Happy Christmas – Overview/ Review (with Spoilers)

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Overview

After a bad breakup, a young woman goes to live with her brother in Chicago for a while.

Review (with Spoilers)

Not since Drinking Buddies (which I’m so mad I don’t have the review to anymore – I really liked the movie) have I seen an Anna Kendrick film and this saddens me in such a way. For, while she may not have the profile of some of her contemporaries like Emma Stone or Jennifer Lawrence, just she has carved herself a nice niche in the film industry. Mostly with her being in quality indie films or just films which come out of nowhere like Pitch Perfect. Leading to the question if this film is another one of those under the radar films worth watching?

Characters & Story

Somewhere in Chicago lives a well-adjusted family comprised of Jeff (Joe Swanberg), Kelly (Melanie Lynskey), and baby Jude (Jude Swanberg). Jeff is some sort of filmmaker, and Kelly is a homemaker who has a book published. But as she watches Jeff go outside the home and work, and she has but Jude and the house to tend to, there rises this almost envy of needing to get dressed and go somewhere on a daily basis. So when Jeff’s little sister Jenny (Anna Kendrick) needs somewhere to stay after breaking up with her boyfriend, she seems like a godsend. However, with Jenny not mature enough to really take on the load Kelly would like her to, it does bring to question what can she bring to the table? Something Jenny struggles with as she tries to find her place in what already seems to be a tight-knit little family.

Praise

When it comes to this film, it is more certain scenes than the film as a whole which deserve praise. Such as a conversation Jenny, Kelly, and Carson (Lena Dunham) have in which Kelly speaks on her issues with being a stay at home mom and how complicated her feelings are about the job. And also there is another good scene which deals with Jenny and Carson helping Kelly write her next book.

Criticism

But, as a whole, this movie keeps things relatively low key which makes the film really boring. For one, nobody is that interesting of a character. Albeit Jeff has this sort of Marshal, from How I Met Your Mother, type persona, but with no one getting any sort of backstory to liven them up, it becomes far too set in realism to be appealing. Then, on top of the characters being dull, the story itself doesn’t invigorate things. For not only does nothing seriously happen but even in the few prized moments which help push you toward finishing the movie there aren’t any performances which truly liven up either the characters or the movie.

And really, it is sad how only two scenes actually get your attention in a film a little over an hour. Making it seem so strange that the same person who made this film directed and wrote Drinking Buddies. For while Drinking Buddies was so good it should have been a pilot to a series, this feels like an indie short which somehow got the funding to be extended until a full-length movie. One which probably only diehard fans of those involved will know about for this film highlights why Video on Demand exists. Because the names may be recognizable, and usually trustworthy, but theaters know they won’t make any real money off this.

Overall: Skip It

With this film, there aren’t a lot of redeeming values to it. For while I liked the conversation Kelly has with Jenny and Carson about the issues she sometimes has with being a stay at home mother, as well as a conversation about writing erotica sans the words penis and pussy, the film as a whole just doesn’t have a selling point besides Kendrick and Dunham’s name. Hence why this is being labeled as a “Skip It” for it really does feel like Swanberg probably used bits of his life to create a movie which maybe could have worked as a short, but instead became a full-length motion picture extended past the capabilities of its premise.

How Would You Rate This?

Negative Mixed Positive

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About Amari Sali 2987 Articles
New Jersey native Amari Sali takes the approach of more so being a media advisor than a critic to sort of fill in the gap left between casual fans of media and those who review productions for a living. Thus being open about bias while still giving enough insight, often with spoilers, to present whether something is worth seeing, buying, renting, streaming, or checking out at all.

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