Convoluted story and lack of comedy.
|Worst. Christmas. Ever. has such a tough hill to climb. It sets some pretty big goals for itself given all the chaos happening in the plot description, but falls very flat. Low production quality issues combined with poorly defined characters keeps the audience too far removed from the action that is supposed to be occurring but never really comes.||2020 |
Directed by: Johnny Chechitelli
Screenplay by: Johnny Chechitelli
Starring: Raychael Lane, Leonardo Mancini
This is very low budget. I would love to be more forgiving (and in some sections I will be) but the obvious limitations in production has a huge impact on how wild or adventurous this story can be and the result is mostly tame action in a very convoluted story.
The beginning features a number of animated sections which seems like it could be an ingenious way to work in all the violent criminality which should be on going. However, jumping back and forth between animation and live action hurts the continuity and audiences are already going to have a hard time feeling connected to this story. The drawing in the animation has nice detail and a vivid style, but then the animation gets dropped entirely.
Back to the story. The lead character is Sophia a blond-haired daughter of trash who dates trash and gets pregnant by trash and then turns into a criminal. Based on the plot description, the story should be wildly comedic and way more eventful than it actually is. It’s actually very slowly-paced, and not interesting and not funny. It’s crass but that does not always equal funny.
Most of the acting is very poor. Not surprising given the use of local actors in a low budget production, but it does mean a lot of poorly delivered dialogue and zero emotional connection to the characters. The lead, Raychael Lane, has her moments. She does well with a bit of narration and really fit her character; I can understand Sophia’s actions, more so than any of the others. I will however highlight Wuyu Wantatah who plays a well-meaning, very misguided, alcoholic step-father and makes all of his appearances funny. Hopefully this leads him to bigger and better things.
I like the locale. It’s set in East Jesus, Ohio, a fictional town that’s low on income but resembling a real town. It’s shot in small towns throughout eastern Ohio and feels very much like a town people actually live in -- I think I have seen way too many New York based movies and small fictional towns filmed in a studio lot movies, so I really like the setting. It looks and feels like Christmas, so that’s a plus.
The music and style of the film suggest the filmmakers have a distinctive voice, but I don’t think Worst. Christmas. Ever. is the movie to make when production capabilities are so limited.