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Review: Even Willie Nelson and Harry Connick Jr. can't lift 'Angels Sing' above obviousness

No "Angels Sing" in this holiday melodrama stripped of any religious significance suggested by its title, but Willie Nelson, Kris Kristofferson and Lyle Lovett do. Disappointingly, star Harry Connick Jr. does only a little, for he's the Grinch in this Yuletide tale about Michael, a loving husband and father who can't stand Christmas. Early scenes suggest his distaste stems from the commercialization of the season, but the reality is he's still grieving a tragedy that struck on Noel when he was a boy.

In the market for a new home, Michael finds that Christmas comes early when an old coot named Nick (Nelson, skinnier and hipper than his patron saint is usually portrayed) sells him a gorgeous house for half its worth. The only catch is he has to "keep up the neighborhood standards" — Michael has unwittingly moved into Christmas central, where his neighbor Griffin (Lovett) knocks on his door to croon carols and deliver decorations while wearing garish holiday sweaters, and Michael is expected to toe the line.

Director Tim McCanlies couldn't very well set a Christmas movie in Austin, Texas, without incorporating live music, so sing-alongs play an important part in padding the script's scant 86-minute running time. Unfortunately, the juxtaposition of such country-music icons with the story's cringe-worthy treacle has one siding with Michael's bah-humbug attitude.

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"Angels Sing"

MPAA rating: PG for mild thematic elements and brief language

Running time: 1 hour, 26 minutes

Playing: AMC Universal Citywalk Stadium 19, Universal City. Also on VOD.

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