Tuesday 2 December 2014

Christmas Do-Over (2006)

It's a Groundhog Day Christmas, that's all you need to know about Christmas Do-Over. It's also enjoyable enough, if you're in the mood for it, and not quite as sickly sweet as so many other movies that have been created to fill up the schedules on the run up to the big day.

Jay Mohr stars as Kevin, the selfish sonofabitch who is invited to a Christmas that he ends up spoiling for most of the people around him. Those people are his ex (Daphne Zuniga), his son (Logan Grove), the people who used to be his in-laws (Tim Thomerson and Adrienne Barbeau) and the man that his ex is now dating (David Millbern). It's far from the best way to spend Christmas day, so you can imagine the frustration that Kevin feels when he's forced to keep reliving the day over and over again, for no apparent reason. I wonder if changing his ways might help.

Directed by Catherine Cyran, and written by Trevor Reed Cristow and Jacqueline David, this is a very effective timeloop comedy. It delivers everything you expect it to deliver, and it does provide some moments of amusement. The opening sequence sets up the main character, and how careless he can be, while the first run through of the big day then places all of the markers that viewers can use to keep track of the progress (if any) made by Kevin on each subsequent re-run of events.

Mohr is fine in the lead role. He's fairly amusing, especially as he grows more exasperated, and has fun when his character indulges in moments of more extreme selfish douchebaggery. Zuniga is required to look puzzled and exasperated, depending on the scene, and she does that perfectly. It's a shame that she wasn't required to do much more though. Thomerson is a treat as the grumpy ex-father-in-law, Barbeau tries to remain civil and pleasant at all times, and Millbern is, unsurprisingly, the butt of a few unpleasant surprised. Grove also does well, whether he's hiding disappointment or laughing at the actions of a childish dad.

You get snow, you get carol singing, you get a Christmas market, you get people trying to give each other decent gifts. Basically, you get everything you see in pretty much every Christmas TV movie ever. Someone gets hit with a snowball, of course. Someone starts to realise the important of non-material goods, of course. And there are some horrible items of clothing on display.

Barring one awful, cringe-inducing sequence that shows the main character helping to make a song and dance routine "hip and cool", this is actually quite far from the bottom of the tree. It may not be a beautiful yule log, but it's much better than a lump of coal in your stocking.



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