Director: Kenny Young
Cast: Brely Evans, Andra Fuller, Persia White
Certificate: G / Guidance
Watch You Can’t Fight Christmas 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.
Directed by Kenny Young, You Can’t Fight Christmas is a companion piece to the same director’s Miss Me This Christmas, which was released at the same time and features several of the same characters in the same setting, over the same time period. Both films were produced by cable network TV One, who clearly specialise in cheaply made, saccharine-heavy entertainment.
Brely Evans stars as Leslie Major, a sassy interior designer who lives for her favourite annual gig: Christmassing up the lobby of the “famous” (but fictional) Chesterton Hotel. Things get off to a great start when she falls off the Christmas tree ladder, right into the arms of the hotel owner’s handsome grandson, Edmund (Andra Fuller). Leslie is smitten, but there are a couple of problems: first, Edmund hates Christmas, and second, his scheming business partner Millicent (Persia White) is planning to strip the hotel of its status as a favourite Christmas destination, in favour of turning it into a money-spinning conference centre instead. Oh, and Millicent also has designs on Edmund, even if he doesn’t know it yet.
Needless to say, there are no prizes for guessing how it all turns out. Unfortunately, predictability is the least of this film’s problems. There’s no chemistry between the two leads, the dialogue is perfunctory at best and most of the intended humour falls painfully flat. Young’s poor direction doesn’t help matters either – aside from a lack of comic timing, he allows scenes to run on way too long, so the film drags interminably, despite the almost insultingly thin plot.
However, the film’s biggest problem is that it fails even on its own terms. The hotel is meant to be a favourite destination for the Christmas holidays, but we never get a sense of why that might be the case, or exactly what might be lost if Millicent has her way. (The only guest we do get to meet is Erica Ash as Regina Young, and if her subplot seems oddly missing, it’s because she’s the star of Miss Me This Christmas.) On a similar note, the script never quite makes it clear why the hotel being a conference centre would be incompatible with its Christmasness – who’s having business conferences over the Christmas holidays? Scrooge Incorporated?
In the spirit of goodwill, there are a small handful of positives. For one thing, Brely Evans is an extremely likeable screen presence, even if the film can’t quite give her the dialogue she deserves. On top of that, Persia White is clearly enjoying herself as Millicent and she gets the film’s only real laugh, in an inspired scene where she effectively proposes to a taken-aback Edmund by handing him a fully worked-out business proposal that maps out their future relationship. A little more of that sort of thing would have gone a long way.
You Can’t Fight Christmas is available on Netflix UK, as part of an £8.99 monthly subscription.