by Charles Kirkland Jr.
Eddie Murphy dives into a real Christmas movie with the help of a few friends in the
action/comedy/holiday film, Candy Cane Lane.
Chris Carver (Eddie Murphy) has a great life. He has three smart children and wonderful wife and super
competitive neighbors. Each year, his neighbor across the street wins the annual Candy Cane Lane
Christmas decorating contest when covers his lawn with gaudy inflatables while Chris’ hand-crafted
wood-workings go unnoticed and unappreciated. With a special motivation, Chris and his youngest
daughter go to a mysterious holiday store named Kringle’s to find decorations that will ensure the win
for the year. Word to the wise though, always read the fine print because Chris is suddenly launched
into a quest that could change Christmas for his family forever.
Candy Cane Lane is written by Kelly Younger (Muppets Christmas Carol). Elizabeth Ripper and Thomas
Dam. It stars Eddie Murphy as Chris, Tracie Ellis Ross, Jillian Bell, Thaddeus J. Mixon, Genneya Walton,
Madison Thomas, Chris Redd, Robin Thede, Nick Offerman and David Alan Grier. The film reunites
Murphy with director Reginald Hudlin who he worked together with on Boomerang.
At first blush, meaning its trailer, Candy Cane Lane seems like a run-of-the-mill Christmas dud. However,
the film has a heart and communicates a special story about its idea about the true meaning of Christmas.
After a joke at the sake of the Christian roots for the holiday, Lane goes on to forge a story about family,
unity, and at the same time self-development.
Everyone in the Carver family seems to be doing alright in their lives but soon we see that
much of it is a façade. The family sheds their disguises and comes clean with the truth and they
deal with it together. This is an important theme in this time of social media fakeness and
holiday depression. Beyond these wonderfully executed themes of family reconciliation, is a
fantastically and deviously magical tale of the dangers of wishes and misbegotten desire.
The chemistry between the entire family, not just Murphy and Ross is fantastic. The parents love their
children, the children respect their parents. The family is doing reasonably well. Once upon a time, there was The Cosby Show, a black, loving, successful family that was reasonably kind to each other, when it was
considered unrealistic. Yet here they are and it doesn’t seem so far-fetched. The other characters in the
film seem to have the same amount of great chemistry between them. This cast of mostly comedians
works together extremely well.
This is most likely attributed to director Reginald Hudlin. Like Phil Jackson, Hudlin allows the actors the
freedom to create and enliven each scene comically in a way that is authentic and organic. Instead of
focusing on the talents of Murphy alone, Hudlin gives each person the opportunity to shine in their
performances and endear themselves to the audience.
Rated PG for language throughout and some suggestive references, Candy Cane Lane is a comedy adventure Christmas movie that has the potential to be a Christmas classic in the way that The Santa Claus and Jingle All The Way are. It’s just good family fun that teaches the sum of all the parts is greater than the whole and that all that glitters is not gold.
Available on Amazon Prime and in select theaters on December 1.