Netflix UK film review: 5 Star Christmas
James R | On 24, Dec 2019
Director: Marco Risi
Cast: Massino Ghini, Martina Stella
Watch 5 Star 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.
Christmas is coming. An Italian political delegation, led by the PM Franco Rispoli (Massimo Ghini), is on an official visit to Hungary. In addition to his political commitments, the Premier intends to spend a few secret hours in the company of a young member of parliament – Giulia Rossi (Martina Stella), from the rival democrats – traveling with the delegation. But what starts out as a happy tryst soon descends into chaos when a corpse turns up – and a whole host of possible witnesses to their affair, not to mention the dead body, keep popping up.
If that sounds like a weirdly old-fashioned premise for a modern Italian comedy, you wouldn’t be far off: Enrico Vanzink is loosely based on Out of Order, a play by Ray Cooney, the man who gave us Run for Your Wife. This bedroom farce is about as successful as the film based on that play, which starred Danny Dyer.
There’s nothing wrong with a bedroom farce, and the manic slapstick of physical comedy is still alive and well in the Noises Off-esque Show That Goes Wrong troupe. 5 Star Christmas, though, is sadly lacking in the laughter department, with its gags mostly revolving around various male characters all ogling Giulia (who spends a large part of the runtime scantily clad) and making leering comments.
Martina Stella, then, is rather wasted, and, while the central moral satire hinges on Franco’s hypocritical nature, it soon becomes apparent there’s no depth to his one-note neurotic either. The only one with any substance is Ricky Memphis’ put-upon secretary to the PM, Walter Bianchini, who holds the various subplots (ranging from suspicious spouses to moaning mothers) together.
Director Marco Risi tries to keep the pacing up for 90 minutes, but things swiftly start to flag, and, with only a cursory link to Christmas, the film doesn’t even have he festive goodwill of the season to fall back on. The result is a pretty showcase for a lush hotel, but a 5 Star Christmas? This is far from it.
5 Star Christmas is available on Netflix UK, as part of an £9.99 monthly subscription.