Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Movie Review: "Happy Christmas" (2014)

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Movie"Ernest Saves Christmas"
Director: Joe Swanberg
Year: 2014
Rating: R
Running Time: 1 hour, 22 minutes

A woman named Jenny (Anna Kendrick) breaks up with her boyfriend and moves back to Chicago to live with her brother Jeff (Joe Swanberg) and his wife Kelly (Melanie Lynskey).

We're all for an R-rated Christmas movie every now and then, so long as it's actually a good film.

"Happy Christmas" is not a good movie.

The first thing you need to know about "Happy Christmas" is that it's almost entirely improvised and boy oh boy does it feels like it. We did not know this going into the film, but after watching it for about 15 minutes, we started to wonder, "what the hell is wrong with the dialogue here? Is this all improvised?" So, we actually stopped the movie to look up this information, and lo and behold, we were right. It's improvised! For some unknown reason, critics eat this kind of crap up, and that seems to be the case with this movie. For the average moviegoer, this can be an arduous, tortuous experience like it was for us. "Happy Christmas" is boring. Everything about it is dull, even the performances. It drudges by like a sloth walking through the sand while dragging a 50 pound weight through its extremely short run time. The most interesting thing to happen in an hour and 22 minutes is when Jenny, played by Anna Kendrick, accidentally burns a pizza after passing out drunk, setting off the smoke alarm and waking up her brother and sister-in-law. This scene happens an hour and ten minutes into the movie, which means literally nothing happens until 12 minutes before the film is set to end. Next, you'd think a movie called "Happy Christmas" would actually have something to do with, well, Christmas. This is a circumstantial Christmas movie in the loosest sense of the phrase. Even "Die Hard" is more Christmas-y than this garbage movie. Without the film's December setting in the days leading up to Christmas day, and without any occasional quip about presents from our snarky or bitter protagonists, and without one conversation about a Christmas tree/decorating it with lights/some supplemental background shot of said tree, this would never be considered a holiday flick. We would typically describe what we watcher here as a slice of life film or a character sketch, but it's hardly either. There is a lot of inane chatter filling up the minutes like a drudgery as we hear Anna Kendrick's Jenny say "like" 1,700 times in each sentence, as we watch her gets wasted a couple times, smoke some weed with her new hookup/boyfriend/who knows and has casual sex with him and at least one other person, but there's not really much else. The fact that "Happy Christmas" has such high ratings and praise from critics is ridiculous and shows how the off-script, rambling, vacuous words of troubled millennials really make their collective panties drop. Where some see a pioneering piece of art, we see a plodding, lifeless movie about a bunch of whiners who need to snap out of their self-inflicted funk. We are usually big fans of Anna Kendrick, but this film really missed the mark for us. It looks more like a home movie than it does a feature film, which doesn't work at all and isn't a good thing. Avoid this one at all costs.

My Rating: 2.5/10
BigJ's Rating: 2/10
IMDB's Rating: 5.5/10
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 75%
Do we recommend this movie: AVOID LIKE THE PLAGUE!!!
One year ago, we were "White Christmas"

Two years ago, we were watching: "A Christmas Story"

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