Last Christmas (NC16)
Starring Emilia Clarke, Henry Golding, Michelle Yeoh
Directed by Paul Feig
Bridesmaids director Paul Feig’s London-set Yuletide rom-com is well-meaning but woefully muddled. Emilia Clarke stars as Kate, an emotional trainwreck who’s estranged from her family and friends.
Enter Henry Golding’s Tom, the mysterious hunk who appears out of nowhere (something he does very often in the movie, and you wonder why...hmmm) to help Kate sort her s**** out amid Brexit anxieties (Kate and her family are immigrants from former Yugoslavia), a soundtrack of gems by the late George Michael (the title is lifted from a Wham! song), and homeless shelters (a pet cause of Michael’s).
If the trailers had you thinking that this is another Love, Actually, buyer beware: it isn’t. Last Christmas is overstuffed, undercooked, and curiously flat. Clarke and Golding are charming together (in a fashion shoot kind of way) but their cuteness alone isn’t enough to keep things interesting.
Where’s the comic cavalry to alleviate the doldrums? Where’s Feig regular Melissa McCarthy when you need her? Instead we have Emma Thompson (who’s also the co-writer) and Michelle Yeoh.
Alas, their characters — Thompson as Kate’s heavy-accented mum, Yeoh as Santa (seriously, that’s what they call her), the owner of a Christmas shop where Kate works — are one-note and cringe-inducing.
So what does that leave us? The George Michael songs (including the posthumous track ‘This is How (We Want You to Get High)’, duh. But surely there are other ways to appreciate his legacy than sitting through this festive turkey? (**1/2)