You might look at the reviews for this film and think that this is going to be a really terrible Christmas movie, but it’s really far from it. The reviews make it seem like a so-bad-it’s-funny type of film, but it’s actually entertaining in its deliberateness. I actually laughed quite a lot. I tried to find the good in this movie and found a lot of it. It could have been better script-wise, and by allowing the presents to have been seemingly lost and magically arriving under the tree would have been a better twist.
Although I liked the film and would watch it again, it could have been a lot better on the technical side. The timeline doesn’t make much sense. You’re never sure where they are in their 4 hour trek between Illinois and Wisconsin. They abruptly appear certain places crossing the same paths with people multiple times in different cities. It’s just confusing if you try to rationalize it. This, along with carless continuity errors in the script, and you have a nitpicker’s dream.
Also, they never settle on a set theme. They sort of go back and forth seeming to forget which direction they want to go. It plays the “Santa is real” game, but then sacrifice its full potential for a “just stop stressing and everything will work out” message, all while trying to mend Boyd and his father’s relationship–a plot culmination that somehow got neglected amidst everything else.
Joel McHale plays Boyd well, who is a very relatable character in many respects. Clark Duke is also very good as Boyd’s younger brother, Nelson. However, Robin Williams and Candice Bergen don’t bring much of anything to their roles–especially chemistry with each other. And since when did Lauren Graham become such a bad actress?
With a little more pedantic attention this movie would have appealed to even the harshest of critics. But there are some very funny in-jokes and scenarios that kept me laughing, and I appreciate the messages that come across. I can see this movie becoming somewhat of a cult film in the future.