Leonard Cohen: Bird on a Wire
Palmer's film is that rare concert doc that isn't for established fans only.
“Pleasantville” is a movie about a bland 1950s world in which lives go around in circles, until time travelers break in with the virus of change. Some writers have attacked the movie, arguing that things were better in the 1950s than they are now. They might enjoy “I'll Be Home for Christmas,” an exercise in cinematic Ovaltine.
The movie takes place in the present, I guess, but it feels like a 1950s sitcom. The characters have much in common with old (not new) Archie and Jughead comics. The soundtrack includes Gene Autry tunes, not selected for ironic purposes. It's the kind of movie that just misses a G rating and gets slapped with a PG for rudeness.
Oh, it'll have its fans. The star is Jonathan Taylor Thomas, from TV's “Home Improvement,” who is an immensely likable actor. But even his easy grin seems to weary a little by the later stretches of the film, which is unrelentingly corny.
The plot: Thomas plays Jake, a student at Palisades University, a campus on the Pacific coast that, in this film, looks like a high school where Our Miss Brooks would still be on the faculty. His dad has sent him a ticket to fly home to Larchmont, N.Y., for Christmas, but his devious plan is to cash it in for two tickets to a beach resort and persuade his girlfriend Allie (Jessica Biel) to go along. Then Jake's dad bribes him with a restored '57 Porsche if he'll come home for Christmas.