The producers of "All I want For Christmas" apparently wanted to do their version of "The Miracle on 34th Street," but they don't quite make it.
This is primarily because the two lead characters, a brother and sister who want to see their divorced parents reunited, are more obnoxious than they are likable.
Natalie Wood was likable, even adorable, as the little girl who wanted a home of her own in "Miracle on 34th Street."
The 7-year-old girl in "All I want for Christmas" is almost nasty. She is not only uncivil to the man who hopes to marry her mother, she is mean enough to lock the man in a refrigeration truck.
Her brother helps her in this scheme, which is supposed to be funny but isn't.
Lauren Bacall and Leslie Nielsen are in the new movie. Bacall plays the grandmother of the two children. She has a line or two that are supposed to be funny but aren't. It isn't her fault. They wouldn't work if Milton Berle were doing them.
Nielsen plays the department-store Santa Claus to whom the little girl makes her appeal.
Ethan Randall ("Dutch") plays the 13-year-old boy, and he, at least, is more likable than the girl.
"All I Want For Christmas" works hard to be cute, but it isn't.
The film is only mildly diverting, and this is mostly when the little girl isn't around.
Harley Jane Kozak and Jamey Sheridan play the parents, and
Kevin Nealon is the unlucky suitor.
"All I Want for Christmas"
* A 13-year-old boy and his 7-year-old sister want one thing for Christmas, the reunion of their divorced parents.
CAST: Harley Jane Kozak, Jamey Sheridan, Ethan Randall, Kevin Nealon, Thora Birch, Leslie Nielsen, Lauren Bacall
DIRECTOR: Robert Lieberman
( RUNNING TIME: 95 minutes