So the first trailer for the new Paul Feig (The Office, Freaks and Geeks, Bridesmaids) directed comedy, The Last Christmas just dropped and it looks to be a four-alarm holiday fun-fest designed to entertain and distract weary shoppers this coming 2019 shopping season.
The setup for this yuletide offering is one most people who are even remotely familiar with romantic comedies will recognize almost immediately: A quirky and cynical Kate (the transcendent Emilia Clarke) who toils away in elf garb at a twenty four-seven, three hundred and sixty five day a year Christmas shop meets cute with metrosexual, saint-like Tom (classy Henry Golding) who, when apparently not working on that cure for cancer or extolling efforts to reunite ABBA, is a volunteer at a homeless shelter. Can these two lost souls who are perfectly backlit in an omnipresent golden light unite to bring love into one another’s lives and rediscover the true meaning of Christmas? I’m going to bet my dog-eared vinyl copy of Christmas with the Brady Bunch that they just very well might. No, seriously, and here’s why (drum roll and ceremonial sounding of French horns as I clear my throat and enlighten my reading audience).
Paul Feig is a tremendously talented filmmaker who is worthy of a Nobel Peace Prize just for his superlative work on the American version of The Office alone. But what really assures me that The Last Christmas will not descend into a case of NutraSweet morass is the fact that Emma Thompson (The Remains of the Day, Howard’s End, Sense and Sensibility), one of our finest actresses and scribes, co-wrote the screenplay for this flick. This fact alone buoys up my courage to even suggest to my sensible wife that we might just want to check this new Christmas story out when it hits the mall cineplexes nationwide, never mind that the scenes on showcase in the trailer almost seem to scream for a Randy Newman soundtrack (shudder) or my usual aversion to films – other than that of the Three Stooges – that builds an entire scene around a central character getting splattered in the face by incoming bird droppings. Simply put, I want this to be good. Of course, I also wanted the last two or three Woody Allen movies to be good, too, but hope does spring eternal, at least around my household.
Films centered on Christmas are usually hit or miss and for every It’s a Wonderful Life, Miracle On 34th Street and A Christmas Story I can counter with a million and one stink bombs such as I’ll Be Home for Christmas or Christmas Evil. Which category will The Last Christmas fall under? Odds are already being taken as I type these merry words out in the mecca of the holidays, Las Vegas. Don’t believe me? Just ask my bookie.
All of this is buildup to admit that while watching the trailer for The Last Christmas I had an immediate and favorable reaction simply because the story and the season in which it is set calls to mind one of my favorite and (until now) secret compulsions – I love, love, love Hallmark Christmas movies and, if you took away the very brilliant George Michael soundtrack which this new movie features, along with about twenty million dollars of the budget, what it appears we’re left with is the equivalent of such modern day Christmas via Hallmark Channel classics as A Christmas Detour, A Christmas Prince, Christmas On Honeysuckle Lane and A Wish for Christmas. In fact, upon first viewing this new trailer I immediately began investigating whether or not the Hallmark Channel might covertly be funding this orgy of Holiday tidings. At first glance that would be a big No, but stay tuned as I dig deeper to connect my favorite cheesy channel to my new favorite cheesy trailer for The Last Christmas.
The Last Christmas hits movie theaters (and hearts) on November 8, 2019.