REVIEW: Coal > “Candy Cane Lane”

Was there a bigger comedic superstar in the late 20th century than Eddie Murphy? Saturday Night Live, Beverly Hills Cop, Trading Places—even the earliest days of the 21st gave us his iconic turn as a magical talking CGI ass. 

And then he just kind of… disappeared. Then, in 2021 Amazon evidently thought it was high time that he had a career resurgence with Coming 2 America, a sequel that no one was really asking for and, if the various review aggregate websites are to believed, most people didn’t particularly care for. 

Now, the Amazon Eddie Murphy meh-naissance continues with Candy Cane Lane, a truly forgetable holiday film that is uneven, mostly unfunny, and a bunch of other not-great “un” words. 

It takes what feels like a half hour for Candy Cane Lane to settle into its plot—that of a wish gone awry, a vengeful elf, and the Twelve Days of Christmas brought to life. By the time they actually got to things I was already bored, wishing that the movie had instead focused on one of the many other aspects of the plot that turned out to be backstory rather than the actual meat of the film. And then it keeps on going for another hour and a half. 

At the very least I was hoping for Eddie Murphy to say or do something funny, a hope that goes mostly unfulfilled as the two hours dragged on and on (although I must say that it was nice to see him give a more understated performance and that he pulls off the dad roll quite well). 

Jillian Bell, who plays the aforementioned vengeful elf, is the only person that is consistently amusing, as is Timothy Simons in his bit part of a jaded newscaster. 

Sure, others try to make you laugh, but it just doesn’t work most of the time, as the writers and actors often seemed to confuse being loud with being funny. 

The group of sentient miniature porcelain figures is particularly insufferable, their only actually amusing quality being the novelty of hearing Nick Offerman speak with a British accent. 

Sometimes Candy Cane Lane is a corny family drama as Murphy’s character grapples with his kids growing up and having thoroughly cliché and uninteresting kid problems. Sometimes it’s a wacky find-the-MacGuffin treasure hunt. It’s about not envying others, it’s about family, it’s about spreading Christmas joy, it’s about everything, which kind of dilutes the messages and meaning. 

Hallmark Christmas films may be a dime-a-dozen and they may be as equally as forgettable, but at least they have an endearing kind of cheese that makes some people feel the holiday spirit. Candy Cane Lane is as corporate and algorithmic as you can get; just like the porcelain figurines in this film seem to mistake volume with humor, the makers of Candy Cane Lane seemed to believe that stuffing their movie full of pretty lights and classic Christmas songs is the same as filling it with genuine heart. 

If you’re looking for some holiday fun this season I recommend looking elsewhere. 

Candy Cane Lane is on Amazon Prime. 

Article written by TJ Reid

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