Do you ever watch a film where you wonder whether the filming crew just decided to use the first take and not bother with any other shots? Maybe I’ve just been watching too many bad films (that is to say I definitely have been watching too many bad films) but The Town Christmas Forgot stands out as a particular example of this. I dunno, maybe it’s when the mum sighs with exasperation and says, “I knew we should’ve flewn.”

Flewn. Not flown- y’know, the correct spelling/an actual word. Flewn. This is five minutes in. It’s still the first scene. Flewn. They’ve really cocked it this time.

The film follows a family, the Average Americans, as their plan to spend Christmas at a ski lodge is scuppered. Instead they find themselves in a delightful CGI town called Nowhere. “If you’ve never been to Nowhere before, you are now,” says a friendly man who’s so kindly I did think he’d turn out to be a guardian angel. Nope, just a super nice guy even if his grammar is lacking. If you’ve never been, you are now? What does that- Look, I could go on about this severely under-proofread script til the cows come home, I’ll stop. We’re all capable of mistakes, just not all of us get to have ours immortalised in film.

This is one of those films where everybody learns life is nicer when you socialise and show kindness to others, like this is the first time anyone’s ever said that. The family splits up for the day (cos together they were a whiny mess), with the dad trailing the man who isn’t a guardian angel to look at the abandoned coal mine. “Is this a coal mine?” he asks as they enter. No shit, city slicker. Meanwhile, the mum teaches the local women basic rhythm as they prepare for their Christmas pageant. Except maybe they won’t perform the pageant because it costs too much money- that’s what the grumpy Mayor says. Does it though? Cos his wife (who looks like an older Ellie Kemper- just an observation, I have no sarcastic take on this) has the venue and the performers sorted. And when (spoiler) they perform the pageant it does all look pretty cheap. Maybe the mayor just knows that the town’s trade used to be mining and now it’s being sad, so he’s keeping it up. Still, I don’t really know his deal.

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See what I mean about the cheap-looking pageant? (Maybe this is her punishment for saying “flewn”)

Ditto the sad toyshop owner. The little boy bugs him to open the shop- which is fully stocked- yet he doesn’t because he’s sad. I’ll be honest, I can’t remember this subplot. I think somebody died? But also, how is he funding this lifestyle? At least we can rely on the teen girl for her light topics of conversation. Bands, boys, saying “like” every other word, pretty legit.

It’s quite a sweet ending when everybody manages to pull together and put on a show. Even though they’ve lost their tourism or industry, this dying town can still celebrate a season of togetherness. Then the dad of the Average Americans throws some money at the town’s problems. So there we have it: money trumps love and compassion. Merrrrry Christmas.

Rating: Ho/Ho Ho Ho.

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