Director: Justin G. Dyck
Cast: Jocelyn Hudon, Stephen Huszar, Kelly Rutherford, Rebecca Dalton
Watch Christmas Wedding Planner online in the UK: Netflix UK
We unwrap a different Christmas film from Netflix’s dubious seasonal selection every day. For 12 days. It’s the 12 Days of Netflix.
Containing minimal amounts of Christmas, some Wedding, and zero Planning, Christmas Wedding Planner is probably not the ideal film to get you in the mood for any of these activities, and manages to produce little to no festive spirit – even if throwaway cheesy romance is what you’re looking for.
Director Justin G. Dyck has a CV full of Christmas baubles, but aside from a few shots of decorations and regular snowfall, this effort fails entirely to capture any seasonal magic at all, dedicating itself to the wedding aspect of a plot so predictable that you needn’t watch it to guess every moment, verbatim in some cases.
The market-tested synopsis for this film would have you believe that Kelsey (a happy-go-lucky single wedding planner played by Jocelyn Hudon) is planning her best friend’s wedding when an old face arrives and chaos breaks loose. In reality, several characters with no personality traits whatsoever perform predictable tasks and mishaps in the run-up to a deeply underwhelming ceremony in which more predictable tasks occur. Hudon might be the next Daniel Day-Lewis, for all it matters; Kelsey Wilson is less of a character and more of a smiling shape that leads us through the proceedings.
This is a wire-frame sketch of a harmless Christmas film, except no one had the time, creativity, or budget to use the template to outline any actual plot, characters, or surprises. It’s an undeniable disappointment, because once the title was decided upon, it should really be a slam-dunk from there; low-budget Christmas rom-coms aren’t hard to come by, and often have just enough smiles and snowflakes to keep everyone feeling happy, but this effort is too stereotypical to elicit any reaction at all.
It’s overwhelming how underwhelming it is. The cast, the direction and the script all display the same tedious, flimsy translucence that will leave audiences questioning if there will be any small mercies given. Luckily, there are two, and only two.
Aunt Olivia (Kelly Rutherford) manages to avoid becoming the stereotype of the mean aunt. Whether this is due to Rutherford or the script is unclear, and this isn’t to say she salvages the picture in any way, just that it stops it being much worse. Similarly, Kelsey befriends her best friend’s ex and this also manages to avoid an upsetting stereotypical falling-out. Once again, though, the film doesn’t really replace it with anything; it’s as glazed-over as every expression Dyck captures. As with the rest of the film, an absence of negativity isn’t positivity – but we’ll take it.
Christmas Wedding Planner is available on Netflix UK, as part of an £8.99 monthly subscription.