddie Murphy). Now, it is debatable if he married his wife just because her name, Carol (Tracee Ellis Ross), fit in with the season so well, but his three kids, Joy (Genneya Walton), Nick (Thaddeus J. Mixson), and Holly (Madison Thomas) were certainly named that way for Christmas.
Except this Christmas things are shit. Chris just got laid off. His wife might get a promotion, but he feels bad. And his street always has a giant contest for the best decorated house. He loses to his neighbor (Ken Marino) a lot, who just fills his lawn with inflatable crap, whereas Chris has hand carved wooden sculptures and lights. Well, for some reason, this year there is a cash prize of $100,000 to the best house. That is a chunk of money that can save Chris. And so he wants to make this Christmas the best he can before his oldest runs off to college.
Long story short, he ends up spending a lot of money on a giant Christmas Tree themed after the the 12 Days of Christmas, that is wooden and robotic and spins. And through more plot (eventually), that stuff all comes to life to terrorize his life until he can reclaim all of the golden rings, least he get turned into a toy. Turns out making a deal with an elf (Jillian Bell) is more like making one with the devil.
Only people with Christmas Sweaters can win Christmas decorating contests, fact.
Hard to say. Having a main character as an adult just really love Christmas is an interesting idea. Hallmark movies do that all the time.
Honestly, at this point, I think I am just over Jillian Bell as a villain. She was also in the recently straight to streaming, Good Burger 2, as the bad guy. And has been the bad guy before in the past. And it has lost all meaning at this point. Kind of like Ken Marino playing a smug asshole. The side characters don’t do anything for me, which is more important given that Bell is in this movie a lot as a weird vengeful elf.
But what about the main family? Well, they just never really seem to deal with the issues the characters are going through. Murphy lost his job and is now spending a lot money, for a cause, and not looking for something else. That is an issue. The son is failing school class. The main plot line dealt with is the oldest daughter wanting to go to school out of state (and she is a senior, and this is December, so I guess it makes sense for this to be a last second conversation. Although she was also doing Track and Field for high school, which we all know is not in December).
Sorry, I am getting technical.
In terms of the actual plot, it is actually really bad. Collecting the golden rings in 24 hours. Is it figuring out clever puzzles? No not really. It is just aggressively themed ornaments who come into the families life at various points, and they just succeed when the challenge comes to them. They don’t have to go out from their normal activities to find them. No puzzles. Just…rings. Only a little bit of shenanigans, at the end, but hey, it is solved by counter-shenanigans so again, no worries.
Honestly, out of the side characters? I did love David Alan Grier as Santa. I wish he had a bigger part of it.
Candy Cane Lane is a safe movie, that maybe some kids will like the slight zany-ness of the situation that comes up. But it takes a long time before that even starts, and it is spread out slowly through the other slower family plots. There was potentially a good idea here, but it was played safe and slow.