Ken Tucker
December 14, 1990 AT 05:00 AM EST

The Kid Who Loved Christmas

type
TV Show
Current Status
In Season
performer
Michael Warren, Eddie Murphy, Esther Rolle, Vanessa Williams
broadcaster
Syndicated
genre
TV Movie, Drama

We gave it a B-

The Kid Who Loved Christmas is a nicely acted family melodrama that briefly features Sammy Davis Jr., in his final screen performance. The kid who loves Christmas is Reggie (Trent Cameron), a young orphan on the verge of being adopted by a jazz musician (Hill Street Blues‘ Michael Warren) and his wife (singer Vanessa Williams). But just as the adoption is about to be finalized, Williams is killed in a car accident. Warren spends most of the movie battling with a social worker (Good Times‘ Esther Rolle), who is now withholding approval of the adoption — she doesn’t think Warren’s traveling-jazzman life would be a good influence on Reggie. When Reggie is taken to a new foster home, complete with close-ups of his sweet, misty-eyed face and Warren’s agonized one, you know that tears are being jerked shamelessly by director Arthur Allan Seidelman and executive producer Eddie Murphy — yes, the Eddie Murphy. Davis plays a musician in Warren’s jazz band; his voice is faint and scratchy, but he musters the energy to perform his few scenes with understated grace. The pace of this two-hour production is slow, but as Christmas specials go, this one turns out to be an effective piece of seasonal sentimentality. B-

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