Paul Feig is one of those directors whose work I mean to see, but never get around to. He’s proven that he has what it takes with movies like “Spy” and “The Heat” that he’s got a sharp eye for comedy. Then, you have “Bridesmaids,” a movie that’s always been on my radar; likewise, for the 2016 version of “Ghostbusters” which I hoped to see when it was in theaters, but never got around to it. But how does this latest Feig film hold up to the rest of his filmography?
Emilia Clarke plays Kate, a floundering singer who struggles to find a home away from her parents (Emma Thompson, Boris Isakovic) and is working at a Christmas shop run by a woman known as “Santa” (Michelle Yeoh). One day, she meets a young man named Tom (Henry Golding), whose more of a selfless soul compared the self-centered Kate. As the two grow close, Kate notices how Tom keeps disappearing and is absent from Kate.
In any good romantic comedy, the central couple can make or break it, and here is no exception. Clarke and Golding have a chemistry that balances the other out and highlights the other’s strong points. Golding is charming as Tom and his performance is reminiscent of his performance in “Crazy Rich Asians.” Clarke’s cynical and selfish characterization makes her transformation feel more heartwarming. The rest of the cast, however, doesn’t seem to hold up to the couple. Most of them seem to be fluff to pad out the run time. Heavy-hitting actors like Thompson and Yeoh seem to be off their game in this movie.
On the surface, “Last Christmas” seems like a standard seasonal romantic comedy. However, the movie seems to be lacking in the comedy department. Most of the jokes either fall flat or let out no more than a chuckle. There’s a plot twist in the final act that is so-so, feeling both predictable and like it came out of left field when compared to the rest of the movie.
This was a hard movie to review. The rosy chemistry of the lead characters can leave audiences pricked by the lackluster story and bad comedy. When compared to works like “Spy” and “Bridesmaids,” this movie doesn’t hold much of a candle to the rest of Feig’s filmography. If you’re looking to give your heart to a seasonal rom com, you might want to save it for “someone special.”