If tickets to this yuletide dreck are hiding in your stocking, you'd be better off with a lump of coal. Nancy (Gabrielle Union) is a mother of three—John-John (Malik Hammond), Mikey (Jeremy Gumbs) and Emily (Khail Bryant)—who's so desperate to find a good man after rapper ex-husband J-Jizzy (Chappelle’s Show hanger-on Charlie Murphy) left her for the luxe life of limos, chains, and ice that her daughter asks a mall Santa for help. Luckily, under the beard and fat suit is hunky Benjamin (Morris Chestnut), a wannabe R&B crooner who looks so perfect in a turtleneck and white cap, he could move in to Barbie's Dream House. The two lonely hearts track each other down as Benjamin thinks Nancy's cute, too—though apparently not cute enough to face down all four-and-a-half feet of her protective oldest son or tell her his real job, as he thinks admitting to be a traveling office supplies salesman will make him sound so dull she'll dump him ASAP.
On this moronically good-natured flick's intractable trek toward a twinkly, glittery happy ending, Terrence Howard and Queen Latifah whiz through the sugar cookie cutout plot in brief cameos that could have been scripted and shot in an afternoon (the highlight of which is Oscar nominee Howard being forced to declare "I wanna go dookie."). The film's only surprise pleasure is Murphy's P. Diddy/Jay-Z gangsta grinch, who along with droll manager Katt Williams lays down club-bangers like "I Love Ho Ho Hos" and "I Saw Momma Capping Santa Claus," accompanied by a music video of himself in ankle-length fur riding a sports car sleigh pulled by four bimbo reindeer. As Jay-Z once stabbed writer/director Rivera in a club, tying his likeness to this mess is the perfect revenge.
Cast: Gabrielle Union, Morris Chestnut, Queen Latifah, Terrence Howard, Charlie Murphy and Katt Williams
Director: Lance Rivera
Screenwriters: Mark Calixte and Lance Rivera
Producers: Shakim Compere, Leifur B. Dagfinnsson, Mike Elliott, Joseph P. Genier, Queen Latifah, Marvin Pearlt and Lance Rivera
Genre: Family comedy
Rating: PG for brief language and some suggestive humor
Running time: 96 min.
Release date: December 12, 2007