Marilyn Bernard

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The Christmas Party Review


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Short films are like Skittles for the mind. Sure they're small, but you can eat a lot of them in no time at all. But take in too many of these insubstantial tidbits and you'll end up bloated, miserable, and malnourished. Decades of repeating this binge-and-barf cycle have left this critic a little cynical about independent shorts - particularly since the advent of the dubiously selective Independent Film Channel - so when Jeremiah Kipp's 19-minute The Christmas Party crossed my desk, I was more than a little reticent about pressing play.

Full disclosure: Kipp is a colleague of mine here at filmcritic.com, as is Christmas Party producer Rachel Gordon. This taken into account, I had even more incentive to pretend to misplace the disc as soon as I saw it. After all, if it sucks, I carry the burden of publicly berating my peers. And while I normally relish that sort of thing, most of the people I insult in my reviews are nearly anonymous actors and directors -- not big-time, powerful movie critics like Kipp and Gordon. But ultimately, good sense (and the promise of a hefty filmcritic.com paycheck) prevailed, and here we all are waiting to see what I have to say about this movie. It's as if the eyes of the world are on me at this very moment. Wow. That's a lot of responsibility. I hope I don't say anything stupid.

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