Ha! So we had a quiet year last year (as in, I didn’t write any festive movie reviews) but this year, I’m going to make a concerted effort to actually create a few of these for your seasonal delectation.
You’d best believe that ALL of our favourite Christmas Movie Cliches are back: the rubbish snow; the romance that can be seen coming from outer space; the couple that breaks up, but you just know they’ll be back together by 24th December; Santa in an unexpected location; one of Santa’s relatives in an expected location…
I think we all need a laugh as we bring the nightmare that was 2016 to a close, so I’m going to be doing my best to help.
We’re kicking off with a new one, the 2010 holiday CLASSIC, Christmas Mail.
Our story is set in the United States Postal Service. No, wait, come back! Our hero is Kristi North (Ashley Scott), the woman employed to reply to letters that children send to Father Christmas. Except she’s a little bit ‘kooky’ (plus she really does not seem to get that you have to actually write more than one letter per day in order to justify a salary of any kind) so the big boss man no like. Our other hero, his name is Matt (AJ Buckley), is a postman whose hair is a continuity nightmare, half the time it’s short and neat, the other half longer and messy, sometimes within the same scene.
Both of the main actors look a little bit like someone else, and it’s very confusing. If any of you can work out who they remind me of, please comment.
Anyway their scrooge of a boss, Lochlyn, is suspicious of Kristi because she doesn’t fit in. Let you in on a secret: IT’S COS HER DAD’S FATHER BLOODY CHRISTMAS! He sends her to a different postcode every year to write to the kiddies! She works two months a year, which sounds pretty great! Lochlyn’s suspicions are such though, that he gets Matt to spy on Kristi to try to find out – I’m not sure what?
Spy he does though, turning up at her house, inviting her to his, falling in love with her, you know the drill.
It is at this point that Kristi affects one of my favourite tropes, from any genre of movie, transforming herself from slightly dowdy bookworm to mega-babe, all by taking her glasses off and shaking out her hair. Any film that does this can go fuck itself.
So yeah, anyway, for some reason Kristi thinks that Matt is married because he has a child and is tempted to run a mile but then it turns out that the child is his niece (phew!) and he’s not married, but his sister and brother-in-law died and left him the child in their will. Confusingly they never actually mentioned this to him.
The threat of having an affair gone, Kristi goes to ice Christmas cookies with Matt and his not-child and another woman, I never figured out her relationship to them but she seems very nice. Cookie-icing is another of my favourite crap Christmas movie cliches, so I was very pleased to see it turn up so early in the season. We also learn that Matt is some sort of prodigy on the guitar (he’s pretty bad at acting as if he is though) and then he and his niece perform a frankly awful song in front of a frankly awful Christmas tree.
Kissing ensues, but we know it won’t last long, because next day at work the bossman reveals to Kristi that he got Matt to spy on her! Duh! So she runs away in tears with her dog and her suitcase, despite Matt pleading that he had to spy on her cos if he didn’t, he’d lose his job.
(Side note: every now and again Kristi is on the phone to her dad, and he goes “ho ho ho” a lot, so the message is well and truly rammed home that she’s Santa’s kid)
Anyway then one of her colleagues writes to the Postmaster General to say she needs to come back? It seems like this could all be very easily rectified if anyone just spoke to anyone else properly and sensibly (you know how I feel about these situations), but then I stopped concentrating for about 30 seconds and when I turned back the boss had been fired, and Matt and his nice colleague are running the post sorting office?
Nice Colleague tells him to go and look for Kristi, but obviously she’s done a runner. Nice Colleague then somehow gets hold of Kristi via a man who IMDB describes as ‘Mysterious Letter Carrier’ and tells HER to go and look for Matt. But then he’s somehow going on tour as a musician? So Nice Colleague and Kristi nick a post van and nearly cause a massive road accident, but you’ll be relieved to hear, catch up with Matt and yay, they’re in love again and Kristi’s going on tour with him. THE END.
This whole film has a great premise but it’s all far too insane and disjointed for me to have really enjoyed it. Part of the problem was the length. They tried to pack too much into the time they had; I can’t believe I’m saying this, but even another 15 could have allowed for some more explanation.
There’s no rubbish snow in this film because it’s set in California, but there are some very good fairy lights, and there is also an amazing bit at the very end where it is daylight and the middle of the night all in the same scene, which made me laugh OUT LOUD (sorry neighbours) All in all, I was not engaged enough by the characters to overlook this film’s flaws, which is a shame because it had the makings of a very good Christmas movie. It had me wistfully remembering Matchmaker Santa starring Lacey Chabert… *sigh*… and that’s not a thing I ever thought I would be saying.