Merry Kissmas is another in the beloved Christmas movie trope: a chance encounter in a lift (I’ll also accept calling it Love in an Elevator). We have A Christmas Kiss to thank for really introducing this cinematic classic to the mainstream.
In Merry Kissmas’ defence, it doesn’t share much more in common with A Christmas Kiss. Kayla may not be a great character (I didn’t know her name for the first 30 minutes, a promising sign) but she is a brilliant source of plot and character info. Within 5 minutes she’s spouted, “I know your parents didn’t celebrate Christmas so you like to go all out” and “if you want me to be your fiancee and business manager” to choreographer Carlton- thank goodness we don’t have to sit through any subtle dialogue!
Carlton is in town to produce a version of The Nutcracker, advertised by the worst billboard ever.
Whilst Carlton’s exhausting his skill set on PowerPoint, Kayla wanders Palo Alto and confides in a street Santa that she’s not really in love anymore. I’d say her complete lack of faith in her current relationship, plus her instant attraction in a lift with baker Dustin, is good enough grounds to dump Carlton. Kayla doesn’t, so settle in for plenty of indecision. The phrase “we’re through” has no bearing or meaning by the end of this film.
There’s nothing in the way of a B-plot except for the more likeable Kim (Dustin’s cousin and the usurped protagonist), who strikes up a background romance with a dog shelter owner. The whole gang go to the dog shelter because puppies sell, but I can’t help wondering why the dog shelter and Kim aren’t the main story. Maybe that was meant to be the focus, especially when you hear dialogue like:
“[Kayla’s] very special”
“Puppies are special, do you want that?”
The bad script being replaced by lots of kissing is a foregone conclusion.
Palo Alto’s got a weird microclimate: Christmas jumpers indoors, shirts and shorts outside. The people there are weird too. Dustin gets stuck in the kissing lift at the film’s climax because of course it all goes back to the lift- everyone’s stood around waiting for the elevator to take them up two levels to their flats. Use the stairs, douchebags!
The film’s only saving graces are Kim and Janna, another friend character who has the same glass of wine in every scene. If only there was a plot to go anywhere near these characters.