Pros:Cute, lightweight, Christmas-flavored rom-com entertainment. Safe/fun for the whole family.
Cons:The 'slower' viewers may have to take notes. Or have the kids explain it.
The Bottom Line: It’s not ‘Wonderful Life’ or ‘Miracle’. It will pleasantly engage you for 90 minutes. Bookend with The Family Man for an entertaining evening. But save Comfort and Joy for last.
Recommend this product?
Lifetime cable network is currently in the midst of their 'Falalala Lifetime movie marathon' for the holiday season. If you need your first light dose(s) of holiday schmaltz/cheer ...flip the channel over to Lifetime. (Can I use 'schmaltz' to describe a Christmas-time movie..?? Is that kosher..??)
Jane (Nancy McKeon) is a yuppie career businesswoman, too busy enjoying the perks of her VP position for a family life. And her boyfriend ...what a jerk. Flirting with other women right in front of her, taking business calls on his Bluetooth, refusing to turn it off for her while they dine out. I know he is screwing around behind her back. Scumbucket.
On Christmas Eve she slides her car on a snowy street and crashes. Coming to, she finds her husband(!!) opening the door and helping her out of the car. She has crashed right in front of their house. Well, his house. No ...their house.
Husband, house, two kids . . .everything but a dog..!! What is this strange world she now lives in..??
Of course, she immediately tries to touch bases with the people in her 'old' life. Her secretary at work knows her ...but not in the same situation she remembers. Her boss at work has no idea who she is, certainly not as one of his VPs. Someone else is living in her apartment.
Luckily her parents still remember her. Veteran character actor Paul Dooley and TV-veteran Dixie Carter (best remembered as Julia Sugarbaker / Designing Women) are delightful in limited roles. Though they do little to help Jane adjust to her new life.
Will Jane ever accept what has somehow happened..?? Will she ever recapture the ten years she has apparently lost..?? Will her husband Sam (Steven Eckholdt) worm his way back into her heart..?? Will her kids find the Mom they know and love inside this now-amnesiac mom..??
Hey, it is a Lifetime movie. You get three guesses ...the first two do not count.
While browsing a bit on the Intertubes (nailing down characters/actors) I see that some reviewers at other sites were confused by the plot. Come on peeps, put your thinking caps on. Trust me dear reader, you will be able to figure it out. If not, ask any kid watching it with you to help you through it.
The other thought I saw commonly expressed compared Comfort and Joy with The Family Man. Geezus ...they must let anyone write a review online.
I know The Family Man ...I have seen The Family Man several times, I have reviewed The Family Man here ...you, Comfort and Joy is no Family Man. Sure both feature characters trapped in lives not of their choosing. Sure both feature learning to love again by one partner or the other. Sure both feature characters warming to their new lives. But...
The Family Man is a movie with a cold, hard, ultimately unsatisfying ending ...at least to this viewer. The Family Man left me ...empty, as all we had just seen was simply imagined, "an undigested bit of beef, a blot of mustard" as Dickens once said of a similar confused situation.
While Comfort and Joy is a movie of promise, of a future yet to be lived, of characters embracing a present and a future already seen, anticipated, and yearned for whole-heartedly.
The Bottom Line
Hey, it is on the Lifetime channel. Among a plethora of Christmas films Comfort and Joy is but another lightweight entry. It is not one of the must-sees that you count on one hand.
Comfort and Joy is a film that will fill a spot in your family vault of shared moments. It may not be as memorable as that time the cat toppled the Christmas tree or the year Uncle Billy came to Christmas dinner drunk . . .but Comfort and Joy will give you a smile or two and prime you for the remainder of the holiday season.
Certified 'lean-n-mean' review.
Check out the 2009 write-off here: Lean-n-Mean VIII
Also check out user chelledun's Get those Holiday Reviews Out write-off