Help for the Holidays (2012)


It’s Summer Glau as the cutest elf ever created. As her future husband and father of her children, I have to support my gal. It’s only logical.

You say delusional, I say hopeful. I guess other people star in this movie, too, but Summer Glau stars as optimistic elf Christine, one of Santa’s most important elves who dreams of another world where Christmas isn’t the focus of every day. Christine gets her wish when Santa gets an alert that there’s a family that has lost their Christmas spirit and is in need of some fun and love. Christine is sent as an agent in to a small town to help mom Sara VanCamp (Eva LaRue), a local store owner, re-claim her spirit and discover how much she’s missing of her children. Christine’s journey is of course the one that matters in the film, as she figures out the real world is much more difficult than she ever realized and every choice she makes with the new assignment has their consequence.

Meanwhile, the family’s cool Uncle Dave takes a liking to Christine and her infectious optimism and enthusiasm, while Christine learns what romance eventually is and how it can help improve the holidays. While “Help for the Holidays” is pretty derivative of “Elf,” Bradford Mays’ film is less about comedy and more family bonding and love. Particularly it’s about Christine’s own exploration of humanity and her realization that it’s much more complex than she’s ever thought, which is an interesting flip on the kids who wonder what life is like in the North Pole plot. Christine’s adventures in human civilization make for cute but not over the top moments that Glau manages to sell with her huge eyes and gentle whisper.

She finds out what a hot dog is, she learns how to handle American currency, and she confronts a snobby dance teacher with a pretty slick comment about her weight issues. There’s also her romance with the family’s uncle which is never as overbearing or trite as most Hallmark movies tend to be. It’s pretty much a no brainer that Christine would win over people, and eventually men, but their love is played for smiles and less for eye rolls. The conflict involving the VanCamp family is simple and often times sad as Christine struggles to fit in with society unaware she may be taking the place of the family’s parents, whom spend most of their time working.

Glau has a good dynamic with the supporting characters and Christine’s own journey to give the children their own wishes for Christmas that involve approval from their parents and family unity ends in a rather heartbreaking reunion, along with a very solid transformation from Christine as a character and heroine. Glau really steals the film away with her performance, and keeps “Help for the Holidays” an exception from my yearly avoidance of Hallmark movies. While derivative of “Elf,” Bradford Mays “Help for the Holidays” is a simple and cute Christmas film with the infinitely adorable Summer Glau, who steals the entire film as the lovable elf Christine Prancer.