The Anatomy of a Bad Christmas Movie

It’s Christmas, so that means putting a dead evergreen tree inside your house, listening to the same 15 songs you’ve heard 187,611 times, and watching low budget Christmas entertainment. Every year, I watch at least two or three of these made for TV disasterpieces, and they never disappoint. In the spirit of the season, I present the anatomy of a bad Christmas movie as told by the cinematic masterpiece, Merry Kissmas.

Our movie opens with a landscape shot of the Golden Gate Bridge. Now, I’m from Ohio, so seeing Christmas decorations among pink azalea bushes in full bloom confuses and alarms me. We need plastic greenery and red bows here because everything outside my window is a shade of brown. I’m not sure how you warm climate people feel festive when you can wear shorts and eat dinner on a patio, but you do you, bro.

In Jon Lovitz’s voice: “ACTING!”

Enter our heroine, Kayla. I saw the movie three days ago and I had to look up her name. My friends and I took bets on her occupation. I guessed editor, my other friend guessed baker. WRONG! She is her fiance’s business manager.

100% chance I’m a Mary Sue.

Now Kayla’s fiance is a big star in the Palo Alto theater scene. Guys, people. know. him. His photo is on the marquee. Did I mention he’s the choreographer/director of the Nutcracker? BIG. TIME. STUFF. He also has a questionable British accent. Since I do my IMDB research, the actor who played this character is 42 and he’s from Massachusetts.

Very serious actor face.

Because love triangles are critical to stories like this, otherwise they wouldn’t have any plot, meet our other protagonist. My friend nailed it — he’s a caterer. He runs his catering business out of his studio apartment, because that’s normal. I can’t remember his name, and he looks like a knock-off Ewan McGregor, so that’s what I’m going to call him.

Hello. I am completely irresistible.

Kayla and Ewan are about to intersect. Get excited. But not before we’re introduced to the elevator, which is critical to the plot and also magic? Question mark? Anyway, Ewan jumps on the elevator and runs into Doris Roberts (why Doris, why?), who gingerly nods toward the mistletoe above them. Ewan, not so keen on kissing her, gives a soft pass. No doesn’t mean no, and Doris commits some light sexual assault on our hero by forcibly kissing him. Twice.

Kiss me, baby. It’s Christmas.

Here comes the meet-cute. Ewan is catering the ginormous engagement party for Kayla and Mr. Actor and it’s about to be an event. Press has been invited. I mean, even the Palo Alto Daily Post, probably. Kayla is a super busy, super exhausted business manager with many important duties, including having a long conversation with Santa about her confusing feelings, then stopping by a shop to pick up a nutcracker for Mr. Actor. But alas, Ewan literally just bought it moments before and they missed each other. Serendipity!

Girl, I’m a good listener.

I’ve watched and read a lot of bad things, but the next scene is the most confusing scene I’ve ever seen in my life. Kayla bolts from the store and the clerk chases her for like three solid blocks. It is not clear why, but Kayla’s booking it like she committed a felony. She dashes into Ewan’s apartment building where the elevator doors are closing. You guys, he’s in it. Without any prelude, she crushes her mouth to his. The doors close. The doors are glass. Shop clerk witnesses everything.

My friends and me: What. Just. Happened?

This is my “I’ve been assaulted twice in this elevator just today” face.

Incoming conflict! It’s time to arrange the catering for the BIG ENGAGEMENT PARTY WITH ALL THE PRESS MR. ACTOR INVITED. There is a moment of crisis when Kayla and Ewan recognize each other. The caterer and the bride! They kissed four hours ago! What is going to happen? There are many significant glances, and everyone can read the sexual tension. Except for Mr. Actor, because he’s very busy with important theater stuff.

Don’t say anything, don’t say anything, don’t say anything.

Kayla carries all these conflicting emotions home with her. She is prepared to become Mrs. Serious Actor, but she’s hot and bothered for a caterer she met a few hours ago. She consults with her friend, the character who exists to provide unwavering validation for the terrible choice the heroine is about to make. She noticed the instant chemistry between future Mrs. Actor and store brand Ewan McGregor. She assumes SOMETHING happened between them, because apparently she’s an oracle.

I’m going to tell you what you want to hear because I’m such a good friend and I serve no other purpose in this story.

Disillusioned by Mr. Serious Actor’s lack of attention, and exhausted by the fast paced, glamorous world of the Palo Alto theater scene, Kayla ends their relationship. And there’s still at least 52 minutes left in this movie.

Baby, this community theater presentation of the Nutcracker ballet isn’t going to direct itself.

She cozies up with her OTP, Ewan, and they go do things. Lots of things. Make cookies. Eat pizza. Pet doggos at the animal shelter. True love shit. Sarah wants to write a story inspired by a booklet that came with the nutcracker, and Ewan McGregor’s stunt double encourages her to pursue the dreams she abandoned to support Mr. Actor. Plot twist! SHE’S A WRITER, YOU GUYS. The budget for costumes for this movie was approximately 23 dollars, because Kayla wears the most ill-fitting crocheted knee-length red coat with the same shirt dress, and Ewan wears this cardigan.

If you want to destroy my sweater. Hold this thread as I walk away.

I must’ve blacked out in the middle of this movie, because I don’t remember anything. I do know Mr. Serious Professional Actor got a little handsy with the prima ballerina in the restaurant foyer where Kayla and the Friend Oracle were having dinner. The Friend Oracle saw it all go down, but protected her friend and didn’t tell her because she’s such a loyal friend, you guys. It should also be noted that future Mrs. Kayla Very Serious Local Theater Actor hasn’t removed her wedding ring.

What? Is something happening over there?

Heartbroken, and lost without his business manager, Mr. “I Went to Hollywood to Star in Movies and Ended Up Directing The Nutcracker in Palo Alto” returns to Kayla to grovel and win her back. And she’s all like, no you’re literally the worst with your fake accent and cartoon villain mustache “Sure!” But uh-oh, that means she has to say farewell to Ewan after their passionate eight day relationship of doing things. Right after he adopted the Caesar dog food doggo actor. While living in his apartment/catering operation. Hashtag sad.

I’m not going to be a cat lady and die alone in my Canadian Tuxedo. I have a dog.

Hearts are broken. Mr. Actor is totally thrilled and oblivious. It’s opening night and press are crawling all over this performance. He has to focus. Well, we never get to see his magnificent show, because Kayla decides to end it for good. At their engagement party. Which is no longer an engagement party and is now a pre-show cast party where women in bodycon dresses ogle Mr. Actor. Is Mr. Actor upset? Meh, not really.

I’ll always have my art. Girl, bye.

She tearfully returns to the hotel they’ve been sharing and packs up her things. She has it bad for Ewan. She must go tell him. Meanwhile, our prince charming is stewing in his twin bed in his apartment/business enterprise. He can’t let her leave! She’s his one true love! He rushes to the elevator, and because it’s magic for reasons not yet explained, it shudders and stalls and he’s stuck. OH NO!

You up?

Kayla rushes into his apartment building where a crowd of angry occupants has gathered around the broken elevator to yell at Ewan McGregor. They can’t take the stairs because they are Sims and their action has been canceled. So poor Ewan has to stare at these idiots through the glass doors and, I assume, yell back, “Will one of you please call the fire department?” Well they don’t have to, because Kayla is here. The elevator miraculously comes back to life. The doors open. He’s all “I love you,” and she’s all, “I love you,” and the tenants are all “We’ve been standing here malfunctioning for an hour can you maybe get off the elevator?” Just kidding. They applaud. For romance.

This is not what the elevator looked like, but this was the smock she chose to wear for her engagement party.

Oh, you thought this was over? We haven’t lived happily ever after yet. We flash forward one year. Ewan proposes to Kayla on the Ferris wheel on the Santa Monica pier. So, this isn’t really a Christmas movie as much as it is a movie set in December.

It’s terrible. Should you watch it? Yes, you should.

Every Kiss Begins with Kay. Literally. There was such a long shot on the ring box with the Kay Jewelers logo, obvious product placement was obvious.


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