Friday, December 19, 2014

12 DAYS OF CHRISTMAS... (...as told by ABC FAMILY): DAY 5

Because of my impeccable taste, for 353 days I watch only the most sophisticated and enriching of entertainments. But during the holiday season, I have made a tradition of finding the worst possible Christmas-centric TV movies (usually from the powerhouse film factory at the ABC FAMILY network), getting loaded on bourbon, and watching third-rate basic cable actors teach us all about the meaning of the holiday. These are the reviews of those movies.

DAY 5: SNOW 2: BRAIN FREEZE

http://cps-static.rovicorp.com/2/Open/ABC%20Family/Snow%202%20Brain%20Freeze/_derived_jpg_q90_600x800_m0/112162_0440_ful.jpg?partner=allmovie_soap

I am a day late. I apologize. These movies can be emotionally exhausting.

In this entry, we are returning to the world of Tom Cavanagh as Nick Snowden, the current Santa, and his bride, the Sexy Zookeeper, played by someone who was on HOW ABOUT MEETING YOUR MOM!?

I reviewed the original SNOW, and found it stupid but charming, with a cast that had fun chemistry. The leads and the Bad Guy are back for this one, but everyone else has changed. Instead of Sassy Black Kid we have Obnoxious White Pick-Pocket Kid, and instead of Sassy Old Couple, we have Wise Grampa, who is played by the dad from "227" (who was great). The plot is an amnesia story, with Santa Nick forgetting who he is, Bad Guy Game Hunter stealing shit from the North Pole, and Sandy the Zookeeper trying to get Nick to remember who he is in time for Christmas Eve. There are a lot of "rules" about how the Santa-magic works, explained by a weirdo (with the bizarre name of "Galfrid") who dresses like Rembrandt. The less said about Galfrid, the better.

http://www.hiddenmasterpieces.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/11/Rembrandt.jpg
In Modern Day Canada, sans jaunty Moustache
Wise Grampa is a member of the "Caribou Club", a secret society who, in years past, held a Christmas Eve Ball for Santa and his Wife, and kept the Secret of Santa among their Eldritch Ranks. They have a secret Meeting Hall that is a pretty rad art deco set, and we spend a good chunk of the movie watching everyone clean it up and cook turkeys. There's even a montage!

The set-up here is dumb, the way it plays out is ridiculous (and kind of dull), and most of the charm of the first one is swapped out for WACKY. Everyone is much, much "wackier". Cavanagh has gone from playing a good-natured loner with a weird streak, to what might be an all-out speed-freak, complete with tics and twitches and non-stop run-on dialogue. He's abrasive and bizarre. Santa takes a darker turn in the sequel.

Pick-pocket Kid is truly despicable. I know he's a child and everything, and you're supposed to give kids a pass in the holiday season, but I hated him. I wanted him to go to a juvenile detention facility and be put in solitary. I missed Sassy Black so much. That kid was funny, and had a great story arc with his mom that was actually really touching. This kid is just an asshole.

The end of the movie is the strangest part of all. After so much being made of the Rules of Santa-Magic, at the end, they all just get tossed for a quick wrap-up, and everything that was previously established is revealed as basically bullshit. Sandy the Zookeeper is supposed to bring him back with Love, but she totally fails, and then gets kidnapped. Pickpocket Kid and Wide Grandpa then break all the rules and Nick comes back in a weird fit of low-key nostalgia. It's wholly unsatisfying, and completely undermines the first 90 minutes. Finally, in a completely unearned and frankly insane capper, Nick's parents, the previous Santa and Mrs. Claus, come back from the dead for a few minuted to say "Hi". That's it, just "hello, your wife is hot", and then back to the Realm of the Departed. I was dumbfounded.

There's less CG flying animals this time around, and Buddy the Reindeer, from the first movie, gets some funny animal bits (seriously), but otherwise, there's not much to recommend about SNOW 2: BRAIN FREEZE. I would suggest KIDS IN THE HALL: BRAIN CANDY instead. Both have a subtitle with "brain" included, and more importantly, lots of Canadians.





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