Ho, ho, no! Not every sleigh ride through cinematic winters leads to a merry destination. While Christmas movies are meant to sprinkle festive joy in our lives, some end up being the cinematic equivalent of receiving coal in your stocking.
Today, let’s talk about five Christmas movies that, despite their festive intentions, spectacularly missed the mark in delivering those much-coveted holiday vibes.
5. “Deck the Halls” (2006)
Essentially, “Deck the Halls” is a film that tries to capture the spirit of neighborly rivalry during the holidays but ends up being more grating than jolly. The plot revolves around two neighbors, Steve (Matthew Broderick) and Buddy (Danny DeVito.) They engage in an absurd battle of Christmas lights and egos. While the premise might sound amusing, the execution is anything but.
The movie’s humor, intended to be light-hearted, often comes off as mean-spirited, and the characters are more annoying than endearing. Plus, the spirit of Christmas is about goodwill and cheer, but “Deck the Halls” is more about one-upmanship and petty squabbles. It is a glaring example of how not to spread holiday cheer.
4. “Four Christmases”(2008)
Then there is “Four Christmases.” This movie, starring Reese Witherspoon and Vince Vaughn, is about a couple forced to visit all four of their divorced parents’ homes on Christmas Day. It sounds like a recipe for a heartwarming, comedic romp, right? Wrong. The film quickly devolves into a series of awkward and unfunny scenarios that feel more cringe-inducing than cheerful.
The main characters are portrayed as selfish and unlikable, making it hard for the audience to root for them. The true meaning of Christmas - connection, family, and love - gets lost in the shuffle of uncomfortable family dynamics and forced humor.
3. “Jack Frost” (1998)
This is a film that might have had good intentions but ends up as a frosty mess. Starring Michael Keaton, it tells the story of a musician who dies in a car accident and comes back to life as a snowman to make amends with his son. The concept is as bizarre as it sounds. The film straddles a weird line between being a family movie and a tale of redemption.
But it does not quite land in either genre. The CGI effects of the snowman are more creepy than cute, and the emotional beats feel forced and unearned. Instead of a heartwarming holiday tale, “Jack Frost” leaves viewers with a chilly sense of discomfort.
2. “Fred Claus” (2007)
“Fred Claus,” brings us the story of Santa Claus’ lesser-known and less-loved brother, Fred. Played by Vince Vaughn, Fred is the polar opposite of his saintly brother, living a life filled with bitterness and envy.
The film tries to be a comedy, a family drama, and a Christmas movie all at once. But it badly fails to deliver on any front. It is hard to find the holiday spirit when the movie’s main message seems to be about sibling rivalry and unresolved childhood issues.
1. “Christmas With the Kranks” (2004)
Based on the novel “Skipping Christmas” by John Grisham, the movie follows Luther and Nora Krank (played by Tim Allen and Jamie Lee Curtis) as they decide to skip Christmas festivities in favor of a cruise. However, their plans are met with outrage and bizarrely aggressive behavior from their neighbors.
What could have been a funny satire on the commercialization of Christmas ends up being a forced, uncomfortable comedy. The film's attempts at humor often come off as mean-spirited. Plus, the overall message about conforming to societal norms feels misplaced in a holiday film.