Almost Christmas

2016

Comedy / Drama

42
Rotten Tomatoes Critics - Rotten 48%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience - Upright 69%
IMDb Rating 6 10 3409

Synopsis


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January 25, 2017 at 05:16 PM

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804.36 MB
1280*720
English
PG-13
23.976 fps
1hr 51 min
P/S 9 / 50
1.67 GB
1920*1080
English
PG-13
23.976 fps
1hr 51 min
P/S 5 / 39

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by NileFortnerBoogieBuddha954 7 / 10

It's overall barely lovable but has some funny momoents.

We just got finished stuffing our faces with turkey, pie, yams, macaroni and cheese and stuffing. Before we can even go back for seconds, and pack away some leftovers, we get flooded with holiday themed entertainment. Almost Christmas, is the first holiday themed movie to hit the big screen. It is the latest Christmas film that represents the entire dysfunctional family getting together for Christmas. I know what you are thinking, and the answer is yes. This type of film has been done so many times before. The dysfunctional family ripping at each other's throats, using profanity at each other and by the end of the movie, they are all smiling, drinking eggnog (elf cum just kidding) and singing Kumbaya while looking at a glaring Christmas tree. On the other hand, this film truly does have an all-star cast, the director has improved from his last film, it is entertaining, and this film is a nice way to start the holiday season.

Written and directed by David E. Talbert (Baggage Claim), the film depicts a family coming together for the holidays soon after their beloved matriarch has died. Widower Walter Meyers, played by Danny Glover (Lethal Weapon, The Color Purple), a well-off, retired automotive engineer, hosts the gathering at his comfortable home in Birmingham, Alabama (Even though the movie was filmed in Georgia).

The attendees include Cheryl, played by Kimberly Elise (For Colored Girls, Diary of a Mad Black Woman), Walter's oldest daughter; her sister Rachel, played by Gabrielle Union (Meet Dave, The Birth of a Nation), with whom she has a contentious relationship; oldest son Christian, played by Romany Malco (The 40 Year Old Virgin, The Love Guru), an ambitious politician running for Congress; and much younger son Evan (Jessie T. Usher), who's becoming hooked on painkillers while recuperating from a recent sports injury. Along with other cast members J.B. Smoove, Mo'Nique, Omar Epps, Gladys Knight, John Michael Higgins, and Nicole Ari Parker.

So, the first thing I would like to talk about is the cast. Oh my God, this is a good cast, and it is the cast that makes this movie so much better than what it should be. I know I mentioned how this films plot is something a majority of people have seen, especially in the Christmas genre. But, the cast really lights things up this holiday season (that pun wasn't intended, and if it was it was pretty lame). The real stand out cast members are J.B. Smoove (Hall Pass, The Sitter) and Mo'Nique (Precious, Phat Girlz). Mo'Nique is hilarious as the wig-wearing, ready to fight, drunk, name-dropping Aunt May, who has "performed" for Mick Jagger and Chaka Khan and enjoys imparting all of her wisdom to Walter and her nieces and nephews. I never thought I would say this, but Danny Glover has literally been out performed by everyone! Really, the cast is the redeeming quality for this film. One thing I have to get off my chest is the character Jasmine, played by Keri Hilson. God Lord was that lady fine!

Also, this film is a comedy and a drama. The movie does have some decent laughs, but nothing really very new. The best comedy bits really do come from Mo'Nique and J.B. Smoove, and it is usually through dialogue. The director did improve from his last film, so I feel like he is getting more efficient with filmmaking. Where this movie falls flat is the script. The script is so generic and been there done that type of story, even for a holiday themed movie. Similarly, I would consider this more of a comedy than a drama. The drama is a little bland. Its most dramatic plot elements revolve around Walter's ability to replicate his late wife's sweet potato pie recipe and his decision to possibly sell the family house without informing his children. Danny Glover's youngest son Evan is addicted to painkillers in the movie, and that should have been a little more dramatic. When a pie is more in depth with development and more dramatic than his son being an addict, I think, that is when the script should have some re-writes. Maybe, the son could have overdosed, become more violent towards family members, clutch his chest while singing deck the halls, fall backwards into the Christmas tree and suddenly stopped breathing, anything really. I just feel like that character was underwritten.

So these are my final B*tchin' Buddha thoughts on the film Almost Christmas. The films plot is a little weak, but has a cast that keeps it strong. We get all our usual Christmas movie moments. Putting a giant Santa Claus statue on the roof that doesn't go according to plan, kids giving words of wisdom to adults in need, a character putting his family first and work second, joyful dancing in the living room, and the big surprise at Christmas dinner. I hope I didn't spoil the movie for anyone, because none of these elements in a Christmas movie are new. On the other hand, families will enjoy it, it will get you in the holiday spirit, and I personally had a good time. I am going to give Almost Christmas a…

7 out of 10!

Thank you all so much for reading and or viewing. The holidays are around the corner, so I hope you all enjoy yourselves. Don't worry, after the holidays it is back to work, school, and hittin' the gym to shred off all that turkey weight. I hope you all enjoyed this quick review, and remember don't just get down but get Boogie. :)

Reviewed by James Profetto 5 / 10

It ends on a feel-good note and is tolerable, but it just doesn't bring enough to the table to break out of its generic shell.

For the record, I love Thanksgiving and am not a fan of putting up Christmas trees this early, but I can appreciate a feel-good holiday film anytime of the year.

Unfortunately for director David E. Talbert, this delivered few laughs and some grunts and sighs. It's to be expected, though, as these sorts of films make their rounds ad nauseam during the holidays.

Almost Christmas brings together a recognizable cast, which includes Danny Glover, Mo'Nique and Gabrielle Union, that surely makes the characters more appealing to moviegoers. The premise for this film surrounds a family reunion during Christmas in Birmingham, Alabama, months after Walter's (Glover) wife, Grace, dies. The once- functional family struggles to get along due to implicit and explicit frustrations among one another.

Ain't No Woman Like the One I Got by the Four Tops softly plays in the background as a very quick opening montage through the years shows how Walter, Grace and their family loved each other. What struck through the first half hour was a sense of composure, which some of these one-time holiday films usually fail to achieve.

As the five-day countdown until Christmas began, the comedic writing by Talbert kicked into gear and shoved more of the serious tones out of the window. Aunt May (Mo'Nique) is very outspoken and makes her presence known from the minute she appears. Most of the personal insults come from her, but not all were cringe-worthy. I even found myself laughing in-between the more heavy-handed jokes, but it was almost too obvious in moments that the stage was her's.

However, there were far too many cheesy moments and exactly that: heavy-handed jokes. Yeah, we get it, children love their iPhones and documenting everything for social media. But do we need to hear them shout, "Worldstar!"? Yeah, we also get that Uncle Lonnie (J.B. Smoove) is making Santa Claus butt jokes, but you don't need to linger on the fact that they're butt jokes. Make 'em and move forward, except for the Worldstar joke. Don't ever make that joke again.

The movie also introduces Jessie T. Usher for the first time since Independence Day: Resurgence. Usher plays Evan, Walter's son and a star college football athlete who has everything, yet is addicted to painkillers he was prescribed for his once-injured shoulder. The film uses his drug use to teach a lesson later in the film that was oddly placed in-between another conflict.

Rachel (Union) and her sister, Cheryl (Kimberly Elise), have a bad relationship to boot which ends up being the best relationship/conflict throughout the film. The other relationships were … eh, forgettable. There's a weaker subplot which involves Christian (Romany Malco), Walter's son-turned-politician, and it feels like it's no more than a stopgap for the "Christmas miracle" of the film. It was added to the list of generic moments triggered by the film's screenplay.

Glover adds little to the film as it moves on other than stopping arguments and reminding his children and family that they need to love rather than shout. It's understandable why he's soft-spoken throughout the entire film after losing his wife, but this showcases that his best acting days may be behind him.

I feel the movie will resonate well with audiences that can truly relate to the dysfunction of dinners during the holidays. There were many specific moments where the theater was in raucous laughter and others that struck heartstrings. There's fun found in a dancing scene, and Almost Christmas ends as it began: with the Four Tops. Seriously speaking, it ends on a feel-good note and is tolerable, but it just doesn't bring enough to the table to break out of its generic shell.

Reviewed by subxerogravity 7 / 10

Very good Christmas movie lots of fun and lots of laughs

I thought the movie was put together well for the most fun effect.

Really like the opening montage that explained the family origins and the plot of the movie. Done very well.

Love the very well known black cast that fills the film. The only people who I never seen before were the actors playing the children. Although I cannot recall if these actors have worked together before (With the exception of Romany Malco, Nicole Ari Parker and J B Smooth all being cast members of Kevin Hart's show Real House Husbands of Atlanta), I did see some good chemistry among the cast.

Yes, a lot of it was cliché with typical family archetypes like Kimberly Elise as Cheryl, the older sister who has got her life together (on the surface anyway) and judges her little sister Rachel, played by Gabrielle Union for not having hers together, and Jesse T. Usher as Evan, the young bratty baby brother whose the most emotional and it sends him down a dark path.

But the cast is amazing, made up of seasoned players who are experts in the roles they play. I really liked Danny Glover as the center of the household force to keep it together as the family celebrate their 1st Christmas without his wife, the real backbone of the family. JB Smooth was real funny, but Mon'Niqe was really killing it as Aunt May. Every laugh out loud joke in it, she was a part of.

It's a well played hand. The clichés are just that, but the cast is good at bringing life to them enough to take you off your guard with laughter and get you all choked up about celebrating the holiday season with your family.

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