Seasonal cheer comes to a screeching halt when a cold-hearted woman tries to sell her hometown’s land. Can music, magic and memories change her mind?
In an updated (ish) cross between A Christmas Carol and It’s a Wonderful Life, cranky and heartless Regina is intent on selling the land Fullerville sits on so that it can be paved and turned into a mall, right before Christmas. The town residents vow to resist her, but their only path to victory rests on the shoulders of an angelic Dolly Parton and her young angel apprentice. The power of Dolly (plus a shocking secret and an adorable moppet), may be just what this Scrooge needs to find Christmas in her heart.
Dolly Parton as Angel
Dolly is a bit typecast here as a literal angel (for the second time in her career!), but it features one of her best costumes of all time. It can best be described as: if Dolly was a homeless bear-trapper.
Christine Baranski as Regina
It’s Christine Baranski, y’all. This movie could be an utter garbage heap, and you know she still ain’t phoning it in. The script doesn’t give Regina a ton of nuance as a character, but luckily Baranski can do this shizz in her sleep.
Jenifer Lewis as Margeline
Jenifer Lewis, like Dolly, is a national treasure with hundreds of credits to her name. As Margeline, she plays Regina’s oldest friend, and like everyone else in the cast, delivers all of her lines as if she’s on a stage.
Josh Segarra as Pastor Christian Hathaway
The Pastor’s name is Christian. This is one of many signs that the script could have used a few more passes. Segarra is most recognizable to me as Adrian Chase, one of the good-looking but tiresome villains of the CW’s Arrow.
Jeanine Mason as Felicity Sorenson
It’s another CW star! I think Mason is fantastic on the Roswell, New Mexico reboot, but she’s not given a whole lot to do here as Regina’s long-suffering assistant. But who wouldn’t have lept at the opportunity to act with Dolly and Baranski?
Treat Williams as Carl Pellam
It’s one of FYA’s favorite dads! Williams has been in everything, but he’s most beloved as Dr. Andy Brown from the WB’s Everwood. He’s also in two holiday movies this season, so you should check him out in Hallmark’s The Christmas House. (It’s the better movie, if I’m being honest.)
Couch-Sharing Capability: Gather ‘Round
This is one of the most overtly Jesusy movies of the holiday season (somewhere, Candace Cameron Bure is probably firing her agent) so it’s definitely pretty family friendly. At one point, a character actually utters the phrase “she’s such a b-less her heart.” But I urge you to not watch this movie alone. When bad news is being delivered and the entire town is tap-dancing, and the hair salon is full of dancing gay stereotypes, and every single person seems to think they’re performing on Broadway, you will want to be able to turn to someone and verify that this is all actually happening and you’re not having a Covid fever dream.
Recommended Level of Inebriation: A Liter of Holiday Cheer
Dolly famously does not drink. That’s why she looks like she does at 74, and I’ve aged ten years in just nine months of quarantine. But even this ultra-wholesome movie has a bar, and an adorable moppet bartender. Put your movie moppets to work, I say! I’m not sure how she is at mixing cocktails, but she can pour a proper glass of whiskey. I strongly advise you to do the same.
Use of Your Streaming Subscription: White Elephant Gift
Choreographed and directed by Debbie Allen, the entirety of Christmas On the Square takes place on a soundstage, and features some truly baffling special effects choices. I would really love to be able to tell you this a good movie. Yep, sure would love to tell you that. Honestly, most of the TV movies out at this time of year aren’t much better, and that never stops me from watching a dozen of them. At least this one features Dolly Parton? Just don’t think about the plot too hard or you’ll give yourself a premature hangover headache. This would probably be the perfect movie to have on in the background while you’re decorating your tree, or baking cookies, or spiking the eff out of your eggnog. You know, working from home. And don’t worry, you’re not that drunk yet. That “square” really is a triangle.