Parents' Guide to

See You Next Christmas

By Barbara Shulgasser-Parker, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 13+

Holiday romcom lacks much cheer; drinking, language.

Movie NR 2021 99 minutes
See You Next Christmas Poster Image

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Armed with an amusing premise, See You Next Christmas has its heart in the right place. There's a wistful emphasis on the difficulty some young people have transitioning to "adulting," as one character puts it, a passage many of the self identified millennials portrayed here would prefer to put off longer. In its approval of relationships and commitment, the movie offers a number of instances of crackling dialogue and insightful interactions, but they're the rarity. The movie feels half-done, as if a bit more thought, or a higher budget, or a longer shoot could have solved some of its problems, which include a reliance on the kind of forced rudeness a scriptwriter might find funny while writing, but that falls dead on the screen. It's not a good comic foundation. The writer-director doesn't realize that Logan and Natalie are the dynamic characters the audience wants to watch as they grow and change, yet Tom and Annie, more stable and thus far less interesting, are given lots of screen time.

The characters are confusing, too. As first introduced, Natalie seems shy and awkward, overrun by her mother and uncomfortable in her own skin, but the moment she meets Logan, she's a gleeful attack dog, spewing wisecracks with a seemingly out-of-character confidence. Logan is just as rude and aggressive. The two display a stunning lack of empathy, the kind that normal people pull out in normal interactions as they politely allow others to do something as radical as finish their sentences. So the bits of clever dialogue that come from nowhere are a surprise. The directing is just as shaky. Sometimes the actors, who seem mostly inexperienced at best, are just awkwardly lined up facing the camera when a scene begins. The best performance here by far is given by Mark Evan Jackson (The Good Place and Brooklyn Nine-Nine) as a police officer, whose riveting scene lasts only a few minutes. Perhaps everyone else involved with the film will get better with more practice.

Movie Details

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