Almost Christmas review
We’re only a week away from Thanksgiving, and yet most people seem to be planning their holiday season before they even think about turkey. While I wish that the November holiday got a little more attention, who can blame people from wanting to bring in the magic of the Christmas season? Our world is now dazzled in bright lights, red and green colors all over, and a chance to better relationships. Something about life seems warmer whether were selecting a tree or the living room, lighting a new candle for Chanukah, or simply wishing someone a better new year.
For a lot of people, the holidays mean having to visit family. I think it’s safe to say that no matter who we love, there is at least one person in your family that you’d rather not speak to on a daily basis. So why do we put a lot of focus on our family gatherings if we know that things won’t change? I think it’s a matter of both keeping tradition, but of also gratefulness. The odd feeling with family is at least some feeling as we could be in a position without any loved ones (like how some people are unfortunately in that position). One family in Almost Christmas deals with a father trying to bring his kids together without drama.
In Atlanta, Georgia, the Meyers family seems to be a nice crew of people to be with around the holidays. The patriarch, Walter (played by Danny Glover) is a retried mechanic who has let his wife Grace handle the majority of the meal planning while letting their four children run amuck. Tragically, Grace dies from an unspecified heart condition, making Walter question just how he can handle his old home and keeping his adult children together.
First to arrive is his eldest daughter Charyl (played by Kimberly Elise) who is a dentist and has brought her husband former basketball star Lonnie (played by J.B. Smoove) and their daughter. Next is eldest son Malachi (played by Romany Malco) who is trying to spend time with his family while running for congress. Then we have youngest daughter Cheryl (played by Kimberly Elise), whose seems to be in between jobs while raining her daughter. Finally we have youngest son Evan (played by Jessie Usher) who is a football star at his college. Oh, and Grace’s sister aunt May (played by Mo’Nique) Can Walter manage to keep the family at peace in his first Christmas without his wife?
The trouble with trying to get out a good Christmas movie (and I LOVE Christmas films) is all about creating realistic conflict that we can relate to and why the holidays are a good time to resolve them. Almost Christmas plays off like a lot of those television movies on Hallmark, which usually means that their never great. This is defiantly no Christmas Vacation, Home Alone, or Elf, but this is far from even the worst. The movie has its moments where it’s drama seems genuine, especially whenever it focuses on Danny Glover and his children.
While I’d like to follow Glover, the rest of the family doesn’t have much interesting. I don’t blame it on the actors, but the script gives them cliché moments like the cheating husband, the father that works too hard, or the grief of loosing a mother. I don’t have a problem with any of this, but Almost Christmas doesn’t find any new ways to tell that story. As I said, actors like Danny Glover, Mo’Nique, and J.B. Smoove did get a laugh out of me and are enough to keep the movie going when it needs to.
I’ll give this three sweet potato pies out of five. At it’s worst, its boring. But at it’s best, it’s inoffensive. As far as Christmas movies goes, I could easily see this playing on a Sunday afternoon on Hallmark or TNT. Those that aren’t bothered by tired story elements will probably find this one passable. I doubt I’ll spend more time with the Meyers family, but don’t see any reason for other people to join them.