by Adam M. Wilcox
I am not one to put down anyone for religion or political beliefs. If prayer and worship brings focus and balance to your life, than I am happy for you, I truly am. Even religious groups have to understand the term “preaching to the choir”, trying to make believers out of people that already believe.
We remember Kirk Cameron from that show Growing Pains in the 80s don’t we? In this film, Kirk Cameron is trying to convince his Christian brother-n-law “Christian White” (this was actually written…); to not be disillusioned by the commercialism of Christmas, and appreciate it for what it’s worth, so that his sister can enjoy her Christmas Party. That’s basically it. Kirk’s Idea of “Saving Christmas”, is to convince a fellow Christian to not be “grumpy” at a Christmas party. Oh boy…
So we open up on Cameron having a fireside chat, drinking an empty mug full of invisible hot chocolate while Cameron tells the audience how much he loves Christmas. Then after literally 8 minutes of setup, the opening credits finally roll. I have never seen this much over prepping of the audience for a movie in my entire life. It is almost like preemptive apology for what we are about to sit through.
After the credits finally finish rolling, Kirk introduces himself to us a second time. Finally we get into some form of interaction with people other than Kirk Cameron. He introduces us to his sister, who is putting on this elaborate Christmas party in a house so big, I could park two Hummers in the foyer. Then we are introduced to Christian (sigh/cringe), interacting with various co-workers and family who are complaining about work related things. Let’s introduce the “God Squad” here. Two men who I assume are meant to represent commercialism…but also happen to be stereo types…which I guess are supposed to be there for “comedic value?” It’s sketchy and makes the cringe go up even further, and may even come off as a little bit racist for some. I will get back to “The God Squad” thing later. After that scene, Christian disappears out to his car, and sadly that is where the majority of the film takes place. Kirk Cameron talking to a Christian in a car. Are we having fun yet! Christmas!!!
The rest of the movie is a series of vignettes where Kirk Cameron explains to his brother in law about how is wrong about the commercialism, and that the Christmas Tree, Santa Claus, and Nutcrackers are actually linked to Jesus, and key events in the Bible. Regardless about how you may, or may not feel about the message, there is a certain way of doing things. One might, I don’t know…wrap the message up in a clever sort of story with a narrative that makes one think about the meaning, or we can just go in heavy handed as possible. This one is so heavy handed that, I needed to put ice on my face to reduce the swelling. I am not even going to repeat some of this nonsense, I will let you look it up, but they DID save the best for last, by making Santa Claus…AKA Saint Nicolas a bad ass character for Lord of the Rings smiting people while dub step is playing in the back round. I guess this is so the teens can see Santa as a hip dude? In my opinion, some of these explanations are up there with Flat Earthers, or people who think that The Shining revealed how Stanley Kubrik tried to tell the world about how he faked the footage of the moon landing. My biggest problem however, is not the messages themselves, it is about the tone deafness of these two people in the car. Everything Kirk says….Christian responds with the ooh, and ahs of man who just discovered fire. The very first thing Kirk says after Christian wines for about 5 minutes about why he’s grumpy is “your wrong about everything”. The entire discussion, no the ENTIRE MOVIE feels like the product of a white man who has spent days on end arguing with people on social media. Nobody in the history of life has ever responded well to “your wrong about everything”; have you ever even seen Twitter bro?! This movie came out in 2014, so I know social media was a thing, I was using it, and I was one of the last people to show up to that party.
After our clever explanations about how presents, trees, and decorations, are about Jesus, we finally see Christian emerge from his car, and slowly walk into the house. Speaking of slow…this movie has a run time of about an hour and 19 minutes, and somehow feels longer than Spielberg’s Lincoln movie. I feel like I aged 5 years after watching this.
Now I was about to give this one a pass, and maybe give it one star for at least trying to bring some kind of good to somebody, regardless of what I believe, or do not believe in, but the problem is…the movie keeps going. And the longer it goes, the more the cringe starts to beat down on you until it physically hurts. See, Christian doesn’t just go back into the party he goes back into the party in full white people/dad joke mode….sliding in on his belly….seriously. And then like any good comedy, the movie decides to end itself with a big dance off in front of the Christmas tree. It is here where D.J. God Squad comes back drops the base, and we are forced to watch some of the worst dancing in the history of white people, as horrified children look on with all of the enthusiasm of a mandatory high school assembly. FUN!!! Christmas!!!
You would like to think the movie finally ends here, but it doesn’t. Why should it? This movie never seems to know where to start, or where to end, it just goes on for an eternity while you slowly die of old age. There are two post credit scenes that feature out takes, as if this was some sort of clever comedy. The only comedy I found however, was the fact that this movie feels like it was written in an echo chamber separated from a place I call reality. Critics, on Rotten Tomatoes give this a zero percent, and I am not going to tip that scale, I can’t because my sanity forbids it. This is one of the few times, that I have to agree with critics in general. Zero out of 5 cheese curds, avoid at all costs.