"Belle" Gets Coal In Its Stocking Review

Glenn Barrows (Dean Cain) is a father preparing his son Elliot (Jet Jurgensmeyer) and Phoebe (Meyrick Murphy) for the first Christmas without their mother. His new girlfriend Dani (Kristy Swanson), however, is more interested in Glenn’s money and his dead wife’s jewelry than Glenn or his kids. Their holidays take a turn for the better when Elliot and Phoebe fall in love with a sweet rescue puppy named Belle, and Glenn meets Kate (Haylie Duff), a pretty dog shelter volunteer.

Every year at Christmas time, Hallmark and Lifetime Channel release a whole bunch of new holiday specials. Typically, the plot hooks are cute animals at Christmas (Grumpy Cat’s Worst Christmas Ever), falling in love at Christmas (A Boyfriend for Christmas), or a family member dying at Christmas (The Christmas Shoes). A Belle for Christmas combines all of those plotlines together and throws in a bake-off and evil girlfriend who is coincidentally allergic to dogs. There are a few scenes that are so goofy that they fall into the so-bad-it’s-good category. Connor Berry, who plays Elliot’s friend Malcolm, is hilarious because his performance is so hammy and over-the-top that I expected a laugh track after most of his lines.

The biggest problem with A Belle for Christmas is the tone. There are animal antics and red velvet cakes to the face one minute and dealing with the death of a mother the next. Everything is very contrived and forced, and aside from Connor Berry, the kid actors are flat and not a lot of fun to watch. A Belle for Christmas isn’t the worst low-budget Christmas special, but there are so many better holiday movies that it isn’t worth the time or money on DVD.

DVD Bonus Features

There are no special features.

"A Belle for Christmas" is on sale November 4, 2014 and is rated PG. Directed by Jason Dallas. Written by Jake Helgren. Starring Dean Cain, Haylie Duff, Jet Jurgensmeyer, Kristy Swanson, Meyrick Murphy.

Rachel Kolb • Staff Writer

I love movies, writing, and breaking into song in public. You can follow me on Twitter @rachelekolb or check out more of my work at http://rachelekolb.wordpress.com.


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