A Not So Merry Christmas Review: That Most Cliched of Holiday Films A Not So Merry Christmas (currently streaming on Netflix) is the best film of 2022. It is a high-concept comedy directed by the Mexican filmmaker Mark Alazraki. There's this guy who isn't merry enough for the holidays & as a result, he has to spend eternity reliving the day he despises until he either goes completely bonkers or realizes what the hell is going on. Which is it, & how invested will we be in his plight? Let's look into this.
A Not So Merry Christmas Plot Synopsis
Chuy was not a fan of either Christmas or preparing a holiday meal for others. He put in a lot of time & effort to organize the party, but not even his guests could top out at giving him a pair of gifts each. While out Christmas shopping, he gave a homeless man a flat Coke in lieu of cash. He made random purchases of presents. He did not appreciate the customs that made him provide money. Chuy was against her goals of becoming a mom & an entrepreneur.
He felt sure that she would have trouble juggling both. He seemed hesitant to help her out monetarily. His family had come to celebrate Christmas & his 41st birthday with him at his apartment, as was their custom, but Chuy's pessimism soured the mood. He made fun of Nouri & Roberta, his sisters, for changing their diets & embarking on an adventure without him. He made fun of Ale & Esteban's recent relationship. As a result, he was taken aback to see that his sibling had abandoned his own flat in favor of a tent on their parent's property.
After Chuy publicly reprimanded his family for hypocrisy, they left the dinner table. A lone bartender greeted him as he walked into the deserted establishment. Chuy was taken aback by the fact that they recognized him despite never having met him. The bartender warned Chuy that he was on Santa's bad side & that the beggar he had seen that morning was a sign that he had bombed a quiz.
When the bartender revealed they were Chuy's diva godmother, it brought him some comfort. Even though Chuy didn't put much stock in his godmother at first, she ended up having a profound impact on his life. He was, in fact, experiencing Christmas all over again, just as the Diva Godmother had promised. The morning after each new birthday or holiday, his family would rejoice. The Christmas trip helped him grow up & see how his poor choices affected his family. If Chuy reads the Christmas story, does he think he'll change?
A Not So Merry Christmas Review
At first, I mistook “A Not So Merry Christmas” for another narrative of a miraculous Christmas event. In any case, the summary made me reconsider. Who doesn't enjoy the classic time loop scenario, where the protagonist is trapped in an endless cycle until they finally do the one thing that will set them free? Oh, I get it. However, it missed the mark on this occasion. The plot of this Mark Alazraki film, which also features a time loop, is identical to that of his last picture. One person who despises Christmas is Chuy.
Angry over a disappointing Christmas Eve meal with the family, he storms out of the house & into a nearby bar. An enchantment cast by a fairy godmother there causes him to relive the same Christmas day annually. This comes with a caveat, though. The remaining events of the year will be completely forgotten by him. The movie's length of 1 hour & 40 minutes had me thinking that time-travel plot twists would be a piece of cake.
A handful of times a year, however, it might be difficult to see Chuy make the same mistakes over & over again. And by the time the film had been going on for an hour, I was ready to leave. The fact that Chuy is such an unlikeable protagonist makes the picture more difficult to sit through. The writers seem to have concocted the “he won't remember anything that happened in a year” narrative to excuse their character's callousness toward his family & the holiday season. And I have many inquiries as well, such as why the fairy godmother decided to reverse the spell after ten years. He is unchanged by the curse's duration.
Once the spell is broken, he sees what he has given up for good. But if he kept repeating the same day over & over again, how was he meant to learn from his mistakes the other 364 days of the year? It was actually the departure of his wife that opened his eyes to his own shortcomings. Would he have come to terms with his mistakes sooner if she'd left, say, five years ago? We can only speculate. Weaknesses in the plot may have been remedied with greater development.
Instead of wrapping up Chuy's reformation in the final 20 minutes like a Christmas miracle. The writers should have made it more of a gradual process. There are some bright spots, though. I enjoyed watching him struggle to evade responsibility. He provides orphans with financial aid & food, arranges for the delivery of ready-to-eat meals & so forth. Yet the issue is that he never really speaks from the depths of his soul. Other than Chuy, the other characters in this Christmas film are merely there to fill up the running time.
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