Shocking News: Film based on a song isn’t that great (Last Christmas review)

From director Paul Feig and writer Emma Thompson comes a charming festive rom-com that the title sequence brags is “based on George Michael’s eponymous song”. With great performances but a cliché story, it’s a fun film that fails to fully give cheer to someone special.

Last Christmas follows Kate, a cynical and currently homeless Christmas shop worker who starts to fall in love with the mysterious Tom. Her family, Yugoslavian immigrants, are getting on her back to succeed in life, but her dream career of being a singer is slipping away. She’s also a huge George Michael fan. Cue the music…

The script is written by Emma Thompson and Bryony Kimmings, with a story by Thompson and her husband Greg Wise. The script is clearly from Thompson’s mind as there are hilarious phrases littered throughout that could only come from her hilariously twisted mind. Lines such as “a sh!tting bird just shat in my eye” and “I might spontaneously wee” provide a lot of laughs through the film, but unfortunately the funny dialogue can’t distract from a story that is lacking in enough heart or logic to sustain itself.

What redeems this sub-par rom-com is the great cast that Feig has assembled. Emilia Clarke and Henry Golding star as Kate and Tom, and they have unbelievable chemistry. Emily Clarke you obviously know, but Henry Golding is new on the block but has already made a stunning impression as the key star of Crazy Rich Asians and A Simple Favour. The two of them exude charisma and charm, and together they form a romantic couple for the ages. Other stars include Michelle Yeoh as the owner of the Christmas shop, Emma Thompson as Petre – Kate’s hilariously protective mum, and a whole host of British stars making cameo appearances in various roles.

The film is warm hearted and friendly, but lacks the emotional punch that the best rom-coms have. It certainly TRIES to have an emotional punch with a certain story point that really changes the direction of the film, but for me it was too far out to be emotional. Not only that, it’s the MOST obvious plot point, and was easy to predict from the outset of the film. Thankfully, what it lacks in cliché plots, it makes up for with some great humour. Particularly fun were the tiny characters that popped in and out through the film, with Ingrid Oliver’s overly stern police officer providing the best laughs.

Overall, Last Christmas is a perfectly serviceable festive romp to get yourself in the Christmas spirit. The leads are charismatic, the jokes are funny enough and the story just about stretches through the run-time, but as far as classic rom-coms go, you’d be better off to keep your distance and let another film catch your eye.

5 stars 3

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