11th Nov2021

‘Father Christmas is Back’ Review (Netflix)

by Alain Elliott

Stars: Kelsey Grammer, Elizabeth Hurley, Kris Marshall, John Cleese, Caroline Quentin, Katy Brand, Ray Fearon, Talulah Riley | Written by Hannah Davis, David Conolly, Dylanne Corcoran | Directed by Mick Davis, Philippe Martinez

Another day, another new Netflix Christmas movie. Father Christmas is Back took my interest because of its cast. I can’t say I’m a huge fan of any of the actors (although I’ve seen most of them put in good performances) but it’s just such a random mix of people that thought I’d check out this festive movie.

So lets start with that cast. The biggest star and playing ‘Father’ Christmas (that’s the surname of the family) is Kelsey Grammer and he’s alongside this odd group of actors who I didn’t expect to see in a Netflix movie together – Elizabeth Hurley, Kris Marshall, John Cleese, Caroline Quentin, Katy Brand, Ray Fearon and Talulah Riley. British viewers will no doubt recognise a few more of the cast too.

While no-one is outright terrible with their performance, much of the cast struggle with what is a pretty awful script. The dialogue is so bad at times that any actor would find it difficult to make it come across as natural. Grammer does fine but surely he’s made enough money not to be making films like this?! Fearon and Riley both try their best with what they have and are mostly enjoyable. In fact, it’s mainly due to the cast that every character isn’t completely unlikeable which could have easily been the case here.

The story is a simple enough one. Four sisters and their close families, reunite one Christmas in a Yorkshire mansion. Their father, who they haven’t seen in many years, also shows up and past secrets mean that things don’t get very smoothly. Families fall out and make up again, theirs several ups and downs, while it’s no real spoiler to say that it all ends in a very Christmassy happy ending

Father Christmas is Back is a comedy but I’m not sure how many laughs you’ll get out of it. Despite the experienced cast, and most of them are experienced in comedy acting, it just isn’t very funny. Several childish jokes centred around sex that will leave you straight-faced, an attempted ‘fight’ scene between John Cleese’s and Kelsey Grammar’s characters which wouldn’t get many laughs even from fans of either actor. And there’s a scene involving Cleese and Quentin which will have you thinking “what am I watching?”

Oh, and I have to mention the score, which is just awful. Every note feels out of place.

One of the few things the movie does well, is feel very much like a Christmas movie. There’s Christmas music, scenes set around the Christmas tree, family drinks at the pub, Christmas dinner, presents and of course snow.

But all that is not enough to make Father Christmas is Back a very enjoyable watch. After twenty minutes I felt like I wanted to turn it off and one hour and twenty minutes later I felt like I wouldn’t have missed much if I did. Netflix alone have plenty of new Christmas movies this year (and series), so I wouldn’t rush to check this one out.

Father Christmas is Back is available on Netflix now.


Comments are closed.