Cast: Emilia Clarke, Henry Golding, Michelle Yeoh, Emma Thompson
Director: Paul Feig
I think the most basic indicator that a Christmas movie will be bad is when it gets released in early November, so strap in for this one. I don’t expect a lot from Christmas movie. Be short, to the point, and fun, and those of us watching will be on our merry way. Last Christmas manages to hit the trifecta of nonsense and does none of those things properly. Predictable, mean-spirited, and boring, Last Christmas is a new low for Feig and everyone associated as they somehow managed to mess up the easiest type of movie to make.
The film follows Kate (Clarke), a retail worker at a Christmas store who is in a dead-end situation and can’t get her singing career off the ground. When she meets, Tom (Golding), young, free-spirited man who sees the good in society. As the two begin to spend more time with one another, Kate begins to break down her wall and see the world as the joyous and hopeful place that it is. As you can probably tell from that brief description, you’ve seen this type of movie hundreds of times before and there’s no way Last Christmas can elevate this idea into something better. There’s a so-called “twist” towards the end of the movie, but the way it’s setup makes it incredibly obvious by the middle of the movie. I can’t tell you the last I really rolled my eyes in a movie, but I had an audible reaction when I figured out what was going to happen. This can all be avoided if you have a protagonist to root for and relate to, but the writers may have given us one of the most unlikable characters of the year with Kate. There’s a distinct difference between a character who is complex and one who is intolerable, and Kate is far and away in the intolerable category. Complex characters struggle, but we’re genuinely interested in them getting past their situation and succeeding. Between the excessive drinking, home-wrecking, and outing gay people, Kate continuously crosses unnecessary lines and makes people feel uncomfortable due to her own recklessness and it will turn off anyone who actually wants a semblance of relatability or accountability. In Brittany Runs a Marathon, we see a character who has similar struggles, but because she has an ounce of humanity we can look past her flaws and see her for what she’s trying to become. This is absent from Last Christmas and is the central reason why it should remain at the bottom of Wal-Mart’s bargain bin. Emma Thompson really is the only shining hope for this movie, but her talents are wasted in a minor role that can’t perform a Christmas miracle here. Clarke clearly needs a better agent because life after Game of Thrones is not looking pretty for and on the other end Golding is too talented to end up in a generic garbage project like this after his explosion onto the scene in 2018, but I’m sure he’ll bounce back in no time.
Overall, there’s not much that can make Last Christmas a great movie, but there’s a lot that can be done to make it tolerable. It’s almost as someone wrote this movie from the eyes of the antagonist and then flipped it when it was time to shoot. There’s a lot to be mad about in this movie, but I think the most egregious crime is the Universal thinks Christmas starts on November 1st, but that’s a discussion for another day. Last Christmas will appeal to the lowest common denominator of our society, but anyone who values their time should stay as far as possible from this movie.
Overall Score: 2/10