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Candy Cane Lane

Candy Cane Lane

Eddie Murphy stars in this holiday film that struggles to stand out in a highly predictable genre.

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I'm a big fan of Christmas movies, but that doesn't change the fact that I also see them for what they are. Generally speaking, it seems like production companies ease up and let quality fall to the wayside, so long as the film has festive and merry elements. Prime Video's Candy Cane Lane is another prime offender in this regard. Because while you may see Eddie Murphy's name attached to this film, his presence, talent and comedic ability are incapable of saving this film from being a generic holiday film like we have seen countless times before.

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The plot of Candy Cane Lane revolves around Murphy's Chris, a husband and father who every Christmas time finds himself in a cutthroat battle with his neighbours to win the annual best decorated house award. While this was formerly just a silly neighbourhood social event, this year has seen the event gaining sponsorship and TV network coverage, and also a meaty $100,000 prize for the winner. This has led to the neighbours upping their efforts and attracted Chris to a Christmas pop-up shop, where he meets the mischievous elf, Pepper, who tricks Chris into signing away his freedom in return for a prize-winning slate of decorations. To save himself, Chris and his family must overcome the 12 Days of Christmas, who have magically come to life, in an effort of activating the release clause of Pepper's contract before time runs out.

The premise of the film has potential. It's not exactly a fresh or unique holiday film, but it does have elements that allow it to stand out. The main issue is that this film feels rather hollow in a narrative sense. Despite the time constraint on Chris and his family, there's no real sense of urgency until the final moments. Add to this the fact that the narrative lacks elegance in how it approaches character development. Coincidence is a massive driving force in Candy Cane Lane, which often takes the gravity out of key moments because there is no explanation to them at all. If anything, the whole idea of a Christmas miracle makes up about 90% of this movie's plot armour.

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Candy Cane Lane

Talking more about the characters, Candy Cane Lane really does struggle to make any character beside Chris feel any kind of interesting. The family members never come across as deep and well thought out figures, and Pepper seems to simply be a version of the Grinch, who is just mischievous for the sake of being mischievous. I'd go as far as saying that the living porcelain figure characters are some of the most interesting characters in the entire film, which pretty much says it all.

Also, despite the entire plot of Candy Cane Lane being rather silly and flamboyant, the movie wants to be as grounded as possible. Nothing ever really happens that leaves you surprised or wowed. The film just proceeds at a steady and safe pace, which makes it feel a little flat and too predictable. Considering how saturated the holiday film genre has become, movies need to be more than unapologetically basic, but Candy Cane Lane seems to have no intention to do that.

But, what I will say is that Candy Cane Lane is an easy watch. For anyone looking for a new holiday film, perhaps something to replace watching A Christmas Carol or Klaus on Christmas afternoon for the umpteenth year straight, this is an ideal film to put on while you relax with family, and munch on mince pies and hot chocolate. Essentially, it's the same deal as pretty much every holiday movie that has ever been made.

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05 Gamereactor UK
5 / 10
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Candy Cane Lane

Candy Cane Lane

MOVIE REVIEW. Written by Ben Lyons

Eddie Murphy stars in this holiday film that struggles to stand out in a highly predictable genre.



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