TV REVIEW : ‘Ebbie’ a Nice Twist on the Dickens Classic
“I sell Christmas, I don’t buy it.” Meet Elizabeth Scrooge, Ebbie for short, the uptight, mean and miserly CEO of a fancy department store, about to get her comeuppance in “Ebbie,” an unabashedly sentimental adaptation of Charles Dickens’ perennial holiday classic of redemption, “A Christmas Carol.”
Soap queen Susan Lucci of “All My Children” is fun to watch as a severely tailored, unsmiling boss, spreading misery wherever she goes on Christmas Eve, whether firing a security guard or deciding the store’s traditional window display has got to go.
Soon, of course, Ebbie is being warned by the ghost of her former partner that she’d better “change the agenda” and is being taught a lesson in humility and compassion by the spirits of Christmases past, present and future, starting with a pair of demonic perfume counter girls with big hair.
Wendy Crewson as single mom Roberta Cratchit, “Home Improvement’s” Noah Smith as Tiny Tim, Molly Parker doing double duty as Ebbie’s sister and niece and Lorena Gale as a carsick spirit of Christmas Present have some nice moments.
It was written by Paul Redford and Ed Redlich and directed by George Kacvender. Not much that’s deep or original happens here; it’s just a couple of hours of pleasant family viewing with some mildly amusing touches--glowing ghost Jake Marley on his cellular phone, Ebbie dining alone on a frozen dinner, bottled water and vitamin supplements--and a sincerity that shines through the shameless heart-string tugging.
And despite the fluff, Dickens’ concern with overburdened, hard-working employees, the despised homeless and the poor has particular resonance in today’s climate of downsizing and budget cutting.
* “Ebbie” airs at 8 tonight and again at 10 on cable’s Lifetime channel.