Christmas movies rarely scale the heights (not that Love Actually didn’t press nearly everybody’s buttons). This is as mediocre as most of them, but I liked it heaps – and who needs a brain-strain at this time of year anyway? If I told you that co-writer Justin Zackham gave us The Bucket List, you might have some idea of the wholesomeness blended with gentle provocations that prevail, along with a soft-centred broadside on ageism, snobbery and corporate business practices. Maya (Jennifer Lopez), who didn’t finish high school and, as a sixteen-year-old, gave her baby away to be adopted, has a dead-end job in a major chain store. Overlooked for a deserved promotion, she is surprised to be offered a position as a consultant at an international cosmetics company. Its owner, Anderson Clarke (Treat Williams), believes that she is a Harvard graduate and Maya is happy for him to do so. The underpinning drama has you wondering when and how he might find out the truth. But there are other twists that, if wildly improbable, add complexity and unpredictability to the story – we all know that it will end well, but how will it get there? The bolt out of the blue comes from Anderson’s daughter, Zoe (Vanessa Hudgens), who is at first put out by Maya’s arrival at the office. The chorus of three girlfriends from her former employment provide the jokes as well an earthy balance to the glitz of her new world, but the dismayed boyfriend (Freddie Stroma) need not have been so lame. It all swirls around J.Lo, whose curves are highlighted unashamedly, undermining in a way the theme of ‘it’s who you are inside that matters’ – her fat friends balance the ledger, but they’re never going to get the Manhattan penthouse. Enlivened by a hip soundtrack and with images of New York that are far better than par for the course, you could do worse that chilling out with this. As a bankable chick flick, it’s got heart and smarts.