Walter (Danny Glover) is a retired automotive engineer who lost his wife (Rachel Kylian) one year earlier. Now that the holiday season is here, he invites his four grown children and the rest of the family to his house for a traditional celebration. Poor Walter knows that if his daughters Rachel (Gabrielle Union) and Cheryl (Kimberly Elise) and sons Christian (Romany Malco) and Evan (Jessie Usher) can spend five days together under the same roof, it will truly be a Christmas miracle. As his children arrive, Walter realizes a perfect Christmas without his wife is easier said than done. His eldest son Christian struggles with balancing his campaign to became a congressman and his want to spend time with his family. Christian goes as far to invite his campaign manager along, so they can get more work done. Cheryl, a doctor and the eldest daughter, arrives for the holidays with her husband Lonnie, a previously famous basketball player who played overseas in Croatia. Meanwhile, Rachel struggles to financially support herself and her daughter due to her recent divorce and studying to become a lawyer. Lastly, Evan is a successful football player recovering from a shoulder injury, however when his coach tells him his arm is completely healed, Evan struggles to give up the pain medication.
Gee, a lot of this sounds familiar, do movies like The Family Stone, Dan In Real Life, This Christmas, Nothing Like The Holidays, all ring a bell here? Yeah, this is pretty much every single one of those comedies rolled into one, there is literally nothing different about this movie that those other films don’t, you’ve got the family aspect here, you’ve got the crazy situations, you’ve got the relatives who don’t like each other but will like each other towards the end, you get the eventual conflicts all combining together into one big moment where everybody has to come together at the end because of an event or a situation that happens, you get the conclusion where everybody is fine again and the family lives life happily ever after….it’s all here and it’s all as clichéd as you could possibly get.
The whole movie is like this and you rarely get any real funny moments in this, you get a few laughs every now and then but most of them are very sparse and far-between.
Not to mention, the movie pads way too much of its’ story out and nowhere is that the biggest fault of the movie in the Christmas Day dinner scene, you have all these problems coming together and the movie pads out the eventual outcome of somebody finally snapping for nearly 20 minutes, this goes on for 20 friggin’ minutes and by the end, you’re just like “come on, get on with it already, we all know what the hell is about to happen?” This movie is the ultimate form of padding out the friggin’ obvious for so damn long. It can’t do serious moments well because they either pad it out too long or just randomly stop the happy moments for some more realism and it just doesn’t come together at all.
Now, is there anything about this movie that I did like? Well, the acting works fine enough, these are all really solid actors working well enough with the material they are working with. You can’t go wrong with a cast of this caliber and everybody does work with the material they have to deal with it.
But other than that, Almost Christmas is a pretty big disappointment, you’ve got a pretty solid cast being asked to star in a cliché-riddled holiday comedy that has nothing new to work with. You would really be better off just watching The Family Stone or Dan In Real Life or This Christmas or Nothing Like The Holidays, you’d get more enjoyment out of all those movies than you would out of this mediocre mess.
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