By: Henry J. Fromage (Five Beers) –
Last Christmas stars Clarke as a young “former Yugoslavian”/British woman apparently hell-bent on drinking and sleeping herself into the early grave she avoided the previous Christmas when she, well, nearly died. Christmas is kind of the whole thing of the film, considering she’s dressed as an elf roughly 75% of the film due to her job working in a year-round Christmas store run by a imperious woman named Santa (Michelle Yeoh) and, as the holiday draws closer, meets a dashing young man played by the craziest, richest asian himself, Henry Golding. Tune in to see if she learns to live again, and stuff.
Emilia Clarke and Henry Golding are certainly an attractive couple, and Golding really cements his place as possibly Romantic Lead Numero Uno in the current moment.
However, Emma Thompson as Clarke’s Old Country, “former Yugoslavian” mother just absolutely steals the show, from her perfectly morose lullabies to her every accented quip.
Finally, the bad Christmas ornaments really are amusingly awful.
Almost all of the rest of the humor is some mixture of cheesy, telegraphed, or weirdly insincere. If I didn’t already know Paul Feig directed this, I would never have believed you- perhaps Emilia Clarke doesn’t exactly sport a Melissa McCarthy level of comic chops.
Honestly, in all respects it’s impossible to tell Feig directed this. After bringing so much character to the departure in form that A Simple Favor represented, this is one of the more anonymous romantic comedies in years. At times it seems like he’s attempting an arch/corny Bridget Jones’s Diary sort of tone, while in others… maybe Richard Curtis? At no point does the director of Bridesmaids or Spy surface, however.
I’m going to preface this by saying that if you’re some sort of George Michael superfan who’s been earnestly waiting for a jukebox musical of his material, then by all means- skip this beer and call this a four-fer.
Verily, an icon of art & style.
For everyone else like me who properly appreciates somewhere in the range of 1.5 George Michael songs, you can’t help wondering whether certain scenes would have been better off underlined by just about any other song. They sure don’t skimp.
I’m not going to spoil the big twist of this film, but I’ll give you a hint- it’s in the lyrics of one of those George Michael songs, and when you realize which your eyes will never stop rolling.
Last Christmas is an erstwhile romantic comedy with a truly bugnuts and yet oddly guessable conceit that would do Nicholas Sparks proud.
Last Christmas (2019) Drinking Game
Take a Drink: whenever somebody looks up or is exhorted to
Take a Drink: whenever Kate sleeps in a new place for the night
Take a Drink: whenever somebody sings a George Michael song
Take a Drink: whenever the specter of Brexit emerges
Do a Shot: for every pet and/or art project that is obliterated