Thursday, December 01, 2016

Speaking of Christmas, here’s a turkey

Actually, I fear that may be a slight to the noble and tasty fowl. Upon finishing “Snowglobe,” I was ready for a bit more along those lines. When it comes to Christmas movies, I tend to prefer the ones with a little magic in them, as opposed to the ones that are just straight romance or syrupy familial dramas. (I’m not running those down; there are some good examples of both. But on the whole, I like a dash of fantasy in my Christmas fare.)

So the plot of “Christmas Do-Over” seemed like a good fit. Sure, it’s derivative, but let’s face it, there’s darn little originality left in the genre. How bad could it be?

Put it this way: If you took “Liar Liar” and “Groundhog Day,” mashed them together like Play-Doh, and then somehow extracted every bit of sympathy or humor, this is what would be left.

Jay Mohr, an SNL alum from one of its less-funny eras, plays Kevin, a divorced father dragooned at the last minute into spending Christmas with his ex-wife Jill and her parents, who make no secret of their dislike of him. Bad enough, but also joining the festivities is Jill’s new boyfriend Todd, who bought her a car for Christmas and is going to propose. Not having time to shop, Kevin accidentally bought his son an Easy-Bake oven, while Todd got him a train set. No opportunity is missed to rub our face in Kevin’s overall inferiority like a poorly-trained puppy.

You know where it goes from here. Every morning Kevin finds himself back on his outlaws’ doorstep, holding the same stupid girly-toy. Poor schmo doesn’t even have time to buy something else. So he resorts to some dirty tricks to try and get his wife and son back, culminating in a fight where he beats up Santa Claus and gets his butt kicked by Jesus. Yes, really.

Eventually, of course, he has a change of heart and redeems himself in the eyes of his son and ex-kinfolk. But it still leaves an aftertaste of defeat.

There are a few fun spots. Seeing Todd slip in dish soap and hurt his back over and over is strangely satisfying. (By this time you’re actively rooting for him to be injured.) The lecherous tipsy grandmother is a kick too.

But nothing, I repeat, nothing can possibly justify the climactic scene with Mohr rapping some version of “Silent Night” dressed as a snow pea pod. Nothing. There is no forgiveness in heaven or earth for that sort of abomination.

Watch and be appalled.

Note: there are a couple of short spaces where the sound cuts out. I assume that's to keep the all-seeing eye of YouTube from noticing that it's under copyright.

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