I am, hands-down, a huge Cinderella fan, so anytime there is any type of movie or story with her name in the title, I’m there. So this movie, from 2016, just hits every single note for me. It’s a weird hybrid of everything you love about the Cinderella story, but with fake snow.
This stars the girl who was in Once Upon a Time in Wonderland and some guy who wears a lot of chunky cardigan sweaters which.is.not.a.good.look. Credits roll with stock photography shots of a West Coast area decorated for Christmas. Question to California – do you really do put fake snow out during Christmas – like theater prop fake snow outside? Somehow that doesn’t seem to be a thing.
The story follows the straightforward Cinderella lines: Angie is an orphan, taken in by Uncle Otto and Cousin Candace after her parents died. Angie and Candace both work for Uncle Otto’s event planning business, although Candace is in it until she can find a husband because she was raised in 1952 – but the thing is Angie’s passion. They have been hired by Nicholas Karmichael to plan a holiday “Chrismas-Querade Ball” and Angie is doing all the work.
2 thoughts – 1) Angie is apparently prepping this whole thing in the family kitchen, where she also keeps her bunny, Jenny. Aren’t there rules about this? And 2) apparently this very thriving business only has 2 other employees.
Candace gets an invitation to the ball. She is thrilled.
Then we transition to Nicholas’ point of view: He’s got has depth, y’all. He’s not just tabloid fodder – he wants to really work hard for the family business – but his mother said, no, your father wanted your life to have meaning. So get married. Because that is the only way a life can have meaning? Plot point, he can’t claim his inheritance until he gets married. Can people still do that?
But he’s not just some playboy with good hair! He wants to be in love, he just wants to real thing!!! He keeps looking in the wrong places, because he thinks if he “found her,” he’d “just know.” Is that how it works? Oh, btw, his best friend is also his personal assistant. I don’t know that I would do that. Unless they had medical.
Now Enter the Fairy GodMother – and a genuine star alert in this – Zelda the dress maker is played by Mindy Cohn! I love her! She has pink hair. ‘Cause she’s quirky. Custom dress done in one day – and it fits like a dream. HOW does one do this in just one day – without resorting to magic, or even mice?!
Oh NO! Candace is all blotchy – she had an allergic reaction and now she looks like she dipped her face in raspberry jelly. So Angie takes her make-up and hair appointment (cue makeover montage!) with a pithy Oscar Wilde quote and is going to go to the ball.
At the entrance to the Karmichael ball, one of the guests curtsyes to the guy opening the door. No one does that. Not even on Downton Abbey.
Why is Angie freaking out at the decorations – didn’t she PLAN THE WHOLE THING? Call me crazy, but doesn’t an event planner need to be there til the last possible second – and even throughout? Who is supervising the catering? What if there is some kind of emergency?
The big game of the party, and how they get to the missing shoe Cinderella theme, even though she doesn’t have glass slippers, is : you pick a stocking off the tree (conveniently, there’s a girl with stilts to assist you) and if the person who’s stocking it is also picks yours, It’s a Match Made in Hallmark Movie heaven. There are 5 things in each stocking that have meaning only to you. This will be important later.
Does Nicholas pick Angie’s stocking? Does Angie pick Nicholas’? Yes! And they meet under the Christmas lights in this country club of a backyard. It’s never established what the Karmichael family does, but it looks like something with wine. Just guessing. They’ve met before, but they don’t know who each other is because they are wearing masks. But, seriously –unless you are wearing a full face mask, or make up like Lon Chaney, and not just a half mask covering your eyes, YOU CAN TOTALLY TELL WHO IT IS UNDERNEATH! Why don’t they know?!?!?!?!
Nicholas totally called Angie a “prize.” Didn’t we learn anything from Aladdin?
On the dance floor, they don’t seem to be dancing so much as the camera is circling around them a lot. But then they’re off to discover that they are soul mates. They are just so similar, it’s like they were written this way.
5 minutes to midnight – oh, she has to go! They have to unmask, and she asks, “What if I don’t fit in?” And he responds, “If you fit in, you would never have stood out.” That’s actually a good line.
Ok, she doesn’t want to be unmasked, mainly because she is afraid she’s not good enough. But I don’t understand where this inferiority complex comes from. Is she gorgeous? Yes. The kind that can wear a sloppy bun and sweat pants and still be a runway model. Is she smart? Girl quotes Emily Dickinson and Oscar Wilde. Is she nice? Her best friend is a pet bunny named Jenny. She doesn’t have an evil step-mother – her uncle is actually quite nice. Her cousin sucks, but if you base your entire self-worth on what one person, whom you clearly don’t respect very much, thinks of you, then your whole priorities are out of whack.
With the real Cinderella story, she clearly doesn’t want to be seen in rags, because she has been so downtrodden. Even in Into the Woods the Cinderella is unsure of herself because she doesn’t know what she wants. But here, she just thinks she’s not good enough and there is no reason to think that other than, plot. Grr. So she runs away.
Oh, poor Nicholas is BROKEN-HEARTED that he’s all alone with a blue Christmas stocking. You can tell he’s broken-hearted because he looks down a lot.
Nicholas goes on YouTube and says he’ll marry whoever left their stocking at his party. He hires Angie and Candace to plan his wedding on Christmas Eve, which I guess is in like a week? Time doesn’t seem to exist here.
All Angie knows is a tabloid guy, plus the guy she met. Who is the real Nicholas? She goes to the house to tell him it’s her, but she chickens out (for unexplained reason) and they get into a discussion about the upcoming nuptials. It’s very back-and-forth -they have the same kind of sparks that fly when you dislike someone to the point of needing to kiss them all the time. And then, Magic Hand Touch. You know just by holding her hand. So Sleepless in Seattle.
Candace realizes that Angie went to the ball, and blackmails Angie into saying it was Candace, just so she can get with Nicholas. Oh, the bitch! Angie will get the event-planning company she always wanted, so she agrees.
Next day, he’s in another sweater, and now they get along while she’s making garlands out of fake poinsettias. I’m wondering how she planned such a great Chrismas-Querade ball and he NEVER SAW HER ever, and now he’s all over her prepping the wedding.
Angie tells him that Candace is the mystery woman, and he buys it. I don’t understand why he thinks her cousin in her – the cheekbones are ALL wrong. And Angie is taller. Dude, you’re an idiot.
Oh, another icky sweater!
And now a lot of scenes where Candace is tacky and Nicholas is disgusted. It could be a montage, but there’s dialog mixed in, but I won’t bore you. Suffice it to say, Nicholas is starting to think that Candace has the emotional depth of a puddle, and thinks Angie is pretty. They have an almost-kiss on the stoop of his house, but are smootch-blocked by Candace. Man, she sucks.
Angie wants to tell the truth, but Candace talks her out of it. And now Nicholas doesn’t know if it’s Candace or Angie that he met at the ball. He goes on a scavenger hunt based on the stuff Angie put in her Christmas stocking.
Another Mindy Cohn sighting, and now Nicholas knows that it was Angie in the dress! Yay! But when Nicholas confronts her with everything, she proves that she is a very smart girl, because she successfully confuses him enough for him to back down, until the evening, when he confronts Angie while stringing up Christmas lights. This conversation is very heartfelt, and does have some nice acting – but seriously, their arguments are ridiculous – but we have 15 minutes left of the movie – which shows us:
- Angie confronts Candace on the wedding day. Candace has a hot mike, and the whole wedding hears the entire confrontation. But before Angie can tell Nicholas something, Candace locks Angie out of one door.
- Seriously, Angie has been around this house for over 4 weeks, at least, and she’s stymied by 1 locked door. When there’s another door literally around the corner? Ugh.
- Nicholas and Candace break up – broadcast live. Mother-in-law loves it, and decides he DOESN’T need to get married in order to get his inheritance. And then she sends him off to go get the girl.
- Candace has some kind of lame-ass epiphany about why she’s shallow. But they have a family hug, and Angie gets the event-planning business, because that was the burning question of this whole movie.
- Is Nicholas hiding in Angie’s house, waiting for his turn? Yes – still wearing an ugly sweater.
- Girl playing Angie does a great job of keeping tears in her big eyes for maximum photo-effect.
- Engagement ring in the magic stocking!
- Christmas Wedding!
All in all, this is a solid entry into the Cinderella-Christmas movie market, and I was glad to watch it again, just so you don’t have to.