Format: On VOD from Pop
Director: Anna Dakoza
Hallmark movies have now been around long enough that you do spot spoofs and satires. This is the second one I've spotted just this year, the other I need to finish (The Bitch Who Stole Christmas, which appears to be a whole thing).
A Clüsterfünke Christmas (2021) is the kind of spoof you kind of crave, but also think won't be as good as you hope. But, in the rarest of Christmas miracles, it was actually consistently funny for the runtime of the movie. It never gets lost in the machinery of telling a story or caring what happens to anyone and remembers that it's job is to insert a joke every 30 seconds. But, you know, the film both stars and was written by Ana Gasteyer and Rachel Dratch, so - trusted sources.
Clearly Gasteyer and Dratch had watched enough Hallmark to understand not just the beats of one of the movies, but the aesthetic, tone and low-burn insanity of everyone in a Hallmark movie. Sets, scene set-ups. Hell, the very specific music of Hallmark Christmas movies becomes a thing. As does token representation.
The plot is classic Hallmark. A driven but lonely businesswoman (Vella Lovell, who is really pretty solid here*) is asked to seal the deal to buy a quaint lodge/ inn so it can be turned into a resort (I'll let you watch to hear about the amenities). The inn is owned by the Clüsterfünke sisters (Dratch and Gasteyer) who are very deeply committed to Christmas. I don't want to explain jokes - but in a way that certainly answers the question about all of the Hallmark Channel movie inns dedicated to Christmas: what about the other 11 months of the year?
A handsome local who loves rustic shit is met, a handsome douche of a rich city dweller comes in to compete for her affections. Town squares are seen. Too many crafty holiday activities attended.
Anyway - it's a Hallmark movie. But funny. And tiny bits really show they know the material - like everyone's delight that Holly, our lead, can paint a smile on a gingerbread man.
I genuinely thought the film was going to end like The Wicker Man. It does not. And I have mixed feelings about that - but if it was ever in a draft, someone probably pointed out that it was a bridge too far. And this is why I am not allowed to make movies.
*she co-stars on the disappointing Mr. Mayor, but I guess was good in My Crazy Ex-Girlfriend
Vella Lovell is also pretty foxy, and that doesn't hurt anything
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