HAPPIEST SEASON (2020)
An intriguing, original twist on a familiar premise, Happiest Season has all of the makings of a woke, timely romantic comedy, but fails to make all of the pieces connect. Still, Kristen Stewart and crew piece together a fine movie where the supporting cast brings the goods.
Stewart starts as a young woman who is planning tp propose to her girlfriend (Mackenzie Davis) on Christmas morning, only to find out before arriving at her would-be in-laws that her partner is not out to the family. Directed by Clea Duvall (who also co-wrote with Mary Holland), Happiest Season evokes memories of films like Wedding Crashers and Meet the Parents, though it never quite comes together. For starters, the characters are largely unlikable, from Davis’ conflicted, closeted Harper to Alison Brie’s Sloane, and even the parents, Mary Steenburgern and Victor Garber. Ana Gasteyer is a small part of the cast, though her comedic backbone has been stripped completely from her. Stewart does her best to keep the film afloat, but it is Dan Levy and Aubrey Plaza who stand out from the rest. Levy is hilarious in every scene he is a part of while Plaza is radiantly beautiful in her role and does more for the plot development than any other actor.
It cannot be understated just how unlikable Davis’ character is in this film, coming across mean, selfish, and downright emotionally abusive. Her family is equally dismal and rude, especially when it comes to their socially-challenged daughter (played by Holland) and the jokes at het expense. The film just never clicked for me. However, the final 30 minutes has more heart than the anything preceding it, a clear sign that the intentions were right, but execution was off. Levy’s monologue about coming out is reason enough to watch. Had said heart carried through the entire film, Happiest Season would be incredible.
Still, you’ll laugh and generally enjoy yourself when you stream Happiest Season today on Hulu.
Photo from Fashionista