Christmas meets Groundhog Day in Christmas Do Over, a made for TV Christmas DVD starring Jay Mohr and Daphne Zuniga. It is, of course, one of those Christmas movies where the grouch or grinch learns the errors of his ways and to love Xmas and the holiday season. As these things go, Christmas Do Over is not awful if you can get past the main character but that is a big if.
Christmas Do Over is the story of Kevin (Jay Mohr), a divorced father who is forced to spend Xmas with his in-laws and his ex-wife's new cardiac surgeon, beloved by the family, and seemingly perfect and thoughtful boyfriend. Kevin is there because he dropped off his son's Christmas present and a rock slide blocks the only way out of town. When his son makes the wish it was Christmas every day, the wish comes through and Kevin has to relive the day time and time again.
This Christmas movie would have worked much better if you could cheer a bit for the main character. Unfortunately, although you can see his in-laws attitude and the new boyfriend thing is really hurting him, Kevin is pretty much a major and juvenile jerk. I have absolutely no problem with being cynical about Christmas and the holiday season but this guy will not even put on a brave face for his son's sake. To add to his unlikeability, the story starts off with him buying his son's present at the last minute and without even knowing what he is getting him.
Christmas Do Over knows it is the seasonal version of Groundhog Day and knows the viewer knows it too. This means Kevin realizes what is going on from the minute he wakes up the next and previous morning. This is where this Christmas comedy starts to work though the wheels fall off on Christmas Day version 5 when the Jay Mohr character realizes his actions have no consequence and behaves even more like a complete and childish tool to the point of destroying part of one of his son's presents just because the new boyfriend gave it to him. Still, the next scene where Kevin, Santa, Joseph, Mary, and a full-grown adult Jesus (on Xmas Day?) get into a rumble is kind of funny.
This being a 90 minute or so made for TV movie, it sort of makes sense that Kevin's conversion begins half way through it. Still, it would have been better if there was something likeable about the character to start with so you could sort of cheer for him and be happy about his realizing his many, many mistakes. Even when he does, he is not above a few dirty tricks and that makes it hard to root for him, especially since his ex-wife's new boyfriend is not a bad guy.
The movie runs out of steam pretty soon after that so viewers get about two minutes of Jay Mohr break dancing in the middle of the forest for some reason. So eighties. This is where you sort of start wishing the conversion would finally take place and the movie would end, especially since its point, although it should be obvious, is slowly getting lost. In fact, there is not really a conversion on Kevin's part more than an ability to manipulate events until he finally does something right and that is enough for his ex to dump her new beau.
Christmas Do Over is what it is: a very ordinary made for TV movie.