It’s that time of year where Netflix starts pushing out their Christmas movies, and I suffer through all of them in order to find the one gem. This movie is not that gem. In fact, it’s one of their worst Christmas offerings to date. I struggled immensely to even get through this film, and so did Jason Biggs apparently considering his lukewarm performance.
Charlotte (Heather Graham) gets a Christmas newsletter every year from friend Jackie (Brandy Norwood), and she hates it. She feels that Jackie uses these letters to brag about her life, and also thinks that Jackie’s exaggerating most of her recount. So you can imagine her dismay when she and her family end up at Jackie’s house due to some GPS mischief. Due to the weather, they find themselves snowed in, and thus forced to stay at Jackie’s for the next few days. Up close, it does seem that whatever Jackie recounted in the letters is true. Her daughter is the youngest student to ever go to Harvard, and her husband is one hot hunk of a man. But Charlotte is determined to find the flaw in Jackie’s life, which leads us to shenanigans that aren’t funny at all.
Charlotte’s discontentment with her own life is what causes her to be envious of Jackie’s, as well as her subsequent desire to unmask what she assumes is a facade. The message is fairly straightforward – cherish what you have – and is in line with Christmas themes and sentiments. But this is not a film. It’s a concoction of scenes that feel spliced together, and boring set pieces and characters that I have no interest in watching. The children’s subplot is their desire to unmask Santa, and prove that Santa Claus isn’t real. Um, okay. If you’re gonna do mischief, then at least be charismatic and memorable about it, like Kevin McCallister in Home Alone.
And honestly, I have a hard time believing that Charlotte and her husband Rob (Biggs) even like each other. Rob seems a bit too happy about spending Christmas with his ex-girlfriend and her family, probably because Charlotte feels like a drag to be around. She even seems to resent that her children are ordinary and normal – truly mom of the year. The one standout moment in this whole movie – if I can even call it that – is Brandy’s duet with Biggs. She sounds spectacular and they have such nice chemistry together, unlike everyone else in this movie. There’s no familiarity established between the characters, and that’s always the issue with these generic Christmas flicks. When the script is trite and basic, it is the actors that maybe can stir some sense of spark through their charisma or humour.
Netflix movies like A Castle for Christmas and Falling for Christmas aren’t the best written movies to walk the earth, but the actors elevate the source material, so much so that they become enjoyable to watch. Best.Christmas.Ever! basically handicaps itself by making Biggs play the straitlaced character, and Graham, who does well playing cute, kooky characters, ends up playing the Scrooge-like character who needs to be redeemed, which just doesn’t work out at all.
I would skip this movie, and only recommend it as something to put on if you need some background noise while you do your chores.
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The title of the movie feels ironic here, when it's probably closer to being one of the worst Christmas movies ever.
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