Many holiday films tangle around the naughty vs. nice theme. Throw in a bit of family struggles right before the holidays, a love interest and it’s a trifecta. So it is with Christmas in the City. When she discovers her family candy store struggling, Wendy (Ashley Williams) and her six-year-old daughter Grace move to the city where an old friend (scene-stealer Shanola Hampton) offers her a job in the toy department of Wolmans. She plans to save money to help her mom save the store back home. However she runs into interference from the store’s new consultant, Teanna, (Ashanti) who doesn’t appreciate Wendy’s do-gooder, cheerful attitude. It gets in the way of her grand scheming.
As Teanna, Ashanti’s delightfully cutthroat, conniving, bold and direct. She implements unconventional changes for the holiday like pink Christmas trees and hunky male underwear models. She also makes unpopular cutbacks. Ashley Williams portrays Wendy in a sugary sweet manner. Grateful for everything. Surprised by everything. When she and Tom Wolman (Jon Prescott) fall for each other it’s not a shock at all. I’m not sure what city they’re in but it seems small. Are they in Canada? Maybe. She’s been raising daughter and running her father’s candy shop. That’s not exactly living in the fast track. Of course the store Santa turns out to be very mysterious and knows more about Wendy than expected. Shanola Hampton has all the fun in this film. She performs Christmas songs in the store. She’s spirited and optimistic. Overall, this is a cutesy, predictable happy happy Lifetime film.
Christmas in the City airs on Lifetime on Saturday, December 7 at 8pm.