Starring: Kirk Cameron, Darren Doane, Bridgette Cameron
Directed by: Darren Doane (“42K”)
Written by: Darren Doane (“42K”) and Cheston Harvey (debut)
Kirk Cameron has an agenda, and it might not be what you think it is. Sure, the former teen heartthrob from TV’s “Growing Pains” is an outspoken evangelical Christian, therefore you might think Cameron’s goal is proselytize, using his one-time super fame as leverage, which he does plenty of. And before you demonize me, don’t think I’m dismissing the man’s religious convictions. I do not share his beliefs, but mostly I just don’t have a horse in the race. No, Kirk Cameron’s real agenda is lighting a fire under his fellow evangelical Christians, convincing them that their faith is somehow under attack at all times, be it from within from Christians losing their way or (especially) from the outside, via the entirely fabricated nonsense like the “War on Christmas.” Business is booming for faith-based entertainment, and nothing gets Christian fannies in the seats better than alleging you’re offering something that reaffirms the beliefs they already hold that supposedly the people in charge don’t want you to see. Cameron’s true agenda is to make sure the artificial wedge between Christians and the bogeyman liberal agenda PC police stays firmly in place so he can continue wringing money out of that market.
All promotional material for “Kirk Cameron’s Saving Christmas” heavily implied another straw man take on the “War on Christmas,” with Cameron swooping in to save the holiday from those who seek to remove all things Christ from the nation’s by far most popular holiday. Cameron repeats this message in a tacked-on prologue before the movie starts again to feature none of that, instead focusing on a fictionalized Cameron family Christmas party being held at Kirk’s sister’s house. Ever the master of ceremonies, Kirk realizes during the merriment of passing out punch that the man of the house, Christian (director Darren Doane), is nowhere to be found. When Cameron asks his sister (real-life sister Bridgette Cameron) about Christian’s absence, she lets him know that all the modern aspects of Christmas today have Christian feeling down and convinced that this just isn’t the way to be celebrating the birth of Christ. Enter Kirk Cameron to lecture Christian (get it?) on how every aspect of Christmas—even Santa Claus—is connected to Christ in some fashion.
Let me reiterate: I don’t have any problem with the message here. If one Christian wants to educate another Christian on the biblical significance of everything from the Christmas tree to wrapped presents being representative of the skyline of New Jerusalem, I don’t have a problem with that (sure, I’m a little miffed at the straw man bait-and-switch, but I’ll live), but certainly even the most faithful of Christians will have to recognize how agonizingly padded and slow this movie is. Cameron and Doane interact with little editing, with every syllable and pause in their back and forth testing patience at every turn. Random comic relief pops up between two bit players who rattle off conspiracy theories for a few minutes, then disappear so the lecture can continue. There is what must be a 7-minute dance sequence wherein the whole party takes turns break-dancing in front of a Christmas tree, and there are 10 minutes of credits stuffed with outtakes and bloopers that just barely stretch the runtime to an hour and 20 minutes. Considering there is maybe 30 minutes of actual material throughout, it’ll be a Christmas miracle if anyone leaves this movie satisfied.