21st Nov2023

‘Best. Christmas. Ever!’ Review (Netflix)

by Alain Elliott

Stars: Brandy Norwood, Heather Graham, Jason Biggs, Matt Cedeño, Wyatt Hunt, Abby Villasmil, Madison Skye Validum, Nadia Sine | Written by Todd Calgi Gallicano, Charles Shyer | Directed by Mary Lambert

I will start this review by declaring that that title annoys me much more than it should. Why the full stops and the exclamation mark? It just feels very unnecessary. Now that is out of the way, let’s talk about the movie.

When Jackie sends out her annual ragging Christmas newsletter (I don’t think that’s a thing here in the UK – not to my knowledge – but they always seem to be a thing in American movies), it includes an invite for any of the readers (and friends) to join her at Christmas. Her high school best friend then accidentally ends up at her house after a long drive and they are forced to spend Christmas together.

If you have seen this pop-up on Netflix, two things might catch your attention (especially for genre fans) – the cast and the director. The cast includes Brandy Norwood (I Still Know What You Did Last Summer, Moesha), Heather Graham (Austin Powers, Suitable Flesh) and Jason Biggs (American Pie, Orange Is the New Black). I really enjoyed both Graham and Biggs as the couple who arrive at Jackie’s home. Although both actors have had far from poor careers, you feel like both of them could have had better ones. They are both very likeable and put in enjoyable performances.

The director is even more interesting to horror fans. With 90 IMDb directorial credits to her name, and still going strong at 72 years old, Mary Lambert has worked a lot since her first feature film Pet Sematary. Outside of many music videos, her movie career has varied from the Pet Sematary sequel to Mega Python Vs Gatoroid to two big TV shows (The Blacklist, The Flash) to another holiday film in A Castle For Christmas.

For fans of Christmas rom-coms, there’s plenty to enjoy here and it will all feel very familiar. It doesn’t do a whole lot different to many of those Hallmark Channel Christmas movies but the quality of it all is a little bit. That experienced cast and director no doubt help on that side of things and get you through what is mostly a well-trodden and a little clichéd story. There are the same mishaps, confusion and jokes that you often see in these movies but it is still funny when it tries to be. The emotional moments don’t quite work in the same way though. While the last twenty minutes go a bit ‘sillier’ and over the top, maybe to make the movie stand out from the pack. As it’s a cheesy Christmas movie, this doesn’t hurt at all but viewers might roll their eyes when they see Heather Graham flying a sleigh in the sky and pretending to be Santa Claus.

If, like me, you want your holiday films to be as festive as possible, you’ll be happy with Best. Christmas. Ever! There are bright lights in almost every scene, Christmas trees everywhere, a Christmas play, snow throughout the movie, and. even Santa gets involved. It ticks all the boxes on that front. So, if you are someone who will happily watch all the Christmas rom-coms, this will be an enjoyable 75 minutes for you. But if you’re looking for a new Christmas hit to watch every year, it probably won’t be this movie.

Best. Christmas. Ever! is available to stream on Netflix now.


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