Only Dolly Parton, the pre-eminent country music star of our generation, could bring our divided country together in an over-the-top mind-bogglingly improbable holiday special that can only be described as A Christmas Carol meets Touched By an Angel as adapted by a fabulous campy frustrated high school theater teacher. It’s horribly magnificent. What’s the plot? It doesn’t matter, because Debbie Allen choreographed a corps of dancing men (!), and Dolly is covered in sequins and floating on a glowing CGI cloud as the Ghost of Christmas (!), haunting a pitch-perfect Christine Baranski’s character Regina Fuller into being a better person. Apparently Fuller wants to sell the town square to a mall blah, blah, but THAT’S NOT IMPORTANT because she’s in love with Carl (a heartwarming Treat Williams), but keeps messing it up! Meanwhile, Fuller gets to sing a belty duet with her sassy best Black friend Margeline (Jenifer Lewis), and just when you realize she might be a broad stereotype, an adorable child (Selah Kimbro Jones as Violet) makes you cry through the power of song. Josh Segarra plays a stiff Pastor Mc Dreamy—I mean Pastor Christian—who is remarkably nonplussed when his congregation sings about murder, and Jeanine Mason hits that treacly Wholesome™ note as Dolly’s deputy angel Felicity. There’s some nonsense about a lamp, an IVF storyline, a dark left turn in the plot, not too much religion, and overall it’s just a lovely hot mess, perfect for the whole family to watch, while sipping a mug of eggnog with an extra shot of rum.
Dolly Parton’s Christmas on the Square
1 hour 38 min