What Not To Watch This Christmas

It’s official. Christmas on Mistletoe Farm is this year’s worst Netflix Christmas movie.

It was so bad I could not stop thinking about how bad it was.

Not wishing to sound unseasonably unkind, I was determined to look for some redeeming features, which was the only reason why I kept watching, but it was hard. After a long deliberation, I settled on a miniature piglet called Weenie pissing in people’s faces whilst held up in the air as my only reward for devoting 103 minutes of my life to this show. That should give you an idea how bad it was. 

Every scene was a cliché and every one of them felt like an over-the-top pastiche of itself. So much so, it crossed my mind it was meant to be a spoof, a deliberate mockery, and even now, after I watched it to the very last drop of its saccharine ending, I am still none the wiser whether perhaps it was indeed designed as a parody of the Christmas movie genre, and the joke was on me.

To say that the characters were wooden would be to an insult to wood. Wood can be understated, alluring, evocative of dark forests and rustic nostalgia. The characters in this film leaned more towards MDF boards. It would not have surprised me to find out that the casting director went to a shopping centre and said would you mind reading a few lines, and the first people who did not stumble over the words got the parts.

There was a middle-aged bitchy lady, working the corpo-catwalk in knock-off red Pradas.

Knock-off was a keyword throughout. Beano, the farm hand, was a blatant Nativity rip-off, Mr Poppy’s long-lost twin who had fallen on hard times, and had to sleep in the hay, but kept his prototype’s acting style down to a tee.

There was a prolific father with next no emotional connection to his five, or was it six children. The shadow of Nativity franchise extended to the children, who were awkward and shy around their father, who in turn, channelled Martin Freeman’s Mr Maddens character on and off. The only clearly defined aspect of his personality was a permanent undercurrent of irritability.  

The plot plodded on, in stops and starts, and it soon became apparent that I was watching an unrelatable tale of nothing much at all. It was neither funny nor moving, neither romantic nor sad, neither serious or overly light-hearted. It ebbed between Laurel and Hardy slapstick when the developers arrived on the farm, and an attempt at exploring meaning of life and love during the speech by the village teacher.

The village people were mildly reminiscent of the bunch of mismatched residents from Hot Fuzz, but without any dark secrets. The rendition of their eponymous song was among the most fleetingly enjoyable moments of the film. 

The denouement, when it came at long last, was flat and unconvincing, with zero chance of generating a Christmassy fuzzy feeling, which I had grown to expect from post-Halloween Netflix releases.

There was no chemistry at all, zip, zilch, nada, nothing between the father and his supposed love interest, and then, inexplicably, they kissed, and voila, ex-machina happy ending.

I would love to know what the director, the producer, the scriptwriter were thinking, as well as what made one actress of reasonably good vintage to add her name to this production.  

When credits rolled, I set off on a search for an antidote; it took half an hour of Love Actually for my faith in silver screen Christmas magic to be restored.

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