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Virgin Movie Review – A Merry Friggin’ Christmas (2014)

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robin williams in merry friggin christmas
Not a funny movie, in spite of the title. Also, painful in retrospect regarding Robin Williams. RIP to a national treasure.

A Merry Friggin’ Christmas was a strange, strange film to watch. It seemed to have the distinctive low production values of a Hallmark Holiday Special, yet somehow boasted the clout and cash flow to hire friggin’ Robin Williams as the co-star. (Not to mention Candice Bergen, in a throw-away role.) What happened? Why was this flick so  unforgivably boring and depressing?

Also, it was rather mean-spirited. Call it an anti-Hallmark Hallmark Movie.

Whatever’s the case, I expected a comedy, based on the commercials and the title. And while some scenes proffered the funny, it was mostly awkward cringe-humor, with a pervading stench of black comedy.  Did I laugh out loud? Maybe once.

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I DVRed this on TV this Christmas, billed as a double feature with Bad Santa (also a darker comedy than expected). The difference between the two is while Bad Santa was also a dark comedy, it had good acting, a real dramatic story, and high production values.

Friggin’ Christmas was boring, with limp humor, thinly drawn characters, and a depressing narrative lacking a worthy payoff. They could have had fun with the road trip trope, for example. (Driving a truck full of porta-potties had so many unrealized possibilities — were the Russos completely checked-out?)

At the denouement, the kid gets a present he can’t even use. Why? Is that supposed to make the narrative’s lengthy shenanigans ironic? It certainly wasn’t satisfying.

I don’t have a lot to say in this review, except to note that the late Williams seemed stuck under a thick cloud of depression, which might have been an indication of how the actor felt by that time in real life. His character oozed self-loathing. Knowing what we do about his death, it was painful to watch.

Looking up Robin Williams’s bio, I realized (and kind of guessed) he killed himself in 2014, the same year A Merry Friggin’ Christmas came out. Ouch. 🙁

(Want to celebrate his Robin Williams’ life? Don’t see this. Rewatch The Birdcage instead, where he clearly had fun with his role.)

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Rotten Tomatoes gave Friggin’ Christmas an aggregate rating of 16%, so it’s clearly not just me turned off by the film. The best moments belonged to the amusing police officer, the cheery guy who pulled them over several times. I bet that character had a nice Christmas. (Remember, there are no small parts, only small actors.)

I can’t say more about this lackluster offering. I wish I could rate it higher, if indeed it’s Robin Williams’ swan song.

Movie Grade: D-

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