A holiday family film with a nice message and solid performances is let down by flat humor and fewer cheeky shenanigans than expected.
This review of the Netflix film Grumpy Christmas does not contain spoilers.
Are we ever going to have too many Christmas films? The answer is, no. Each year we’re blessed with more and more Christmas flicks and this one you can probably give a miss.
Don Servando, popularly known as the Grumpy Grandpa, is creating more trouble in the Netflix film, Grumpy Christmas. The Mexican Christmas flick marks Don Servando’s return after his adventures in The Patriarch (2016). Like an old Dennis the Menace, I was interested to see what antics he would get up to in this Christmas feature.
This story revolves around the family going to spend Christmas at the beach with Aunt Alicia. As the patriarch steps into the matriarch’s den a comical and childish power conflict ensues between the two oldest members of the family on how to spend Christmas.
As Grumpy Grandpa tries to control and create Christmas to how he thinks it should be, the rest of the family tries to deal with their own issues. There are multiple stories and conflicts going on throughout the film, giving you plenty of drama.
The story is entertaining, but it did feel slightly forced and predictable. The conflict of two people battling over how Christmas should be spent isn’t a strong enough storyline. There are many small sub-stories going on, and with it being a film about a big family, it works, but it doesn’t lend itself to being memorable or special. I didn’t really see why Alicia was so against Christmas and Santa. Her character is made out to be stubborn, which just makes her family and grandpa seem ungrateful and rude.
Instead of snow and elves, we have the sun, sea, and shells. So spending Christmas on the beach isn’t such a big deal. I did expect more humor and cheeky shenanigans, but the pranks felt more vindictive and cruel. The humor fell flat throughout.
However, this could be a lost-in-translation scenario, which can happen with non-English films, so please do watch and see for yourself. I will point out that the acting is to a high standard, with good chemistry, good timing, and just enough cheese and without it being corny and naff. This film is a nice, easy watch and suitable for families, and lasts roughly an hour and a half.
With a grumpy grandpa not being so grumpy in the end, the family is able to have the Christmas they all wanted, with each other. Grumpy Christmas tries to encapsulate the spirit of family and togetherness over Christmas. Its message is that it’s not how you celebrate Christmas, but it’s who you celebrate it with. Which is a lovely message. You might like this film if you enjoyed Meet the Fockers or The Family Stone and even the series Modern Family, this one just has a Mexican flavor.