Dolly's Angel Delight
After discovering her boyfriend has been cheating on her, singer Ruby Diamond (Dolly Parton - Steel Magnolias) leaves and ends up crashing into a tree as she avoids a deer standing in the middle of the road. As she stands at the gates of heaven she is greeted by Saint Peter (Roddy McDowall - Hart to Hart: Home Is Where the Hart Is) who informs her that whilst she wasn't the most virtuous person on earth the fact she died whilst saving the life of a deer has given her a second chance to earn her wings. That chance means she has 5 days back on Earth to try and help a workaholic widower Ben Bartilson (Brian Kerwin - Abandoned and Deceived) and his children.
A person ends up in heaven and told in order to receive their wings they have to return to Earth to help a struggling family. That sounds like a lot of cliche to me and with "Unlikely Angel" being not only a Christmas movie but also a made for TV movie it is a lot of cliche. But for those who are fans of Dolly Parton the cliche filled familiarity of "Unlikely Angel" won't be a bother in fact it adds to the overall enjoyment of this simple Christmas family movie which to put it simply makes you smile.
Taking Dolly Parton out of the equation for a moment, and that is not an easy thing to do, and what "Unlikely Angel" ends up is just a reworking of a cliche often used in Christmas movies. We have an angel, or in this case almost an angel, with a time limit to help a family, the widowed father who works too much, the two children who are a bit agro because of the loss of their mum and their dad never being there, plus of course we are also talking Christmas so throw in a fair few other cliches including romance. It's fun but it is nothing in the least bit special as it plays out in an expected manner with little in the way of surprises.
But "Unlikely Angel" is a Christmas movie which thrives on Dolly Parton and her persona, the same one she has used in a lot of comedies. So she's a good old fashioned country girl who enjoys singing and is full of good hearted spirit as she strives to bring the family together working as their nanny. And on that subject Dolly is dressed in the usual array of figure hugging outfits which highlight her eye catching figure, it is what you expect although you kind of have to laugh seeing she is playing a nanny, a busty one at that. Basically it is a typically enjoyable performance from Dolly Parton which is a lot of fun for Dolly Parton fans.
Dolly Parton is not the only fun performance in the movie there is also an amusing one from Roddy McDowall who as Saint Peter pops up in various guises from a church vicar to a mall Santa Claus. But "Unlikely Angel" is first and fore mostly a Dolly Parton movie and unless you are a fan it will end up an onslaught of wholesome Dolly Parton charm next to a lot of Christmas cliche.
What this all boils down to is that "Unlikely Angel" is not the most original of Christmas movies and works through a variety of familiar cliches. But for those who enjoy Dolly Parton movies it is a lot of fun with Dolly turning in her usual charming, wholesome yet also sexy performance.