Home for Christmas

"Weak"

Home for Christmas Review


Based on a novel by Cally Taylor, this British romantic comedy is so simplistic that it offers very little to anyone who doesn't buy into the trite movie formula. With unlikeable characters and a stilted pace, the film will only appeal to audience members who have an unrealistic view of romance as something from a Hugh Grant movie. While it makes some telling observations along the way, it's simply too belaboured to properly spark any sympathy.

The story is set in Brighton, where Beth (Skins' April Pearson) works in a family-owned cinema that's about to be bought by a national chain and handed over to regional manager Matt (Game of Thrones' Karl Davies). While Beth waits around for her boyfriend Aiden (Matt Beveridge) to tell her he loves her, Matt has just split from his high-maintenance girlfriend (Lucy Griffiths). Shockingly, Aiden asks for some space, and Beth ends up having a drunken moment with Matt. After a dodgy start, they manage to have a few more moments before Matt cools things down, suspicious that Beth is chasing him in order to get a job. So Beth thinks that maybe she'll move to Australia on Christmas Eve with her mum (Pat Garrett) after all.

The plot takes a few unexpected twists while remaining resolutely within the rom-com formula, which makes everything thoroughly predictable from the start. And the title is misleading, as this isn't remotely a Christmas movie except for the date on the calendar. But the real problem is with writer-director Jamie Patterson's pacing: the story lurches through a series of awkwardly staged set-pieces that never add anything to the characters or narrative. With slack editing and hammy performances, it feels like an episode of a daily soap, abandoning the artistic animated flourishes of the opening sequence for dress-up montages and lots of drunken wallowing.

It also doesn't help that Beth is simply too pathetic for anyone to like. She's sexy and smart but acts like a complete loser, setting up a series of embarrassing situations that never feel remotely believable. Poor Pearson only occasionally gets a chance to inject some personality into the character. Davies fares better as the far too-nice Matt, but he's essentially a romance novel fantasy leading man. And while the film has a couple of nice points to make about small businesses and overcoming crippling insecurities, it's also afflicted with that British tongue-tied timidity that never lets the story cut loose into something engaging or entertaining. Fans of girly rom-coms may enjoy it, but everyone else should steer well clear.



Facts and Figures

Genre: Comedy

Run time: 90 mins

In Theaters: Friday 12th November 2010

Distributed by: Unknown

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 2 / 5

IMDB: 6.3 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director: Jamie Patterson

Producer: Nathalie Grace, Ian Lucas, Jamie Patterson

Starring: as Beth Prince, Karl Davies as Matt Jones, as Alice, Derren Nesbitt as Grandad, Amanda Piery as Lizzie, Matt Beveridge as Aiden, Shirley Jaffe as Mrs. Blackstock, Pat Garrett as Pamela

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