Candy Cane Lane (2023)

Candy Cane Lane (2023)

Entertaining family fun that just falls short of being a potential holiday staple

6.2

Movie

United States of America
English
Comedy, Family, Fantasy
2023
REGINALD HUDLIN
Aidan Kennedy, Ali Astin, Amanda Schoonover
117 min

TLDR

Geared specifically towards the '90s kids who loved rewatching Jumanji and Small Soldiers on VCD.

What it's about

After being laid off from his job, a family man seeks assistance from a magical Christmas shop to help him win a Christmas decoration competition—only to accidentally place a curse on himself.

The take

Proof that even the most tired tropes (which the holiday genre is arguably entirely made up of at this point) can still be warm and enjoyable with above-average craft and a fun cast, Candy Cane Lane avoids the monotony that tends to plague other Christmas movies. Which isn't to say that the film is a new classic—it still concludes too easily and doesn't give its more emotional side the space to breathe. But with an entertaining fantasy premise (specifically, a sort of scavenger hunt based on The Twelve Days of Christmas) bolstered by strong visual effects and supporting actors who have been given free rein to improvise, the movie stays dynamic and lightly humorous, if a little lacking in substance.

What stands out

It's unfortunate that Eddie Murphy seems to have been directed to play this lead role incredibly straight, because he misses out on all the fun that everyone else around him is having. There are great bit parts and one-liners flying left and right here, from the likes of Nick Offerman, Chris Redd, David Alan Grier, Ken Marino, Timothy Simons, and Danielle Pinnock—all of whom never try to milk a moment for longer than necessary. But as Murphy's character's wife, Tracee Ellis Ross proves that she has her sitcom instincts down to a science, always funny but constantly anchoring herself to a clear emotional center.

Comments

Add a comment

UP NEXT 

UP NEXT 

UP NEXT 

River (2023)

A delightful and ultimately life-affirming Japanese time loop comedy clearly made with love

8.8

Fast & Feel Love (2022)

Speed stacking makes a comeback in this surprisingly funny film

7.0

Scoop (2024)

A gripping and illuminating dramatization of a landmark interview from the creator of The Crown

7.4

The Antisocial Network: Memes to Mayhem (2024)

A bleak but amusing look at how ironic memes became the headline news

7.0

Leave the World Behind (2023)

Shyamalan meets Black Mirror in this hugely entertaining, visually inventive apocalyptic thriller with a killer ending

8.2

Yannick (2023)

Quentin Dupieux interrogates his audience in this hour long hostage situation

7.4

American Nightmare: Becoming Cody Rhodes (2023)

A heartfelt documentary dissecting Cody Rhodes' impactful return to WWE

7.0

Música (2024)

Rudy Mancuso recalls his origin story in this charming semi-autobiographical coming-of-age musical complete with Camila Mendes and puppets

7.3

Wind River (2017)

Sicario's screenwriter directs this story of murder in an Indigenous reserve

9.4

Incendies (2011)

Part melodrama, part war thriller, Incendies is gorgeous and heartbreaking from the first scene

9.9

Curated by humans, not algorithms.

agmtw logo

© 2024 agoodmovietowatch, all rights reserved.