I'll Have A Shoe Christmas Without You
In case the takeaway message of that montage -- ROB LOWE = BAD PARENT -- were not painfully clear, we're now treated to a lecture courtesy of Rob Lowe's mother. She's the woman who was dead at the start of this movie, and if her finger-wagging in this scene is any indication of what to expect when she's on screen, it's sort of pity that's not the case for the other 89 minutes of this movie's run-time. "Robert, don't just make money," Ma Lowe says, as Rob yeah-yeahs his way out the door. "Make memories." Somewhere a high school senior just figured out what quote is going in the yearbook.
After the obligatory scene where Rob Lowe promises his daughter that next time he won't be such a workaholic ogre while his wife simmers with visible contempt, we're treated to the ultimate reminder that The Christmas Shoes is a work of absolute fiction -- a house call by a concerned doctor. Perhaps this movie is not set in New England, as I surmised, but rather, on Mars. Dr. Plot Point has some horrible news to deliver: Maggie Andrews is just too damn good for this world. Or, more specifically: "Your heart's not pumping well. It's why you're having trouble breathing. You're in congestive heart failure." Dr. Plot Point surmises that it was probably caused by a virus -- or from loving too much. That last part is my diagnosis, actually.
Back at the den of secrets and lies that is the Rob Lowe household, Rob Lowe's daughter is American Idoling the hell out of O Come All Ye Faithful while Mrs. Rob Lowe bakes cookies for the school choir and burbles about how much she likes Maggie and hopes to get to know her better. Well, better speed up those plans, then. Then Rob Lowe saunters into the scene to begin another round of broken promises and unfulfilled longings, as we've come to expect from America's fun couple. After promising his daughter that he won't miss the Christmas concert -- "Ike means it this time, baby!" -- he begins to enthuse about that big new house they're going to move into while the missus does her patented "Oh God, not this song and dance again" eye-roll. Rob Lowe informs his bride that he lined up a job interview for her at a local pharmaceutical concern. This is a surprise to Mrs. Rob Lowe, and not a pleasant one at that. Rob Lowe protests that he pulled a lot of strings to get her that interview. This gambit works about as well as you might expect: "Fine, Robert," the missus snaps. "Okay. Case closed. I'll go." Then she stares off into the distance while sad piano music plays and Rob Lowe wearily shuffles off. Every day will be like this once we're married!