Sigh, I can’t even be bothered to get into it with this one. It seems that lots of people’s hunger for a jolly end to the year has lead them to put their decorations up early, at least if my town is anything to go by, but for me the same sentiment seems to be manifesting itself in a desire to watch lots of new Christmas movies. Within the last two weeks I’ve seen Jingle Jangle and Happiest Season and buoyed along by these I’ve now watched Noelle, the new Anna Kendrick Santa movie on Disney+. It’s new to those of us in the UK anyway, it was released on the streaming service last December in America.
You can see why I gave it my time, Anna Kendrick and Christmas seem like the perfect match, so full of joy and optimism as they both are. Kendrick plays Father Christmas’ daughter and following the death of the big man, someone needs to inherit the family business. Being faced with the frightening mortality of old Saint Nick is an odd way to start a festive family film but it didn’t do The Santa Clause any harm, arguably, so we’ll let that go.
The problem is that for all the considerable perk of Anna Kendrick, the film is just so flat. Every single joke fails and the whole plot is utterly predictable. It cruises on the likability of all of its cast but it really isn’t enough. I’m not sure Bill Hader has ever had worse material to work with, and he did the deplorable Sausage Party. Only Shirley MacLaine manages to rise above it, which in a sixty five year career with five Oscar nominations and one win and including turns where she is a match for Eastwood, Hepburn, Streep, Sellers, Niven, Lemmon and Nicholson, might just be the most impressive thing she’s ever done.
Nope, that mash up of Winter Wonderland and Here Comes Santa Claus that she did with Snoop Dog in Pitch Perfect 2 is still Anna Kendrick’s greatest contribution to the season.
Don’t bother with this.
The Ripley Factor:
A film where a woman takes on the mantle of one of patriarchy’s most ingrained traditional figures should be something for all feminists to celebrate. It isn’t.