(director/writer: Dan Kennedy/Caroline Keene; screenwriter: Caroline Keene; cinematographers: Mathew Cooney/Dan Kennedy; cast: Raye Levine (Lucy Raulie), Joel Murray (George), Susan Gallagher (Carol), Comfort Clinton (Cynthia), Sawyer Spielberg (Sam), Daniel Desmarais (Tim), Neil Casey (Bogie), Marcia DeBonie (Peg), Sophie von Haselberg (Kate); Runtime: 97; MPAA Rating: NR; producers: Genevieve Skehan, Shawn Gauvain, Jamieson Shea, Krista Minto; Freestyle Digital Media/VOD; 2023)

“Though sincere it’s nevertheless a leaden comedy and not much more than a vacuous Christmas drama.”

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

Though sincere it’s nevertheless a leaden comedy and not much more than a vacuous Christmas drama. It’s poorly co-directed by the amateurish first timers Caroline Keene and Dan Kennedy, and written by Caroline Keene as if she was run over by Santa’s reindeer. It’s set in a suburban small town in western Massachusetts (which I believe is Williamstown) during the Christmas holiday season.

It’s seen through the eyes of the unmarried thirty-something Lucy Raulie (Raye Levine), an office worker in Boston, who can’t relate to her unhappy dysfunctional family of her older brother Tim (Daniel Desmarais), who just flew in from Singapore, and her younger Chicago high-powered lawyer sister Cynthia (Comfort Clinton), who has driven back to her childhood home with her boyfriend for a holiday reunion with her estranged family.

On Christmas Eve Lucy’s ditsy, forgetful mom Carol (Susan Gallagher) vanishes, and Lucy might be the one to blame for that because they had a spat a few days before over mom’s wedding album. Thereby she leads the search to find her. The family’s eccentric but lively famous TV host father George (Joel Murray) also shows up for the family’s Christmas celebration and helps in the family search for his long-time divorced wife. The search includes reporting her as a missing person to the disinterested police, a trip to the ice rink and a subplot with the upbeat neighbor George (Joel Murray, playing two roles).

The film is a misfire in every possible way, as the dialogue is awkward, the editing choppy, the plot slight and the acting dreadful. But it can be enjoyable as such a bad film sometimes can be. I didn’t enjoy it but found it watchable if you must watch a Yuletide flick during the holidays.


REVIEWED ON 12/24/2023  GRADE: C