Christmas is Cancelled (2021)

dir. Prarthana Mohan

In Christmas is Cancelled, twenty-something-year-old Emma is appalled to discover her fifty-something-year-old widower father Jack has been dating her former neighbour, high school classmate and “frenemy”, twenty-something-year-old Brandy. Rather than treating Emma’s shock with sensitivity and patience, Jack and Brandy instead practically bludgeon her over the head with this new state of affairs, by forcing her to participate in their Christmas plans while Brandy casually does such things as blithely wearing Emma’s dead mother’s apron. The movie somehow manages to get even worse from this already grotesque premise. The humour falls flat every single time, whether it’s derived from stupid costumes or a disturbing lack thereof as Jack tears off his shirt for an awkward and entirely unnecessary bar brawl. Not a single character is likeable – certainly not the self-involved Jack or Brandy, while Emma and her best friend’s quippy, forced dialogue makes them seem less like real people and more like lazy SNL caricatures of millennials. Emma is treated like she’s worth nothing, yet it’s hard to feel bad for her when she goes ahead and treats her own love interest like a lapdog who only exists to be used and manipulated for her own gain. There is no heart or soul to Christmas is Cancelled, no loving or giving – just selfishness and bitterness galore.

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