Jack Frost

Despite having all the charm of a department store snow scene, Jack Frost is a serviceable kid pic, as counterfeit as Muzak but still able to strike a few seasonal chords. Frost is too insubstantial to evoke memorable Christmas movie chestnuts (or the 1996 horror flick of the same name), but its briskly paced tale of a dead dad (Michael Keaton) who comes back to the mortal plane one Christmas as a snowman does the heartwarming thing with workmanlike enthusiasm, never becoming so boring as to be offensive.

A very minor parable on paying attention to family while you can, Frost offers a wide range of passing diversions, from snowboarding derring-do to a minimally annoying computerized title character to lots of tender snowman-son bonding moments. Although you could cite Jack Frost as an example of all that is dire and generally lame about all things Christmassy, enough small children flocked to the inflatable Jack Frost lobby promo after an advance screening to suggest that, despite the cheap banalities flying from the screen, no one in the theater had lost an eye. Some parents may, Scrooge-like, lament the lost 90 minutes of life, but it sure beats standing in line at Toys "R" Us.

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