I'll Be Home for Christmas

Release Date: November 13, 1998
MPAA rating: 'PG' for some mild language and some rude humor
Somewhere between L.A. and N.Y.
Jake found the true meaning
of Chirstmas.

This Yule, be cool

JONATHAN TAYLOR THOMAS stars as Jake Wilkinson, a self-absorbed college student, who, just days before Christmas awakens to find himself stranded in the middle of the California desert - wearing a Santa suit and a white beard glued to his face.

The butt of a pay-back by the football team who thinks he double-crossed them by not providing the correct answers to a finals exam, Jake has to find a way to get to New York by 6:00 p.m. on Christmas Eve - and catch up with his girlfriend Allie (JESSICA BIEL) who is on the road with the school stud Eddie (ADAM LA VORGNA) - or risk forfeiting the vintage Porsche his father (GARY COLE) promised if his son comes home for the holidays.

As Jake desperately hitchhikes his way east, everyone he meets unwittingly sets into motion a comedy of errors as they look to Santa for help and advice, in Walt Disney Pictures' comedy, "I'll Be Home For Christmas." 

Anyone who's ever tried to travel across the country during the Christmas holidays can sympathize with the plight of 18-year-old Jake Wilkinson (Jonathan Taylor Thomas). Who of us cannot recall our "holiday joy" at the memory of icy highways and snowbound airports? Or of being gathered in some crowded terminal with hundreds of fellow travelers, all weary, anxious and short-tempered, listening to a harried attendant explain for the umpteenth time that our flight's been overbooked, and someone will have to be bumped? And all the while, Christmas Eve is closing fast.

Jake's situation is similar -- but with a few new twists. Mere days before Christmas, he finds himself stranded in the middle of the California desert with no wallet, I.D. or cash.

The first twist is, it's Jake's own fault. How he ended up in the desert is the result of a plan he had for some of a few of his fellow students that went awry. The second twist is, as part of his victims' retribution, he's been dressed in a Santa Claus suit with a white beard glued to his face. The third twist is that the mastermind behind Jake's desperate situation, his arch-rival Eddie, has taken advantage of our hero's "absence" to put the moves on his girlfriend Allie, offering her the ride home for the holidays that Jake failed to provide.

As he hitchhikes, freeloads, cons, flies, crawls, races and bullies his way east, Jake sets in motion a comedy of errors involving a series of eccentric and amusing characters who both help and hinder him on his way. Will he make his deadline to New York City -- and also, at the same time, manage to save Allie from the clutches of the nefarious Eddie?

Does Rudolph have a red nose?

When it comes to wheeling and dealing, charming Jake Wilkinson is the king, is a con artist extraordinaire. His scams and scheming ways have him running the show.

Unfortunately, he's also run afoul of the former "king," an older student named Eddie, who is displeased, to say the least, about having Jake take over what used to be his turf. It's your basic collision course -- and only a matter of time before the two have it out.

That time is now -- the upcoming Christmas holiday.

It all starts when Jake's father David, a successful New York lawyer, sends Jake a first class plane ticket to ensure the boy's arrival home in time for Christmas Eve. But going home hadn't been the same for Jake these past few years, ever since the death of his mother. Things haven't been helped, either, by his father's remarriage so soon after Jake's mother died.

Looking to avoid the awkwardness and unhappiness he associates with a holiday visit to his father and stepmother, Jake swaps his ticket home for two tickets to Cabo San Lucas, where he plans to spend Christmas with his girlfriend Allie. Unfortunately, he doesn't clear the plan with Allie first, and she rejects his invitation to spend "Christmas in paradise," preferring instead to spend the time with her own family.

David also confronts Jake about the ticket swap, and the boy can only offer lame excuses for his behavior. Desperate to have his family together for Christmas, David bribes his son with the only thing he can think of to bring him home -- the vintage Porsche the two of them had spent so much time rebuilding together, before they'd become estranged. There's one catch, however: Jake must make it home no later than 6:00 p.m. on Christmas Eve, in time for dinner. Jake agrees, goes off to tell Allie of his "change of heart," and the two of them make plans to travel east together.

Then, along comes Eddie -- who has just sabotaged one of Jake's scams, this one to sell the answers to a final exam to members of the school's football team. Led by Eddie, the angry jocks set a trap for Jake. The trap is sprung, and the next thing Jake knows, he regains consciousness in the middle of the desert, alone, wearing a Santa suit and a glued-on beard and hat. Jake is stranded, with no money and nary a reindeer in sight -- much less any other mode of transportation. And when Jake fails to pick up Allie, it's Eddie to the rescue.

Dressed in his Santa suit, broke and desolate, his girlfriend traveling cross-country with his arch enemy, Jake is nonetheless determined to make it home in time to claim the incredible gift his father has offered.

But when Jake inadvertently learns that Eddie and Allie may be falling in love, his priorities change. Getting the car takes a back seat to tracking down his girlfriend and saving their relationship, before it's too late.

Production Information

The Main Cast
Jake Wilkinson........................... JONATHAN TAYLOR THOMAS
Allie.................................... JESSICA BIEL 
Eddie.................................... ADAM LAVORGNA
Max...................................... SEAN O'BRYAN
Marjorie................................. LESLEY BOONE
Carolyn.................................. EVE GORDON
Nolan Briggs............................. ANDREW LAUER
David Wilkinson.......................... GARY COLE

Directed by.............................. ARLENE SANFORD


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