Tuesday, November 25, 2014

"A Merry Friggin' Christmas" Review - Written by Tim Hellman

'A MERRY FRIGGIN' CHRISTMAS': Four Stars (Out of Five)

Dark comedy Christmas movie featuring Robin Williams in one of his last completed film roles. The movie also stars Joel McHale, Lauren Graham, Clark Duke, Wendi McLendon-Covey, Tim Heidecker, Candice Bergen and Oliver Platt. It was directed by Tristram Shapeero; a TV director, most well known for directing several episode of 'COMMUNITY' (also starring McHale). The screenplay was written by first time film writer Michael Brown and tells the story of a father trying to make an eight-hour round trip, to get forgotten presents for his son, by Christmas morning. I found the movie to be very TV formulaic but also boldly funny (hilarious in places).

Boyd Mitchler (McHale) had his illusions of Santa Claus shattered for him, by his drunken father Mitch (Williams), at a very young age. He doesn't want that magical childhood belief, in Santa, to be ruined for his son, Douglas (Pierce Gagnon), by anyone. Boyd hates his father, for an upbringing of abuse, and hasn't spoken to him in years. So when his younger brother, Nelson (Duke), asks him to come to his new son's baptism, in the town they grew up in, it's a nightmare for Boyd. Especially when he realizes he forgot his son's Christmas presents, late Christmas Eve, and decides to make an eight-hour round trip to get them (before morning). His dad comes along to help out.

The film feels just like a TV movie, and for that reason I couldn't get into it at first, but the more I watched it the more I realized how funny it really is. The performances are all great (especially Williams, Duke and Heidecker) and the screenplay is brilliant; it's that funny. The TV style directing and poor production values do bring the overall feel of the film down a bit but I still think it could be a Christmas movie classic (for some people). I wouldn't mind seeing it again, at least a few more times. It's a really good film for Williams to exit cinema with as well (although it's not his last). He hadn't made anything this funny in years!

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