Thursday, 18 December 2014

Switchmas (2012)

Writers Douglas Horn, Angie Louise and Sue Corcoran (who also directed) should be ashamed of themselves. Thoroughly ashamed. That's how awful this movie is. How can I best describe it? Well, the first few scenes had me thinking of any number of crappy TV shows aimed just at kids. Then there were a number of Jewish stereotypes thrown in. And then . . . . . . . . . . well, no, that's about all the film really is. A mix of crappy TV show production values and ridiculously stereotypical Jewish people. Take a drink every time someone says "oy" or something related to Judaism is used onscreen and you'll be under the table before the film is even halfway done.

Not that celebrating Judaism is necessarily a bad thing, of course. Everyone is entitled to movies aimed specifically at them. But this doesn't feel as if it's aimed at Jewish people. It feels as if someone has used "Judaism For Dummies" as the basis for a film about Christmas.

Elijah Nelson stars as Ira Finkelstein, a young Jewish boy who wants nothing more than a wonderful Christmas. A big deal, with snow and everything else that he thinks needs to be part of the big day. But that's not to be. He is, instead, being shipped off to his grandparents. They live in Florida. They also haven't seen him in a long, long time. Mikey Amato (Justin Howell) is also about to be shipped off to some relatives who live in Christmastown AKA a suburb of Washington. They also haven't seen their young visitor in some time.  The two boys meet at the airport and decide to switch, asthat will allow Ira to experience the Christmas he longs for while Miley enjoys some sunshine. Things, unsurprisingly, don't quite go according to plan.

Nelson isn't terrible. Neither is Howell. And there's a supporting cast that includes David DeLuise, Cynthia Geary, Angela DiMarco and Elliott Gould. Elliott Gould!!!!! No, the acting isn't the worst thing about this film. It's not great either, mind you, because everyone has to work with the script given to them, and that script reeks, for the most part. I think I've already covered the main reasons for the stench in the first paragraph.

In her directorial role, Corcoran seems intent on serving the writing that she helped to complete. I'll grudgingly admit that there are one or two moments that work, individual scenes that stand out thanks to being stuck amidst the horrible mess that is the rest of the film, but most of the movie proves to be a cringe-inducing, almost physically painful, experience.

If you think of yourself as the kind of person who can be VERY easy to please, or if you're even more masochistic than I am, then you may be able to endure this while throwing enough egg nog down your throat to dull the pain. And vodka. And brandy. And anything else that will eventually numb your brain.


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