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Non-Review Review: Last Christmas

Last Christmas certainly has its heart in the right place.

On paper, there’s a lot to recommend Last Christmas. Paul Feig is one of the most reliable comedic directors working today, and his work on films like Spy and A Simple Favour deserve consideration among the best comedies of the decade. Emilia Clarke is coming off an extended run as one of the two primary stars of genuine cultural phenomenon Game of Thrones, and has proven herself a likable romantic lead even in solid-if-unremarkable projects like Me Before You. Tony Golding has charisma to burn, as demonstrated by his supporting turn in Crazy Rich Asians.

Things are looking up.

Unfortunately, none of this really coheres as well as it should. Given the talent involved, this comedy should go down a festive treat. While it’s hardly a lump of coal, it is decidedly underwhelming. The problem isn’t a lack of surprises. After all, Last Christmas aspires to comfort rather than novelty. The problem is that Last Christmas is built around the assumption that it has the perfect festive surprise waiting for its eager and bright-eyed audience members to unwrap. Unfortunately, it vastly over-estimates how much some wrapping paper and bow can disguise a familiar outline.

Last Christmas feels far too pedestrian and far too predictable for what it is trying to do. There’s a potentially interesting premise here, but Last Christmas never really tries. It gives up the ghost too early.

Elf help.

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Non-Review Review: Me Before You

Me Before You works better than it really should.

There are points at which this romance dips into mandolin melodrama and gets lost in pop music montage, perhaps even over-extending itself through a series of almost episodic adventures. However, the film largely works. A lot of that is down to its willingness to address a potentially problematic theme head-on, investing its central characters with a sense of agency and dynamism that powers the film. However, a lot of that is down to the charm and strength of its two leads, particularly Emilia Clarke.

"Tom Hiddleston thinks he's got this sewn up," think both leads simultaneously.

“Tom Hiddleston thinks he’s got this sewn up,” think both leads simultaneously.

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