Oh, my Garland what a pleasant surprise! Christmas movies can get stale, fast, and once you’ve seen “Elf” and “Love Actually”, do you need to watch any more? I didn’t think so until this little gem came along. The fresh and inventive story was such a relief, providing a fun adventure for even the crankiest of scrooges.
Christmas puns and slogans that were integrated into the characters’ speech is so clever it was almost contagious. The script was written perfectly and edited down to perfection. No extra scenes or plot lines which drive me up a chimney (That one was not my fault).
The naiveté and innocence of the characters almost breaks the fourth wall, commenting on how silly the lines and the rest of their world is. But, it’s so charming and hilarious that it somehow makes sense by weaving realism and fantasy together flawlessly. I will attribute most of that success to the all-star cast. With over 50 award statues between the five main characters I’m not totally surprised they pulled this off. Shirley Maclaine is such an icon; it was fun to watch her with the likes of Anna Kendrick who, let’s face it, is a national treasure. Bill Hader can do no wrong in my eyes and if Billy Eichner doesn't start winning awards this season I'm going to shit a brick of coal.
The theme of this movie was also different than most Christmas films because it wasn’t shaming us into being kinder, or suggesting Christmas is for making miracles in between the shopping and the stressing (just me?). Although kindness was included in the message, it wasn’t the main purpose of the story. It suggested that kindness is punk rock these days and it's fun and rebellious to listen and take time for others. I found that message more inspiring than trying to live up to a super model’s scripted miracle of saving the homeless (or something like that). "Traditions change, and it might be scary, but what Christmas means to you is what matters, and traditions are just the wrapping" was one of the most important lines of film and one that I will take with me into this holiday season.
Watch it and watch it again. I think we have a new Christmas classic in our midst!