DVD Review: A Nanny for Christmas (2010)

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Movie boxes – much like movie trailers – can be deceiving. Whether they're filled with Photoshopped images of actors – now with different post-production hair colors and cuts – all pasted together to bewilder potential buyers by their beauty or piece together chopped up quotations from bad movie reviews to accentuate the positive, it's never a good idea to judge a movie based on its cover.

While I was a DVD box victim myself as I found my first name and therefore gender changed from Jen to Jon Johans to make my praise of Killshot's Mickey Rourke more legitimately fueled with testosterone, I happily accepted the error because, well, at least they got the website right and it's safe to say it wasn't personal.

Unfortunately, and despite most likely taking the high road to respond politely for the media, after comparing the misleading, genetically perfect cover art of Anchor Bay's A Nanny for Christmas with the eighty-eight minute film contained inside the cellophane, it's patently obvious that charmingly likable actor Richard Ruccolo really has no choice but to take the box-slight personally.

Undoubtedly to drive sales and better compliment the jaw-dropping beauty of the film's heroine (Emmanuelle Vaugnier) with a fellow striking dark haired star in the form of not Vaugier's onscreen love Ruccolo to foreshadow the storyline but instead via supporting player and walking comical plot device Dean Cain, Ruccolo's legitimate role as Nanny's romantic leading man was left in the Photoshop trash.

Obviously, since the work isn't all that stellar to begin with given the clunky dialogue and wooden characters, it's fine in theory that the visual representation of the box misleads us so that we're admittedly somewhat surprised by this autopilot holiday charmer before everything just clicks into predictable place.

However, considering the spirit of honesty, acceptance and taking stock of one's priorities over the course of season of sharing that the movie repeatedly drives home throughout, the emphasis on marketing for the sake of attractiveness verses authenticity makes the many structural shortcomings of director Michael Feifer's movie far more glaring.

Despite a cute if slightly dubious set-up that finds Vaugier's recently fired advertising executive Ally mistakenly accepting a job as a nanny over the holidays, from beginning to end, Nanny remains a safe and swiftly designed commercial product rather than a truly touching tale.

Throughout, Vaugier's brainy beauty alternately delights and disappoints us by teaching her new employee's straitlaced children the joy of being kids while at the same time acting like one in her own right by hiding under a bed to avoid getting caught in a lie she never needed to tell in the first place.

While the technical specs are impressive, all of the polish and effervescent charm of the leads including Cain's W. like send-up of a straight-shooting Wild West version of Willy Wonka can't overcome the film's truly dreadful script that amazingly was devised by four different individuals who put together the story.

Instead of bringing out the best in one another, too many writers in the room led to an environment where it's hard to imagine that much writing actually occurred, given the surprisingly large amount of scenes that play as though no real dialogue was written other than a few sentences specifying what the “point” was, which is then used in place of normal conversation to beat us over the head with the movie's message that there's no greater holiday treasure than togetherness.

In addition to sudden character changes that come out of nowhere as a powerful career woman becomes a Stepford like mom overnight, Nanny overflows with baffling inconsistencies and meaninglessly self-created drama that all could've easily been resolved if people actually spoke to each other for more than a minute at a time to avoid Three's Company style misunderstandings.

And although essentially Nanny is all over the place when it comes to mixed messages contained both on the surface of the box and in the layers of the inconsistent movie, it's ultimately a harmlessly well-intentioned and sugary sweet forgettable Christmas misfire.

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FTC Disclosure: Per standard professional practice, I received a review copy of this title in order to evaluate it for my readers, which had no impact whatsoever on whether or not it received a favorable or unfavorable critique.