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As welcome as animal rights activists at a Boxing Day hunt, here comes the holiday season’s dysfunctional-family-Christmas-get-together movie. This one is a blandly watchable bit of festive-fluff Britcom from writer-director James Dearden following the familiar template of a clan gathering on Christmas Eve, this time in the English countryside. It’s tonally chaotic, mixing eggnog-nostalgic light comedy – is Dad man enough to give Gobbles the turkey the chop? Has the bloody frost got the brussels? – with some drama as flimsy as wrapping paper.
Gemma Whelan (Game of Thrones) is saddled with the cliched role of mum Miranda, who has recently inherited the family’s country pile. Her plan is to turn the crumbling house into a B&B and organic veg business with her countryside-hating husband Dan (Julian Ovenden). First, they have to make it through Christmas with her successful actor sister Lyla (Joely Richardson), who is flying in from LA with her slick American husband, their kids and a Fortnum and Mason hamper the size of a donkey.
Expect the usual trimmings character-wise: frisky elderly aunt (“I say, are you my stocking present?”), a singleton sister, and a weed-smoking grownup son from a previous relationship.
This really feels like a movie at default setting, and the role of Miranda is a serious comedown for Whelan. There’s just too much manic farce. It’s one of those films in which characters keep on bursting through doorways, and there are some desperately unrealistic scenes involving Dan admitting his son to rehab on Christmas Day.
But my pick for nadir is Miranda’s twin boys catching great-aunt Peggy with a vibrator. Scratch that – the dog necking a Viagra is worse.
Source: The Guardian
Keyword: Surviving Christmas With the Relatives review – badly wrapped present | Comedy films