Last Christmas (2019)

dir. Paul Feig

It’s pretty obvious that they just said, “Let’s take a bunch of George Michael songs” and then built a movie around them, but that’s far from being the most egregious part of Last Christmas. Emilia Clarke stomps around London, destroying her friends’ possessions and putting her boss’ workplace at risk of theft. When she’s severed all ties and has nowhere to go, she begrudgingly goes to her parents’ house and does such caring, relatable things as outing her sister without permission. As her winking love interest Henry Golding oozes charm, but the superficiality and awkwardness of their interactions – all intended to build up to the final “twist” – undermine any potential chemistry. Yet arguably, even none of that is the worst part of the film. Not when Emma Thompson, playing the protagonist’s mother, adopts a hideously offensive generic “European” accent and seems to think this, in itself, constitutes a hilarious joke. She lilts about “lesbian pudding” and the fear that the UK’s move towards Brexit means she’s no longer welcome – a fear she gets over in precisely one scene by downing some shots at Brixton Market. Throw in some casual mocking of homeless people, not to mention a romance subplot for the boss character that is so resoundingly unfunny that it’s essentially the same awkward scene done over and over. There is no sincerity to this film – it’s just trope after trope, done lazily and with no love for the project. And the final “twist” is too stupid to save the formulaic approach. Last Christmas is so, so much more cynical than it pretends to be.

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