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Prime Video spared no expense with their new original Christmas comedy film Candy Cane Lane. Featuring an impressive cast that includes Eddie Murphy, Tracee Ellis Ross, Jillian Bell, Chris Redd, Nick Offerman, Robin Thede, and David Alan Grier, this movie is pulling out all the stops to earn its spot on your holiday streaming list. So does Candy Cane Lane shine, or does it get a little too hot and burn out before it can reach its true potential? Keep reading to find out!

The Gist: Chris and (Eddie Murphy) Carol Carver (Tracee Ellis Ross) met and fell in love as students at the University of Southern California and have since built a lovely life and home together in El Segundo, California on Candy Cane Lane. There, they live with their aspiring college athlete eldest child, Joy (Genneya Walton), music-loving son Nick (Thaddeus J. Mixson), and Christmas enthusiast youngest daughter, Holly (Madison Thomas). Their lives seem to be going great, until Chris gets laid off from his sales job right before Christmas, making him desperate to win the annual Candy Cane Lane Christmas home decoration contest, which this year is sponsored to give out a grand prize worth $100,000.

Chris’s newfound free time allows him to focus on preparing for the competition, but when all the decorations are sold out at his local Target, he and Holly end up at a “pop-up store” that’s situated beneath a highway called Kringle’s, where they’re the only two patrons, which isn’t suspicious at allll. They’re helped by a slightly scary employee named Pepper (Jillian Bell) who turns out to be a mischievous former elf of Santa’s that tricks Chris into signing his life away (you gotta read the fine print, people) by selling him decorations to ensure that he will win the Candy Cane Lane Spectacular this year.

Now, Chris must race against the clock to collect Pepper’s desired number of rings in order to stop the now-alive Twelve Days of Christmas animals and characters from destroying his town, as well as keep from turning into a figure that will be doomed to live in Pepper’s constructed miniature village forever.

'Candy Cane Lane'
Photo: Claudette Barius

What Movies Will It Remind You Of?: The whole quest to collect rings weirdly reminded me of Sonic the Hedgehog, and then outside of that, Candy Cane Lane taps into so many different ideas and themes it got a bit too hard to narrow it down to any one thing.

Performance Worth Watching: Even though it was mostly just a vocal performance, Chris Redd delivers a very funny and charismatic performance as Lamplighter Gary.

Memorable Dialogue: “I’ve been eating nothing but chestnuts for ten years. I’m right clogged up!”

A Holiday Tradition: This movie’s big tradition is the annual “Candy Cane Lane Spectacular” neighborhood Christmas home decoration contest that crowns its winner every year on Christmas Eve.

Candy Cane Lane
Photo: Claudette Barius

Does the Title Make Any Sense?: Sure! Candy Cane Lane is where most of the major action takes place, after all.

Our Take: I wanted to like Candy Cane Lane, but its latter half unfortunately sent it off the rails, especially a wild, busy, and muddled third act that concluded all too conveniently to be truly satisfying. Some moments of the movie were truly funny and enjoyable, and in general, the movie was bolstered by solid acting and very impressive sets (seriously, the budget must’ve been unlimited),but there was just so much going on that the good parts started to get drowned out.

Candy Cane Lane combines so many genres (horror, comedy, sports, action, family, musicals, and romance, just to name a few) and ideas that it just seemed to stop knowing what it was at all, flexing its (what I assume to be a) gargantuan budget to try to cover up the cracks and be everything Christmas all at once.

The obviously large amount of money that was spent on Candy Cane Lane also backfired in that it sort of sucked the soul out of the film by the end, covering up narrative holes with mounds of bright lights, confusing battles, and lots of random stuff: eggs falling from the sky, a deus ex machina arrival of Santa Claus (David Alan Grier), a UNC track and field scout just happening to be on Candy Cane Lane and impressed with Joy’s running away from a Christmas apocalypse. Some of its heart was also lost by the movie feeling so self-aware as a holiday film it went from clever and entertaining to feeling a little gross. But hey maybe this is one big meta-critique on how too much consumerism can kill a good thing? I guess that’s for us to decide.

Our Call: SKIP IT. Much like the song, “The Twelve Days of Christmas,” Candy Cane Lane starts fun and jolly but eventually grows a bit too complicated and a little too long, leaving you waiting for it all to end.

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