'Dolly Parton's Christmas On The Square' Is, Well, A Very Quirky Holiday Musical

Gossip & Rumors:
‘Dolly Parton’s Christmas On The Sq.’ Is, Properly, A Very Quirky Vacation Musical

Each second is Dolly Parton’s second, however it’s by no means been extra true than this week. She’s not solely funding the event of a brand new COVID-19 vaccine, she’s dropping a Christmas film musical ― which she co-produced, composed, and performs in ― on Netflix to maintain us all entertained by a lonely, chilly vacation season. Dolly, thanks.

However is “Dolly Parton’s Christmas on the Sq.” any good? Three HuffPost reporters are right here to inform you all about it. 

The Backside Line

Premiering Sunday, “Christmas on the Sq.” assessments whether or not the holiday-TV-movie industrial advanced can deal with maximal musical-theater cheesiness. The outcomes are blended, to say the least. 

The Rundown


Claire Fallon: Dolly Parton isn’t any newcomer to vacation flicks, and final 12 months launched a Hallmark movie known as “Christmas at Dollywood,” so I assumed I knew what to anticipate from her newest, “Dolly Parton’s Christmas on the Sq..” Matt, Erin, I used to be fallacious. From the opening quantity, a jaunty ensemble efficiency set within the titular sq., I rapidly realized that what I used to be in for was slightly bit Hallmark, positive, but additionally slightly bit “Schitt’s Creek”-meets-Broadway.

The fundamental plot: Chilly-hearted Regina Fuller (Christine Baranski) has not too long ago inherited this charming city from her father and is serving eviction notices at Christmas in order that she will promote it to a mall conglomerate. The city’s pastor spearheads a resistance marketing campaign, whereas Dolly ― an angel who walks among the many townspeople disguised as a glamorously made-up panhandler ― tries to alter Regina’s coronary heart. What have been your preliminary impressions?

Matthew Jacobs: I noticed “Christmas on the Sq.” would defy all assumptions on the first sight of Dolly’s mildly smeared eyeliner, tattered grey outerwear and stringy bangs. Singing a ballad concerning the haves and have-nots, she seems to be green-screened into the aforementioned sq., probably as a result of Dolly Parton doesn’t go anyplace with out flattering lighting tools — even when she is meant to look homeless. It’s the primary of many, many, many issues on this film that make little sense. The subsequent is Regina, a Trumpian spin on Ebenezer Scrooge, distributing eviction notices to kids.

Erin Evans: Earlier than hitting play, I knew I used to be gonna be in for a trip. Dolly Parton, Christine Baranski and Jenifer Lewis? Then, I discovered Debbie Allen, one in all my faves, was directing. So I used to be IN for all of the hijinks.


Now there’s rather a lot occurring in Fullerville, so I needed to sit for a second to reorient myself whereas watching this as a result of it very a lot provides you over-the-top TV-movie-musical vibes. And the storyline — a imply girl coming to a city to evict everyone within the de-ad of winter in Fullerville as a result of the Cheetah Mall conglomerate wished to construct a mall — simply was … rather a lot to digest. A mall, actually? On this financial system? Evictions, actually? I couldn’t assist however take into consideration the measly $1,200 Individuals acquired within the final eight months. You gotta push that each one away to attempt to get pleasure from a little bit of the quirkiness of this.

CF: Quirky is correct. I’ve by no means actually appreciated the film musical, and “Christmas on the Sq.” exemplifies the first motive: The digital camera brings the viewer proper onstage, the place we find yourself staring intently at broad emoting and ensemble dance numbers from a a lot nearer vantage level than the style was designed for. It’s … rather a lot?

MJ: It looks as if not one of the performers (other than Baranski and Lewis, who’re seasoned sufficient to outlive the script’s silliest impulses) realized they have been making a film and never a stage manufacturing. Everybody is working at an 11 when a 6 would have sufficed.

I believe what actually acquired me is how a lot story will get crammed into 98 minutes, largely defined by way of painfully expository track lyrics. Allen and Parton clearly need this city to be a quaint “Gilmore GIrls”-esque snow globe, however as a substitute, it simply appears like a bunch of playacting, which makes subplots about infertility, unrequited highschool sweethearts, sassy little one bartenders, a can-cer scare, teen being pregnant and one thing about an important lantern all of the extra awkward. 

EE: RIGHT. It’s undoubtedly not the sort of musical that works as background noise whilst you’re, say, washing the dishes. You actually have to concentrate as a result of … there are such a lot of twists and turns.

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