Tuesday, November 14, 2023

EXmas: Movie Review

A comedy first rom-com.
A predictable rom-com, EXmas provides plenty of laughs, some well-earned emotions and the right amount of Christmas. Ali (Leighton Meester) loves the holiday but has nobody to celebrate it with, until her ex-fiancĂ©e’s family invites her to their house. A few Christmas movie reviews ago (for The Christmas Classic), I mentioned that my favourite trope is the ex who is still friends the family, and now we get a whole movie of that and it is exactly as delightful as expected.   2023

Directed by: Jonah Feingold

Screenplay by: Dan Steele

Starring: Leighton Meester, Robbie Amell

Graham (Robbie Amell) wasn’t expected to make it home. His boss gave him a deadline of Christmas day, so he told his parents he was staying in California to work. He didn’t last long alone with his laptop and the stinging disappointment from his parents so he arrived in Minnesota to find Ali already settled in. The good news is that Ali is not the crazy ex who got dumped and is clinging to his family. Ali is the dumper who is still friends with the family who can all see why she broke up with Graham in the first place.

Robbie Amell is aces throughout the movie. He’s funny both when tying to be vindictive and also when he’s clueless about why his relationship ended. The audience can easily see why Ali moved on without him, and the emotion is so genuine when he starts piecing together what he did wrong in their relationship.

The movie is primarily comedy. The entire first half is Graham trying to set up Ali to come across as a crazy person in front his family, and it sometimes works, but because she’s a sweet person who truly is friends with his family, she can keep the upper hand. Even though the pair are trying to provoke the other person, it never comes across as malicious, it’s good-natured ribbing which allows the audience to stay with the joke. It’s always clear that they care about each other a lot. Graham shut her out to focus on work, so Ali left him to figure out life on her own. It’s not hard to see the reconnection which will happen more than once in the second half.

It has a Christmas-heavy score. The opening scenes of Christmas in LA complete with surfing Santas sets the stage for the enjoyable zaniness to come. And just before things go off the rails (which they never actually do because it is a very level-headed movie) there’s usually a string version of a popular Christmas song to make you second guess where things are headed.

EXmas is a very predictable rom-com, but it’s funny with its heart in the right place and has a cast full of enjoyable actors playing enjoyable characters.

This is a big weekend for Christmas movies on the streamers with Netflix's Best. Christmas. Ever! out on Thursday and Disney’s Dashing Through the Snow due out Friday.

Best. Christmas. Ever! is a mess of cynical comedy void of any Christmas cheer and instead replacing it with jealousy, animosity, grief and depression.

Dashing Through the Snow is an off-kilter movie about believing in Santa Claus for the whole family.

Want a different Christmas movie or just more holiday-themed movies? Holiday Movies

Something Similar But Different:

  The Christmas Classic (2023) - Every Christmas cliche wrapped up in one ridiculous bundle.

  Single All the Way (2021) - Funny and sweet with well-meaning hijinks.

(P.S. If you liked what you read, please consider clicking on an ad. It will cost you nothing, but will force the advertisers to pay me something.)