As Christmas approaches, the festive mood invades cinemas, too. The Yuletide film trend can be said to have become a genre unto itself, one that counts a few classics and many forgettable efforts as well. The latest on the list is Almost Christmas, a comedy-drama about a recently widowed father who must keep the family together. His adult children come home for the festive period and must coexist in spite of their many differences. As they spend the five days leading up to Christmas under one roof, all unresolved conflicts come to the surface.
The concept of the dysfunctional family reuniting promises plenty of laughs and drama, but the makers of the film did not develop the idea much further beyond the tried-and-tested. The cast, led by Danny Glover and Mo’Nique, keeps things alive and each actor brings great energy to the story, but this is the only redeeming factor of the movie. The characters are only mildly appealing and even such a strong cast can barely hold together the feeble humour and banal dialogues.
Whatever potential there is is let down by the formulaic, totally unimaginative approach, which makes the storyline seem like an afterthought. The film is jam-packed with clichés, with subplots ranging from the drug-abusing younger son to the workaholic father, to the struggling single mother or the cheating husband. The dramatic episodes are recounted superficially and their outcomes are invariably predictable.
Even allowing for the fact that Christmas features are lighthearted by definition, the total lack of depth and originality, coupled with a scanty offering of humour, makes this movie mediocre at best. Aside from some good performances, there is not much going for Almost Christmas, and there is certainly no justification for a picture with so little to say to last almost two hours. It is not the worst Christmas movie and it may elicit a few laughs, but it is not a film that many will remember or want to see twice.
Almost Christmas is released nationwide on 25th November 2016.
Watch the trailer for Almost Christmas here: