Yes, it is that time of the year. And with it come the songs, led by Mariah Carey and George Michael. Slowly the spending plumets to birth presents. The lights creep in. The trees, dead or alive, come in many colours. The snow is whimsical in nature and wants to be prayed for. The greetings start, extending carols. And of course, movies appear, to borrow, make believe or simulate the magic of the season…
Father Christmas is back. The title is litteral and I had to get to the end to understand that the family is indeed called Christmas. From the surnames (Christmas and Hope) to the story, saddle up if you want to be taken for that weird ride. The whole thing is just that tiny too far fetched and a little too caricatural for my taste. It also contains touches of frutrating conveniences to the point of vomiting. The only reasons I watched it till the end are simple. The ever-lovely presence of stars John Cleese, Kelsey Grammer, Caroline Quentin and Kris Marshall are just worth the time. Saying that, I am not sure I could take another such disaster. Elizabeth Hurley further quenches nostalgia, playing her usual sexy Brit character. This time, she does add a dash of pregnancy.
Father Christmas streamed on Netflix since November 7th. For some reason it feels like a sequel. The movie aims to quench the Christmas thirst that the season brings with it. Britain can be American like everyone else. All it needs is to put together the common ingredients: a feast for the eyes, a story by the numbers, an American in the middle of supposedly pure Britain, a couple of diversity touches, sprinkle mentions of our best export (The Beatles in this case). And just let Christmas do the rest. Saying that, Nathalie Cox in her naughty Mrs Claus (technically Mrs Christmas-Hope) lingerie, Hurley’s ever present cleavage and Ray Fearon’s handsome mug probably helped a lot. An awkward roller-coaster of cliches here and hysteria there couples with an unconvincing take on the absent father or the daughters’ reaction. It is as if all was done quickly and awkwardly and all that saves it is the acting.
Watch it or not? Well it’s Christmas so why not… This movie is not worth watching again though. It is far from a compulsory watch, and this by several miles. But you know, this is possibly what Christmas is about, movies like Father Christmas is Back. You don’t need to pay attention to them. They are easy to understand. They invite familiar and loveable screen faces in your living room. Beloved actors are in the background in your party. The lives they portray are worse than yours. There is a mention of hope at the end that makes you believe against all odds. Or maybe it is just giving our favourite actors an outlet to just goof around and enjoy that too. Either way, the whole thing makes the magic occasion grander.
If you think of it as your favourite actors goofing off, it works. Otherwise, well… it is just a caricatural view at patching broken families at Christmas with an unconvincing story and a wonderful cast.