There are millions of reasons why every Christmas, movies like “Die Hard”, “Home Alone”, or even “Love Actually” reenter public discussion. Sadly, one of the reasons is that there is a distinct lack of memorable holiday movies in recent times, and the situation is no different in 2023, so please enjoy our what NOT to watch list this XMAS.
Candy Cane Lane
This movie promises a comedic journey that revolves around a Christmas decorating competition, with the plot thickening after a cunning elf turns up, turning a nice, quaint neighborhood into a scene of holiday chaos. While “Candy Cane Lane” stars Eddie Murphy and Tracee Ellis Ross, they are not enough to compensate for the disjointed storyline and the lack of laughs. While the nod to the “Die Hard” Christmas film debate may prompt a chuckle out of viewers, the lack of cohesion is painfully apparent throughout the entire movie. If you are looking for a good Murphy movie, go watch “Coming to America” or even “48 Hrs”.
“Family Switch” takes on the age old gag of people switching bodies. This time, it is the Walker family that has to endure all the problems of suddenly being another person after some shenanigans at a planetarium, trying to restore normalcy during the Christmas holiday. The cast, featuring Emma Myers, Jennifer Garner, Ed Helms sounds nice, but the movie just feels flat. The generational jokes are blander than ever and the screenplay is mostly formulaic, making it an unengaging holiday watch. Even the band Weezer makes a cameo in the movie, which would have been pretty cool… 20-something years ago.
“Genie” tells a magical tale where a man rekindles his relationship with his family with the help of a genie from a magical jewelry box. Well, the story of a workaholic man trying to win his family back sounds like a classic, foolproof formula, but the humor in this movie is incredibly predicatable. There is nothing miraculous about this one, and even a surprisingly solid-ish performance from Melissa McCarthy could not compensate for the tired gags and the dumb simplicity. Just grab another cup of egg nog and dig up a VHS of “Scrooged” instead, and you’ll have a better time.
Diary of a Wimpy Kid Christmas: Cabin Fever
Here comes the third animated installment in the “Diary of a Wimpy Kid” series. The story follows Greg as he deals with a mischievous elf, a snowstorm, and family challenges, and utterly fails to make anybody above the age of 12 muster a laugh. To be completely fair, if you enjoyed the first two Disney animated Wimpy Kid films, go ahead and take a peek, because the filmmakers achieved overarching, consistent mediocrity across the three movies. Quite amusingly though, this one made many parents really upset because it “destroyed” the myth of Santa Claus for young viewers, explaining a little bit too much about the reality of gifts on Christmas, so don’t ever watch this if you believe a fat man with a ZZ Top beard can squeeze through your chimney.
Best Christmas, Ever!
This movie, at first glance, sounds like a serviceable romantic comedy about friendly rivalries. It even has Jason “The Destroyer of Apple Pies” Biggs! What could go wrong? Well, plenty. “Best Christmas, Ever!” is plain old mediocre, lacking in both entertainment value and sentimentality, failing to capture the Christmas spirit and falling short of humorously depicting the imperfections of life. The on-screen schemistry is also poor, especially between Brandy Norwood and Heather Graham, with the latter trying to prove that her “friend’s” life cannot be as perfect as her holiday newsletter makes it out to be. With an IMDb rating of 4.4 at the time of writing, we have officially arrived in the post-2000 generic Steven Seagal movie territory, ladies and gentlemen.
(Cover Photo by Claudette Barius/Prime)