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Where God Left His Shoes: A Seasonal Gem

Finally, a holiday film with some Christmas spirit.

by
Christian Toto

Bio

December 23, 2008 - 12:16 am
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‘Tis the season for less than merry holiday films.

Four Christmases serves up a selfish couple forced to spend time with their inane in-laws. The French drama A Christmas Tale packs more family dysfunction than a month’s worth of The Osbournes.

The least jolly of them all, yet undoubtedly the best, is Where God Left His Shoes, a new drama available in select cities and via participating video on demand services.

The yuletide spirit isn’t front and center here, but it will sure make you feel grateful for the roof over your head.

John Leguizamo stars as Frank Diaz, a broke boxer trying to make ends meet during the holiday season. He just lost a lucrative boxing gig — and his New York City apartment — all in one day.

That leaves his exasperated but loyal wife (Leonor Valera) and their two children, Christina (Samantha Rose) and Justin (David Castro), homeless. The local shelter looks to be their home for the holidays until an inexpensive Bronx apartment becomes available on Christmas Eve. But Frank has to prove he’s employed to seal the deal, and he usually works off the books — or in the ring.

Frank is a real charmer, someone who can distract his children from the horrors of poverty. But he’s got too much pride for his own good, and it often gets the better of him. He also must maneuver around his inflated sense of machismo, and a scene in which he explains why he never tells his stepson “I love you” is priceless.

Shoes doesn’t fit snugly in any film category. It’s hardly a typical Christmas release, and it’s a film about poverty that lacks a political component. It may bear some similarities to the Will Smith hit The Pursuit of Happyness, but the comparisons start and end with the main character’s impoverished state.

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