Christmas Cracker: Christmas Eve (2015)
Although not genetically related to Valentine’s Day and New Year’s Eve, this is yet another ensemble movie that takes one particular day to show viewers what happens to a bunch of seemingly separated, but actually sometimes interlinked, people. The two main differences here are that a) most of the movie sees the main characters stuck in elevators, and b) the ensemble seriously lacks any actual star power.
Patrick Stewart is one of the biggest names in the cast, although he’s not given as much screentime as viewers might like (having said that, his storyline is so thin that he wouldn’t have been able to do any more with it anyway). He plays a grumpy rich guy who moans about the construction of his penthouse before getting stuck in an elevator. Gary Cole is another big name in the cast. He plays a doctor who moans about the dire prognosis of a patient, and he then gets stuck in an elevator. Jon Heder gets stuck in an elevator with the man who just fired him (Max Casella). Roxanne Cook and Margaret Clunie end up, yes, stuck in an elevator with three men, played by Steve John Shepherd, Lex Shrapnel, and Taylor James. Julianna Guill is stuck in an elevator with James Roday. And a small number of musicians, in the most horribly tiresome strand, are all, yes, stuck in an elevator.
Directed by Mitch Davis, this is a film that strive to be bland. The best word for it, most of the time, is lifeless. Which isn’t all the fault of the director. A lot of the problem also lies with the script, which happens to have been written by Tyler McKellar. And . . . . . . . Mitch Davis. There are one or two moments throughout that manage to prove somewhat entertaining, but they’re seriously outweighed by moments of sheer awfulness. It’s a good job that some members of the cast are good enough to ease the pain, with the best being Cole, Roday, Guill, and Shepherd (despite the character he’s stuck playing). The rest are either almost okay or just terrible (everyone portraying a musician).
There’s a miracle or two, a splash of romance, and a dusting of snow. Sadly, despite the dressing, Christmas Eve is more likely to make you feel like a Scrooge than a happy little elf. Nothing is presented in a way that’s actually enjoyable, nothing feels truly earned when it comes to the third act, and no scenes really put the focus on it being Christmas time. To paraphrase an old saying, and apologies in advance for the crudity; a tinsel-covered turd is still a turd.
DIRECTOR: MITCH DAVIS
WRITER: MITCH DAVIS, TYLER MCKELLAR
STARS: PATRICK STEWART, GARY COLE, JAMES RODAY, ROXANNE COOK, MARGARET CLUNIE, JON HEDER, JULIANNA GUILL, STEVE JOHN SHEPHERD, LEX SHRAPNEL, MAX CASELLA
RUNTIME: 95 MINS APPROX