You only need to watch a few romantic comedies to know that almost every unlucky singleton wondering why dating hasn’t worked out for them yet has a pair of friends who are a solid foundation of a good relationship. Think Lily and Marshall from How I Met Your Mother, but boring so that the audience will focus on the Teds of the world instead. They’re a supportive team who are always there for each other with no conflict- adorable for five minutes as they lecture Katherine Heigl or similar 30-something, but tedious for any longer period of time.
Unfortunately the minds behind Gifts for Christmas did not have this train of thought, so we’re saddled with a couple so beige you could paint them on your walls (except don’t because ew beige walls). Newlyweds Jim and Della spend their time stating things the other should definitely know by now: “I hate having my picture taken, and I married a girl who loves taking photos.” Jim, I’d think your wife knows all of these facts…unless you can see the fourth wall? Who are ya talkin’ to, buddy? They also like sneaking around to find and fund their spouse’s perfect Christmas gift, which leads to them spending zero time together (possibly because they’ve realised how dull they are hanging out too).
We see the relationship jump from zero conflict to every conflict imaginable because they’re suddenly snooping around and avoiding one another. Like guys, buying a Christmas present for your S.O. doesn’t have to be this stressful- this is why online shopping exists! Somehow even with all of these complications the plot continues to be boring. We start seeing more of Della’s old flatmate being wooed by Jim’s widowed friend (with accompanying annoying child who really knows how to kill a mood/any conversation) and soon it’s fairly obvious that Jim and Della are the sub-plot in the romantic comedy between their friends. I’m watching a film that takes place in a sideline to a main story I don’t even care about in the first place. And after this realisation there’s still forty minutes to go.
So much of this film is unnecessary detail. Della’s friend is thinking of painting her flat yellow. Not even painting it, thinking of painting it. Did anyone ask for this information? Does it become relevant later? Not at all, unless you count when we get an entire scene of them then painting the flat. TWO SCENES DEDICATED TO PAINTING A FLAT. IT’S IRRELEVANT. DID THEY JUST HAVE LEFTOVER PAINT? WHY DOES THIS HAPPEN? ARE WE GOING TO WATCH IT DRY TOO?
Time slowed down when I was watching this film- and why is the alternate title for this film Gift of the Magi? Pretty sure the Magi didn’t nearly get a divorce and also I feel gold trumps a steering wheel. Yes, this is one of the presents in the film. No wonder we veer off onto the other plot instead.
Rating: Ho/Ho Ho Ho.