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film criticism by maryann johanson | since 1997

This Christmas (review)

When a “heartwarming” holiday movie is this hamfisted, the best response is to slap some pineapple slices on it, throw it in the oven, and serve it for Christmas dinner. It’s the only way to make it palatable. Oh, the Whitfield clan is gathering for the first time in years, bringing all their tedious personal baggage with them, most of which revolves around keeping secrets from one another about simple, ordinary things that no one will care the least about… we certainly don’t, at any rate. There’s not enough genuine drama to fill out its optimistic two-hour runtime, and yet too much is crammed into the few days the family nonsense plays out over: could one cheating husband, say, manage two transcontinental flights, with an evening of illicit nookie in between, in a mere 24 hours? Cripes, it takes my family a week just to get the damn tree up and decorated, and these folks — who are, we’re meant to believe, so upset and agitated with one another that they can barely speak, never mind coordinating revelry — manage that and more in the space of a day or two.

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watch at home

MPAA: rated PG-13 for comic sexual content and some violencerated PG-13 for comic sexual content and some violence

viewed at a private screening with an audience of critics

official site | IMDb

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