Dolly Parton’s Christmas on the Square (2020) Review

Teeth Achingly sweet even for a Christmas movie, not even jaunty tap dancers can stop this one falling short of the ‘So Bad it’s good’ mark.

Certificate: U

Director: Debbie Allen

Screenwriter: Maria S. Schlatter

Starring: Dolly Parton, Christine Baranski, Treat Williams

Genre: Family, Musical

Runtime: 98 Minutes

Rating: 2.5 Stars

Reviewed by: Pearl

Regina Fuller has made an agreement with a big city conglomerate to sell them the land of her small home town to allow them to build a mall.  Bad news to all the people who live there though as they are all evicted and expected to be out of their houses and businesses before Christmas. Enter Angel, a literal Angel named ‘Angel,’ who makes it her duty, and the duty of her apprentice to change Regina’s mind and save the town.

I was fairly certain of what I was going to get going onto this film, and I wasn’t at all surprised.  It follows that same basic formula of many, many Christmas movies that came before it, so to that end, you effectively know right from the offset that things are going to end happily ever after, even if they take a little while to get there.  The only difference between this and all those other films, is that this one has a good amount of original songs and dance routine thrown in there to keep things interesting.

This film is based off of a stage play and that is so very, very evident here. From the overly dramatic dialogue right down to the dance numbers, complete with unexplainable tap-dancers.  I love a good musical, often more than I should, but this one just felt a little too artificial for me.  I know that people don’t really burst into song and dance in the street, but the musical numbers just didn’t feel organic to me, and none of the songs really stuck with me.  I do think that maybe the stage play feel that the film ended with though may have been intentional.  Just because all the out door sets had the look and feel of a stage performance and the acting was very theatrical as well. 

It’s not all bad though.  It is a great feel-good movie, with a wholesome happy ending and plenty of Christmas cheer.  So what if sometimes that cheer is rammed down your throat, and trust me it is.  Parton herself said that she wanted to try and brighten people spirits with this film this Christmas, and I do believe she will succeed, but I think for a lot of people this is going to be a little too sickly sweet.

‘Dolly Parton’s Christmas on the Square’ is available on Netflix UK now!

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