Candy Cane Lane

Director Reginald Hudlin’s Christmas film Candy Cane Lane stars two well-known actors as a married couple, Chris Carver (Eddie Murphy) and Carol (Tracee Ellis Ross). The screenplay by Kelly Younger features them as having three children, and Chris is passionate about the holidays. He handcrafts decorations for the home exterior. All the homeowners on Candy Cane Lane enjoy decorating and the competition to win the best décor in the neighborhood. Despite his best efforts in the past, he comes in second to Bruce (Ken Marino), who he superficially likes for several reasons.

Their children include two in high school and one in elementary school. They admire their father’s passion for decorating but want to avoid following in his footsteps. Joy (Genneya Walton) has her sights set on going away to college in the coming months. Their son Nick (Thaddeus J. Mixson) is in the school band with music as a career, contrary to his parents’ ideas. Their youngest, Holly (Madison Thomas), loves the holidays and hanging out with her father to decorate. He does not communicate all the truth to the family. They must be made aware of changes coming after Chris experiences a shift at work. Nor do they know that is a reason for a change in their father’s behavior – even more radical about decorating and winning the annual contest.

His goal blinds him, so he does not take Holly to school; instead, they search for inspiration and decorations. They stop at an isolated/independent store dedicated to everything Christmas. Greeted by the manager, Pepper (Jillian Bell), she is strangely eager to sell the wares and to have him sign a receipt that appears to be the length of a ream of register tape. Chris unthinkingly signs without bothering to read the fine print that is about to change the family’s life.

The holiday story takes a turn for a fantasy/nightmare with enough to remain in the PG rating. The change begins after Chris takes home the massive load of items he bought. He thinks vandalism at first by those who don’t want him to win. He discovers it is quite something else when the great purchase rapidly haunts him and the family.

Among the great performers are Murphy and Ross and Jillian Bell, who does a fabulous job portraying the disgruntled individual behind a smile. In addition, two local news anchors, played by Danielle Pinnock and Timothy Simmons, are exceptional as they provide on-air coverage of the decorating contest. I certainly want to view them in their other comedic works. I can’t fail to mention the great voice actors for the people who live in the Christmas villages in Pepper’s store, Nick Offerman, Chris Redd and Robin Thede. They have some fun dialogue that brings some good humor to the story.

Rated PG, runtime 1 hour 57 minutes and release date: Friday, December 1 (Prime Video)

Producer: Ron Howard, Brian Grazer, Eddie Murphy, Karen Lunder, Charisse M. Hewitt

Source: Distributor: Amazon Studios

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