5.5/10 As the Christmas season approaches, so does the horde of holiday films sent to capitalize on everyone’s Christmas spirit. “Last Christmas”, inspired by the music of George Michael and Wham!, is just like Michael’s body of music. Light, charming but ultimately forgettable. There are some things that really work here. Co-leads Emilia Clarke and Henry Golding are very charming, have solid chemistry and have finally lived up to their movie potential after some really mediocre/bad movies like “Terminator: Genisys”, “Solo: A Star Wars Story”, “A Simple Favor” and “Crazy Rich Asians”. Like a well-lit Christmas tree, their careers seem to be getting very bright. There is a sweetness and emotional sincerity on display here that not only gets you into the Christmas spirit but also just makes you feel good, which was very refreshing. A homeless shelter subplot is cheesy but will make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside, especially during this time of year. The soundtrack feels like a marketing ploy to sell George Michael’s music to the masses but it overall does work well in context of the movie. The production and costume design really set the mood for the holiday atmosphere and Michelle Yeoh is fun in her supporting role. There are a few lumps of coal that plague this movie, however. The plot has been similarly done in other movies which I won’t list for spoilers sake but there are shades of other superior films on display here. At a time when turning off our brains from current events and politics to come together for a romantic comedy around the holidays sounds fantastic, Hollywood can’t help itself and has to politicize this movie by forcing in completely unnecessary immigration messaging that in no way benefits the movie but instead distracts and feels completely out of place. Michelle Yeoh’s romantic subplot was ridiculous and unbelievable. For a romantic comedy, despite having plenty of lovely romance, there is almost no comedy. I chucked a couple times but there were no truly funny moments here. Despite being a very talented actress, Emma Thompson is too over the top here, as is the movie’s Christmas performance/show near the end which was extremely cheesy. In the end, the enjoyable chemistry of our leads, the warm feelings, emotional arcs and holiday setting can’t overcome a twist that certain trailers spoiled (and some plot holes that come along with it), over the top characters/situations, heavy handed political propaganda and its forgettable nature. A rental around Christmas time at best, but you might want to ask Santa for a better selection of Christmas films this year.
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