Best. Christmas. Ever! Movie Review Rating:

Star Cast: Heather Graham, Brandy Norwood, Jason Biggs, Matt Cedeño, Wyatt Hunt

Director: Mary Lambert

Writers: Todd Calgi Gallicano, Charles Shyer

Best. Christmas. Ever! Movie Review
Best. Christmas. Ever! Movie Review Out! (Picture Credit: IMDb)

What’s Good: Clocking in at 80 minutes, the film resembles a festive TV special, embracing familiar Christmas themes. The primary setting, Jackie’s suburban McMansion, exudes comfort, adorned with holiday decorations. Brandy’s musical performance adds a lively touch, and the absurd final act nearly ventures into “so-bad-it’s-good” territory.

What’s Bad: Despite a more interesting pedigree with Charles Shyer co-writing, the film descends into mediocrity, lacking wit and cohesiveness. Unremarkable performances by Jason Biggs and Matt Cedeño, coupled with a lackluster script, contribute to the film’s mundane nature. The set decorations fail to camouflage its shortcomings, and under Mary Lambert’s direction, the potential for dark comedy transforms into a saccharine family movie.

Loo Break: The opportune loo break in this narrative unfolds as Charlotte Sanders, fueled by envy and skepticism, accuses Jackie Jennings and Rob of a secret affair. This pivotal moment propels the plot into a series of misunderstandings, confrontations, and a revelation about Rob’s harmless tradition. As the tensions rise, this point in the storyline provides a natural pause for a bathroom break without missing critical developments. Following this accusation, the film escalates into an elaborate climax involving a solar-powered hot air balloon, making it an ideal juncture for a brief intermission.

Watch or Not?: While not aiming for greatness, “Best. Christmas. Ever!” falls into the realm of Netflix’s low-stakes holiday films. Positioned alongside bigger releases, it may not meet high expectations, but it’s a passable choice for those seeking a light, holiday-themed watch.

Language: English

Available On: Netflix

Runtime: 1h 20m

User Rating:

In “Best. Christmas. Ever!”, Heather Graham’s character, Charlotte Sanders, faces disruptions in her tranquil suburban life each December when confronted by her frenemy, Jackie Jennings (Brandy). A twist of fate places the Sanders family at the Jennings’ doorstep, leading Charlotte to spend the holiday in proximity to her rival. The narrative unfolds as Charlotte investigates the authenticity of Jackie’s seemingly flawless life, blending Christmas themes of love and acceptance.

Best. Christmas. Ever! Movie Review
Best. Christmas. Ever! Movie Review Out! (Picture Credit: IMDb)

Best. Christmas. Ever! Movie Review: Script Analysis

The script of “Best. Christmas. Ever!” stumbles despite the involvement of co-writer Charles Shyer, known for contributing to iconic studio comedies. It fails to delve into the depth of the protagonists’ once-shared friendship, opting for vague conflicts and sidelining the focus on the two women. The potential for dark comedy, hinted at by the premise of rivalries and absurd circumstances, is lost as the narrative transforms into a saccharine family movie overloaded with trivial life lessons. The script’s shortcomings become evident in the fragmented nature of the film, with scenes that never coalesce into defined moments, resulting in an experience that feels more like an extended montage than a cohesive story.

Despite Shyer’s pedigree, the script lacks the wit and basic competency seen in his previous works. The film’s absurd final act, involving an uncontrollable hot air balloon, hints at the potential for a so-bad-it’s-good quality, but it comes too late to salvage the overall flatness that preceded it. The script’s failure to fully capitalize on its intriguing premise, combined with a lack of focus on character dynamics, leaves “Best. Christmas. Ever!” struggling to rise above the mediocrity that has become synonymous with Netflix’s low-stakes holiday films.

Best. Christmas. Ever! Movie Review: Star Performance

Brandy Norwood shines in “Best. Christmas. Ever!” with a tireless and engaging performance, embodying a character whose boastful Christmas newsletters spark both inadequacy and suspicion in Heather Graham’s portrayal of Charlotte Sanders. Brandy’s success story contrasts effectively with Graham’s depiction of a self-defined failure, providing a dynamic that adds depth to the film. However, while Brandy delivers a noteworthy performance, Heather Graham struggles to inject much-needed levity into her comedic scenes, hindered by the film’s lackluster narrative. Despite the unevenness in star performances, Brandy’s energy and charisma elevate the film, making her a standout in an otherwise forgettable holiday offering.

Best. Christmas. Ever! Movie Review
Best. Christmas. Ever! Movie Review Out! (Picture Credit: IMDb)

Best. Christmas. Ever! Movie Review: Direction, Music

Under the direction of Mary Lambert, “Best. Christmas. Ever!” loses the potential for enjoyable wit and takes an unfortunate turn, morphing into a saccharine family movie. Lambert, known for her work on films like “Pet Sematary,” fails to infuse the narrative with the needed energy and balance between sweetness and saltiness. The film’s setting, Jackie’s suburban McMansion, is comfortable yet unremarkable, mirroring a depiction of a happy home in an ad, but Lambert’s direction fails to explore the potential for dark comedy suggested by the film’s premise.

While Brandy Norwood’s musical performance adds a lively touch to the film’s conclusion, the overall music and direction lack the necessary synergy to elevate “Best. Christmas. Ever!” beyond its mediocrity. The soundtrack, though featuring a notable performance, fails to seamlessly integrate with the narrative, and the film’s musical elements struggle to contribute significantly to the overall viewing experience. Mary Lambert’s direction and the film’s musical choices collectively fall short of maximizing the potential for a memorable and engaging holiday movie.

Best. Christmas. Ever! Movie Review: The Last Word

“Best. Christmas. Ever!” falls short of holiday film expectations, settling into mediocrity despite a potential for dark comedy. Hindered by a lackluster script and direction, it serves as a passable, albeit forgettable, addition to Netflix’s holiday lineup.

Best. Christmas. Ever! Trailer

Best. Christmas. Ever! releases on November 16, 2023.

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