Cup of Cheer
As it has passed into December, there can no longer be any begrudging of those who choose to binge the entire canon of Christmas Holiday movies. Beyond Elf and Die Hard lies a cycle of Hallmark movies, produced quickly and cheaply and for maximum confectionary effect. For those who grow weary of every overlit festive rom-com their streaming algorithm throws at them, Cup of Cheer offers a tongue-in-cheek parody.
Mary (Storm Steenson) is a high-achieving go-getter in “the big city” who is assigned a magazine story in a seasonal small-town tourist trap (her hometown, naturally). In a classic meet-cute, the journalist bumps into Chris (Alexander Oliver), a grouchy barista, when he accidentally pours an entire bucket of hot chocolate over her. Soon, they’re forced to stay together through the season as they fight to save Chris’ cocoa café – The Cup of Cheer – from closure. Meanwhile, a time-travelling Prince shows up, preceded by whacky circumstances and playful character names like Rudolph Hitler and Chris Miss.
Cup of Cheer particularly recalls ironic David Wain parody comedies like They Came Together, a collection of one-liners and visual gags that amplify the genre while paying tribute to the gears and tropes that make storytelling possible. This takes the audience to bizarre and depraved places, like a baking montage that includes bleeding eyes, or a bathroom confrontation with shots of the antagonist wiping excrement onto his hands. These non-sequiturs move fast, poking fun at the tiny elements that make up the film and highlighting how our collectively ruined attention spans encourage cinema to be experienced subliminally. The picture outstays its welcome a little – tightening some of the longer sketches would have given the feature a healthier zip – but Cup of Cheer will rescue those tearing their hair out at saccharine holiday movies by offering a healthy dose of cynicism.
Cup of Cheer is released digitally on demand on 7th December 2020.
Watch the trailer for Cup of Cheer here: