A Not So Merry Christmas Parent Guide
Muddled, unoriginal and poorly focused, this tries to be a lighthearted Christmas film but winds up being unsettling instead.
Parent Movie Review
Chuy (Mauricio Ochmann) hates Christmas. Not only is it also his birthday, but it’s when his large, dysfunctional family descends on him, creating chaos and demanding rides, money, and food. After a particularly fraught Christmas Eve dinner, Chuy seeks respite in a bar. There he meets a mysterious man (Manu Nna) who claims to be his diva godmother, sent to teach people on the naughty list a lesson about the true meaning of Christmas. The next morning, Chuy awakes to find that a whole year has passed and it is Christmas Eve once again, but he has no memory of the previous year. Now doomed to only remember his least favorite day of every year, Chuy desperately tries everything he can think of to break the spell.
Stories like A Christmas Carol and Groundhog Day work because the protagonists’ flaws obvious as are the needed changes they need to make. A Not So Merry Christmas fails here because Chuy isn’t an obvious bad guy. Yes, he’s a bit grumpy, but he’s not mean or miserly. He doesn’t intentionally hurt anyone. In fact, I would argue that he’s relatively patient considering the awfulness of his extended family. He really tries to connect with them and it’s not his fault he’s met with rude responses every time he tries to ask his siblings about their lives. The only sin he’s potentially guilty of is not being sufficiently focused on his wife and children, but he’s no worse than many men that age. The punishment he receives - having to live only Christmas Eves while his family ages before his very eyes - is draconian. It’s disturbing on an existential level, which doesn’t match the campy tone the diva godmother seems to be going for. This movie wants to be a lighthearted comedy, but it ends up being a twisted existential horror covered in tinsel.
The other major criticism I have of this film is its lack of originality. It’s practically a remake of Just Another Christmas, a 2020 film from Brazil with an identical plotline. Swap out Portuguese dialogue for Spanish dialogue and this is pretty much the same film.
Aside from the lack of creativity and its extremely muddled message, the movie’s acting and production values are fine. The only negative content of note is a bit of swearing and a lot of adult social drinking, though not to excess. The film opens with a musical number, which is jarring considering this is not a musical, but it is indicative of the complete lack of focus in the script. The unoriginal plot has potential, but the writing completely fails the premise. I just finished watching it and I honestly could not tell you what it was that Chuy did wrong or what he learned that broke the spell. Perhaps I need to be cursed to watch this movie over and over until I understand it.Directed by Mark Alazraki. Starring Kaled Acab, Bastian Calva, Ana Brenda Contreras. Running time: 100 minutes. Theatrical release December 20, 2022. Updated December 20, 2022
Watch the trailer for A Not So Merry Christmas
A Not So Merry Christmas
Rating & Content Info
Why is A Not So Merry Christmas rated TV-MA? A Not So Merry Christmas is rated TV-MA by the MPAA for language.
Sexual Content: A married couple kiss.
Profanity: The script contains three sexual expletives, four minor profanities, and one use of a term of deity.
Alcohol / Drug Use: Adults drink alcohol in a social context in several scenes. A scene takes place at a bar.
Page last updated December 20, 2022
A Not So Merry Christmas Parents' Guide
How do Chuy’s actions affect his family? What happens to his relationships with them?
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This is a virtual remake of Just Another Christmas, a Brazilian film with the same plotline. Both of these movies are inspired by Groundhog Day, in which Bill Murray has to live the same day over and over again. A recent take on this concept is The Map of Tiny Perfect Things, a movie featuring two teenagers who are the only people in their town aware that they are trapped in a time loop. In Long Story Short, a married man wakes up the day after his wedding to discover that it’s his first anniversary: soon he’s reaching a new anniversary every few minutes.
This film is also inspired by Charles Dickens’ classic novella, A Christmas Carol. Our favorite family version of the story is The Muppet Christmas Carol which manages to combine serious messages with zany fun.