This time last year, drunk at a Christmas party, someone heard ‘Last Christmas’ and thought it would be a great basis for a film. It Isn’t.
DIRECTOR: Paul Feig
STARRING: Emilia Clarke, Henry Golding, Emma Thompson
SCREENPLAY: Emma Thompson, Greg Wise
GENRE: Comedy, Romance, Christmas
RUNTIME: 103 minutes
★★ 2 Stars
I have seen many a cheesy, feel good Christmas movie in my time. They are one of the upmost joys of the holiday season. Unfortunately, this film is neither feel good, nor particularly festive. Meaning it is failing at the two things a Christmas film is meant to be.
Kate (Or Katarina) is a quite frankly horrid young adult, who spends most of her nights surfing from couch to couch or from meaningless one night stand to the next. And spends her days working at a Christmas store in Covent Garden. It is from yonder store window that she one day spies Tom, our dashing hero. He cycles everywhere, doesn’t own a phone (sort of), volunteers at a homeless shelter…he is basically perfect. He is clearly here to show her how to be a better person, and so begins the classic Christmas story or redemption and self-improvement.
Somewhere, buried deep under all the badly written dialogue and terrible humour, there cold have been a great film. Instead, this one falls woefully short of the mark. Clarke and Golding share barely nay chemistry throughout the film, which means that the big ‘twist’ at the end (which I wont reveal in case there is any chance you haven’t been spoiled already,) lacks impact as you never really felt for them as a couple in the first place. And Kate is so unlikable a character that you don’t really care that she wants to be better, it all comes off as fake and self-serving.
The genre of Rom/Com, usually implies that there is some humour to be found, and yes, there are some funny moments here, which mostly saved the film for me, but some of it started to verge towards slapstick or cheap jokes, and while these raised a few chuckles in my screening, it wasn’t enough to rescue the entire production. And neither was the George Micheal soundtrack the they tried to shoehorn in at every available opportunity, whether it fit the scene or not.
And for a Christmas film, with the word christens IN THE TITLE, very little of this film is really about Christmas, (Michelle Yeoh aside of course) Sure there are some twinkly lights in the background, but that’s about all the festive cheer you see. If you want something to really warm your heart (no pun intended) this year, you can do far better than this one.
All in all, this might be another example of the trouble Emilia Clarke seems to be having in getting out from under the shadow of her Game of Thrones safety blanket. Hopefully she will land herself the right role some time soon.