The McCourt family’s “Angela’s Ashes” brand finally produces one offshoot too many with the animated sequel, “Angela’s Christmas Wish.” It’s an inferior and longer follow-up to “Angela’s Christmas” of a few years back, with a little sentiment but barely enough warmth to be worth the bother.
Still, if your kids are into wee children with wee brogues, it’s only 47 minutes of TV-worthy (far short of feature film) animation. They’ll have time left over to watch “Angela’s Christmas” all over again.
What’s missing is the charming voice-over narration of Malachy McCourt, brother to family memoirist Frank McCourt, who told the story of their mother’s hard Irish upbringing in “Angela’s Ashes.” Malachy provided the twinkle and context in the first film, about their mother’s infatuation with the baby Jesus doll in their local church’s Nativity scene (creche).
“Angela’s Christmas Wish” is set after their father goes off to Australia “for work,” and mother (voiced by Ruth Negga) has to keep spirits up for the holidays two long years later.
Angela’s (Lucy O’Connell) still talking to Baby Jesus, and making wishes. But to make this Big Wish come true — getting Da’ home for Christmas — she’ll need bother Pat (Brendan Mullins) to pitch in. I mean, a girl can’t dig all the way to Australia by herself — in winter, no less.
The story’s got a couple of things Angela wants to happen, the one closer to home being that neighbor McGinty’s new calf survive the holidays. A visit from the vet (Jared Harris) would make all the difference. But he can’t be persuaded. Perhaps his daughter Dorothy (Lola Metcalfe) can use her influence.
The shenanigans this time include attempts to book passage — or stow-away — on a departing ship (World War I, underway in 1915, impacted Ireland indirectly and is never mentioned).
There are songs, as the kids try to earn money singing for the men down t’the pub, and there’s a bit of lump in the throat sentiment for the finale. The funny stuff isn’t as funny, the cute moments not cute at all, and the humor?
Not enough, alas. The animation seems malnourished even if the kids don’t, and the laughs are inbshort supply.
You’re better off re-watching the first film, to be Frank. Or Malachy.
MPA Rating: TV-Y
Cast: The voices Lucy O’Connell, Ruth Negga, Lola Metcalfe, Brendan Mullins and Jared Harris.
Credits: Scripted and directed by Damien O’Connor. A Brown Bag Films production, for Netflix.
Running time: :47