Alright, alright. I know practically everyone has seen this film and it is considered a holiday favorite but the truth is, I had never seen this movie until Christmas Day. The only reason I saw it then was because a friend sent it to me as a present. Actually, they sent me a Holocaust related book I was wanting plus this movie. That combination says something about me but that discussion is best left for another time.
Every year I see people online posting about sticking this movie in at Christmas because it is their fav and a tradition. The story takes place in the weeks surrounding the holiday so that sorta makes sense. I stuck it in, kinda - to be honest - expecting a typical romantic romp. I was very much surprised.
Yes, every plot twist had a romance angle and there were no disappointed lovebirds in the end. However, what surprised me most about the movie was the humor. I laughed aloud, quite often, during this film and found it a wonderful delight.
This movie is loaded with stars. You will be hard pressed to find a cast this star-studded. That talent kept the acting at a high level even though, because this is an ensemble piece, everyone actually was onscreen for a short period of time.
However, as I said, the humor raises this move to a higher level. And I found Bill Nighy's portrayal of an aging rockstar trying to make a comeback by scoring a number one Christmas hit (simply by recycling an old old song with a few changed words) hiliarious. In some ways, you wish you had seen more of him in the movie.
I also enjoyed the subplot about Liam Neeson's kid, who decides to become a musician in order to impress a classmate who is moving. It was funny yet something I found totally relatable regardless of your age.
The other subplots were a bit of a cliche but rose above that so you didn't really care while watching it. That is the sign of a movie clicking on all cylinders. The only one I found myself wishing had been cut was the Hugh Grant character (playing a P.M. who falls for an aide) as I found it just unbelievable in a corny sense. They could have cut that one just fine.
Overall the directing and writing was great. I can see why people enjoy this movie every year. I thank my friends for sending this to me. A good choice and one I give a 5 by 5 on the rating scale.