There’s something to be said for a song that has garnered 340 million views on YouTube. After selling 14 million copies of the song, and publishing a picture book based on the rollicking pop tune, Mariah Carey set her sights on bringing that song to life on screen.
“That song” is, of course, Carey’s iconic “All I Want for Christmas is You,” which has been transformed this holiday season into an animated feature film narrated by the singer (who also serves as executive producer).
Available on DVD, Blu-ray and On Demand, the CGI-animated feature tells the story of a little girl named Mariah (voiced by Breanna Yde) who pines for “the most perfect” Christmas gift: An adorable Poochon pup which she plans to name “Princess,” if she can convince her parents to approve the purchase.
Mariah’s family life is rather idyllic: goofy but loving parents (voiced by Lacey Chabert and Phil Morris); little pesky brother Brett (voiced by Issac Ryan Brown) and adoring little sister Beth (voiced by Bria Singleton); Grandpa Bill (voiced by Henry Winkler); and Grandma Lucy (voiced by Connie Jackson). The family dynamic is strong and nurturing, with plenty of humor and humorous antics that kiddies will find quite familiar.
It’s all storybook perfect, complete with a plot that takes little Mariah on a journey of self-discovery she never expected. In order for her to gain ownership of Princess, she must prove to her family that she can take on the responsibilities of pet ownership. This involves looking after her uncle’s mischievous but adorable Jack Russell terrier pup while he’s away. (In real life, Carey has owned several terriers, so immortalizing the breed in the movie is no surprise).
The feisty pup is named Jack, and over the course of 91 minutes Jack will wreak playful havoc on everyone in sight, most notably Mariah, who initially sees him as her ticket to Princess. But just as in any animated feature worth its weight in “message movie,” there will be a crisis and a change of heart. For in the end, as Mariah the Narrator says, “You don’t have to be perfect, because love is.” All of this is meant to be warm and fuzzy, and like any good Hallmark made-for-TV holiday movie, it hits the mark.
Along the way, we’re also treated to a running gag between Grandpa Bill and a neighbor over how much is too much when it comes to Christmas lawn decorations. (Fleeting snippets of “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation” came to mind.) And there’s also a sub-story about a girl-dog fashion show that really doesn’t need to be part of the overall mix. But all of it meshes as a showcase for the iconic title tune and two more Carey holiday hits, “Miss You Most (At Christmas Time)” and “Christmas Time Is in The Air,” along with several other jingle-belled tunes (all of course available on a film soundtrack album).
And while the background animation falls flat, the movie, directed by Guy Vasilovich (“Lego Star Wars”) and featuring a screenplay by Temple Mathews (“The Little Mermaid 2: Return to the Sea,”), is as sparkly as the twinkling lights on a Christmas tree.
Universal 1440 presentsa film directed by Guy Vasilovich and written by Temple Mathews. Rated G. Running time: 91 minutes. Available on DVD, Blu-ray and On Demand