Thursday, November 5, 2020

Cup of Cheer Review: A No Holds Barred Tear Down of Holiday Tropes

Storm Steenson	...	Mary Alexander Oliver	Alexander Oliver	...	Chris Liam Marshall	Liam Marshall	...	Keith Jacob Hogan	Jacob Hogan	...	Authuh Helly Chester	Helly Chester	...	Mrs. Clovenwitch Braden Barrie	Braden Barrie	...	Henchman Shawn Vincent	Shawn Vincent	...	Mai Ex Steve Kasan	Steve Kasan	...	Sheriff Rudolph Adam Jenner	Adam Jenner	...	Santa

Release date: November 6, 2020
Running time: 94 minutes
Stars: Storm Steenson, Alexander Oliver, Liam Marshall 
Director: Jake Horowitz
Writers: Jake Horowitz, Andy Lewis

In a comedic shakeup of every cheesy Christmas movie, a big city journalist goes to a small town for the holidays and finds herself in an unlikely romance with the owner of a struggling hot cocoa shop.  When Mary (Steenson) finds herself back in her hometown after escaping, she quickly latches onto Chris (Oliver), whose hot cocoa shop is running into financial trouble.  

Produced by  Daniel Everitt-Lock	...	producer Jake Horowitz	...	producer Andy Lewis	...	producer   Directed by  Jake Horowitz	Writing Credits (in alphabetical order)   Jake Horowitz	 Andy Lewis
Cup of Cheer has a definite, confident style from the get go.  The film sets out to mock every Christmas movie trope and takes no prisoners in its quest to do this.  You will notice that many of the regular mainstays from numerous holiday movies are present here: big city person going back to their hometown, some dire consequence that might happen before Christmas, various characters and moral compasses on display to help guide the journey; they're all here.  And the film's confident style translates to the camera, with bright colors and great lighting to really set the stage here.  And the Christmas influence and small town charm are obvious from the start.  Plus there is some really beautiful camera work in this movie, such as the scenes on a frozen lake.  They are really stunning with a muted camera and expansive nature.  And the music of the film, especially the last song, is really fantastic.  It has a punk Christmas theme that really does a great job of setting the stage.  And through this irreverent writing, there are some really funny lines and Christmas movie tropes that are highlighted.

Cup of Cheer has an irreverent style that clearly wants to make fun of everything about the Christmas genre, and this leads to an exaggerated style that is clearly by design.  However, the style can be a little off putting at the start.  It makes everything seem ridiculous, and sometimes the characters paraphrase Christmas tropes to make fun of them but it makes them feel a little strange.  Although the satire is irreverent, sometimes it also feels too obvious and too pointed.  And sometimes it seems like some lines are written to evoke a reaction; something a little too crude.  The style does take some getting used to and eventually it didn't seem so out there.  But the strangest thing about this film is that for a movie that rails against the tropes of Christmas movies, it is at its best when it settles into those tropes.  In those instances, the movie keeps its irreverent style but also feels more natural and with more heart.  Maybe there is something to those types of movies because I think this film hits its stride when it succumbs to the tropes it rails against.  

Cup of Cheer's confident, irreverent style, beautiful camera work, and great music make this one holiday treat that you won't want to return for store credit.

Rent it.

Christmas Irreverent Satire Humor Funny Comedy Drama Christmas Film Hallmark Tropes Satirical XMas
If you liked this review and want to see more from Watch or Pass, please consider 
following us on our various social media platforms: FacebookTwitterInstagramYoutube
Cup of Cheer will be available in theaters, digitally, and on demand November 3.  It is available now to stream on Tubi for free

BONUS: Check out our interview with writer / director Jake Horowitz and stars Storm Steenson and Alexander Oliver!

No comments:

Post a Comment