The Netflix holiday comedy film ‘Father Christmas Is Back‘ is directed by Mick Davis and Philippe Martinez, who did the story and also co-produced it with Alan Latham.
Caroline Christmas (Nathalie Cox) and her husband Peter (Kris Marshall) are preparing for a Christmas celebration. Joanna is stressed and puts pressure on her husband to get things perfect. Her mother Elizabeth (Caroline Quentin) shows up as well as John (John Cleese), who was their father’s brother. He is having a secret affair with Elizabeth since Joanna’s father left. Next, her sisters arrive. The condescending Joanna (Elizabeth Hurley) with her boyfriend Felix (Ray Fearon), the bookish Beatles fan Paulina (Naomi Frederick), and her Vicky (Talulah Riley) arrive and they all immediately start bickering. To their shock, their father James (Kelsey Grammer), and his much younger girlfriend Jackie (April Bowlby) arrive, only to add to the chaos.
I would like to say, Grammer, Cleese, and Quentin delivered all of the funny bits in the film and they were there. The three of them deliver some pretty good one-liners, give decent performances, and help round out the rest of the cast. Cleese and Grammer’s chemistry as rival brothers definitely added a bit to the story.
Outside of that, it has all of the grace of a soap opera. I feel like the directors said, “Hey cast, we’re going to break gender norms with the script, so screech as loud as you can.” You might think I am exaggerating, but it just is not so. There was rarely a scene where the female cast did not overact, even in scenes where it was totally unnecessary. It is a shame because they were completely underused in that regard. It is a shame that the directors did not have much imagination on how to use his female performers.
As for the story, it had a decent ending a little over an hour into the movie, but it was like they realized, “dang Netflix gave us a budget to cross the ninety mark,” so they tacked on a totally separate plot and extended the family drama.
The Christmas angle was also sort of lost in the shuffle. Honestly, there was no Christmas magic to make it standout in that area. It could have been tied to any holiday and it would have made no difference.
Bottom line, Father Christmas Is Back is a Christmas film in name only. Not even the talent of its three veteran actors could save it from eventual obscurity.
PARENTAL CONCERNS: Comic violence, Foul language, Suggestive and sexual humor
FAVORITE QUOTE: Oh, shut up.
Check out the trailer below:
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