on November 12, 2004 by Shlomo Schwartzberg
?? $2,ltzy as Christmas movies get, "Noel" is as counterfeit as spray-on snow. Set on Christmas Eve and continuing through Christmas day, the drama introduces us to a motley group of New Yorkers who hate their lives or circumstances. There's the long-suffering woman (Susan Sarandon) whose life has been reduced to taking care of her Alzheimer's afflicted mother. There's the insecure cop (Paul Walker) whose pathological jealousy jeopardizes his impending marriage to his fiancée (Penelope Cruz). And there's the old man (Alan Arkin) who insists the policeman is the reincarnation of his dead wife. All of them will learn a lesson this Christmas and become happier human beings in the process. Utterly devoid of genuine emotion or warmth, "Noel," which marks the directorial debut of actor Chazz Palminteri, is too sappy for words. Where's "Bad Santa" when you need him? Starring Susan Sarandon, Penelope Cruz, Paul Walker and Alan Arkin. Directed by Chazz Palminteri. Written by David Hubbard. Produced by Howard Rosenman, Al Corley, Bart Rosenblatt and Eugene Musso. A Neverland release. Drama. Unrated. Running time: 96 min
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