Ace & The Christmas Miracle is a 2021 film released to Apple and Vudu just prior to Thanksgiving in 2021. Whenever the opening credits say story by, written by, and starring the same person and likewise the same producers, it can’t be good. The film stars, written and was produced by Steven Chase who has a pedigree of low-budget mobster films on his resume and was directed and produced by Asif Akbar, who likewise has equally low-budget features and background actor experience under his belt. The film was released by Lionsgate.
Tony (Steven Chase) is a down on his luck pest control business owner who has resorted to releasing his own bugs into his potential client’s multi-million dollar homes in failed attempts to drum up business. He is already in debt to over-the-top mobster Big Freddie (James Chalke) when he decides to take out another loan to place a sure bet on a horse race. A tip given to him by his Uncle Vito (Jack Vecchio).
As one would expect, things don’t go as planned and Tony drowns his sorrows at a bar in Temecula with his good friend Dougie Mcdougle (Robert J. Fox) where the bartender, Amanda (Brande Roderick) overhears and gives Tony her phone number saying she might have a job for her. Tony calls her back and meets Amanda at a huge estate where Amanda introduces the pair to Ace, the family’s racing horse. Throughout the film we are introduced to characters and situations through the voice of Ace, and are also introduced to Amanda’s son Daniel, played by Keaton Roderick Cadrez.
Amanda explains that the horse and property belong to her brother, and that he has made a wager with the local wine mogul where Ace will race and the winner of the race will receive both properties. She wants Tony to horse-nap the horse until after the race so she can both collect the “ransom” money for her and her son, as well as teach her brother a lesson. When Tony gets too close to Ace, he gets a horse-head butt and awakens to find he can hear Ace talking.
The rest of the film shows the plot unravels with a “surprise” twist near the end that shouldn’t really surprise anybody.
From the moment this film begins with Jon Lovitz narrating the voice of the horse, it was in trouble. I have started watching films with a headset on, and the mismatched audio going from a microphone to wild sound was jarring and could have probably been fixed in editing. In addition, it looked like director Akbar used autofocus in many scenes as the focus goes in and out during the scene without reason or changing to another actor in the scene.
As for the acting itself, the less said the better. Steven Chase is over-the-top and trying too hard to channel his inner Joe Pesci, the fat police officer is, of course, eating donuts throughout the film, Dougie is a bus driver who kidnaps a bus of kids and ends up having charges dropped, and previously mentioned Big Freddie is probably the worst offender of bad characterization. In fact, all of the acting is pretty terrible save for Brande Roderick. Unfortunately, she couldn’t save the film though.
The addition of an original song “Ace the Talking Horse” solidifies the producers thought this could be the first of many films starring Ace. Instead, this film should be put out to pasture. Not even a drinking game of how many times Temecula is mentioned could save this movie.
I give this film a half-star because even a bad movie actually got made.