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So as you know, I stopped writing lengthy reviews on this site this year, keeping the blog as more of a film diary of sorts.  Lo and behold,...

Friday, December 19, 2014

Movie Review - Happy Christmas

Happy Christmas (2014)
Starring Anna Kendrick, Melanie Lynskey, Mark Webber, Joe Swanberg, and Lena Dunham
Directed by Joe Swanberg
***This film is currently streaming on Netflix***

I am not a huge fan of the mumblecore genre of film which focuses on low budgeted flicks about twenty somethings with much improvised dialog.  I'm not quite sure I've seen a film that prides itself on being a mumblecore-based flick and enjoyed it.  Unfortunately, Happy Christmas doesn't really change my mind.  Writer-director Joe Swanberg's film isn't the least bit exciting or interesting enough for us to really care about anything occurring in it.

The film's premise is pretty simple:  Jenny (Anna Kendrick) just broke up with her boyfriend and moves in with her brother Jeff (Joe Swanberg), his wife Kelly (Melanie Lynskey), and their toddler son Jude (the absolutely adorable and scene-stealing Jude Swanberg).  Although only slightly younger than Jeff, Jenny acts much younger than her twenty-nine years should show.  She immediately hits the town with her friend Carson (Lena Dunham) and after a night of drinking and pot-smoking, Jenny's lackadaisical attitude stands in stark contrast to Kelly's who has to focus on running a household and taking care of young Jude.

Happy Christmas attempts to have Jenny's carefree lifestyle invigorate Kelly to "want more" out of her life, but that storyline just meanders along without ever really making a statement.  Similarly, any sense of a character arc for Jenny is nonexistent.  I'm not quite sure she learns anything from the beginning of the film to the end of it and I'm fairly certain she was supposed to achieve some sort of enlightenment.

While the actors are all decent, Joe Swanberg's script is just too bland to resonate.  Swanberg's young son Jude is fantastic -- although considering his youthful age, there really wasn't any acting involved, just innate charm -- but the young kid can't buoy an otherwise blasé film.

The RyMickey Rating:  C-

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