It’s that time of year again when in movie land, the snow falls, families come together, beautiful lights adorn huge Christmas trees and everything ends up wrapped in neat bow. Well, Cup of Cheer is here to roast it’s chestnuts, not just on an open fire but on a out of control inferno. Jake Horowitz’s profanity laden, gleefully and downright bonkers Christmas spoof, makes no bones about who is in his sights here. The glossy Hallmark Channel type romantic christmas movies, that your nan or eccentric aunt might love, are disassembled in short order by Horowitz, with more foul mouthed, X-rated nonsense than you can pour a cup of warm chocolate over and then shoot one of Santas reindeers while you’re at it. Be under no illusion, this film isn’t subtle.
Mary (Storm Steenson – The Olympus Project, Forbidden: Dying for Love) is a successful journalist who heads back to her charming hometown of Snowy Heights to write an article about the town’s world-famous Christmas cheer. When she runs into the sullen but endearing Chris (Alexander Oliver – Freelancer, From the Thunder),the owner of Cup of Cheer, Mary learns that his charming business is going to be shut down on Christmas Eve…and it’s her ex-boyfriend that’s responsible. Using her big city smarts and her festive spirit, Mary unites the town in an effort to save Cup of Cheer and have the Christmas they’ve always wanted.
After a shaky start when the film almost becomes unbearable with it’s knowing winks, fourth wall nods and downright stupidity, in the office set up, it soon finds it flow when Mary reaches Snowy Heights. With it comes the laughs, sometimes drink spittingly funny laughs too. It has a tendency to throw everything at the wall to see what sticks, but on balance the film is downright funny for the most part.
If the character names don’t get you (Rudolph Hitler anyone?), then the sight gags and actor facial expressions will. Depending on how gutter level your humour gauge is at, the funnier you will likely find Cup Of Cheer. The cast are great, clearly just letting the craziness fall all around them while they try and keep a straight face to proceedings. Storm Steenson in particular is a particular joy here as she parodies the female Christmas lead female trope rather brilliantly throughout, with a seeming natural innocence, which clearly has a under pinned wicked streak from the twinkle in her eyes. Also, a special shout out to Jacob Hogan, who almost steals the whole show on ocassion. Watch out for him especially in the background scenes, where he outright hysterical. in particular watch out for when he’s out in the back yard in the snow with a shotgun, while the leads are trying to have a serious moment…
On the whole you’ll either love Cup Of Cheer or you won’t. There’s unlikely to be any middle ground here. But if you are in need of an antidote for the conveyor belt of sickly sweet Christmas movies, then Cup Of Cheer could well be for you. The payoff at the end, is brilliant. It’s almost as if Jake Horowitz has just embroiled you in a rather elaborate 90 minute joke just to hear the Christmas Craker gag type groan from you all just before the credits. A Christmas rickroll if you will. Just don’t forget your garish Christmas Jumper when you watch it.
Chaotic Christmas comedy Cup of Cheer arrives on digital 7 December