Let It Snow. 2019
Directed by Luke Snellin
Starring Shameik Moore, Kiernan Shipka, Isabela Merced, Odeya Rush, Joan Cusack, Jacob Batalon, Miles Robbins, Mitchell Hope, Liv Hewson, Anna Akana, Matthew Noszka, Jamie Champagne, Jon Champagne, Andrea De Oliveira, Mason Gooding, Victor Rivers, Genevieve DeGraves, and Hallea Jones
In a small town on Christmas Eve, a snowstorm brings together a group of young people.
Here in Illinois (coincidentally the setting of Let It Snow), a few days into November it’s already snowing. That seems like a random piece of throwaway information to start a review with, but opening narration from Joan Cusack’s tinfoil wrapped conspiracy theorist/community service helpline (don’t ask, there’s plenty of nonsense here not even worth questioning) makes it a point to mention how it’s rare for the state to get a white Christmas Eve, which would be an intriguing plot point if it hadn’t just snowed in real life on Halloween. Sure, flurries are capable of disrupting our all-important holiday plans for mysterious reasons that wind up bringing us all closer together, but snow messing up people’s Halloween; that’s the movie I want to see.
Joking aside, Let It Snow is a frustrating experience because it does contain so many talented performers that I am a personal fan of, ranging from Isabela Merced (formerly Isabela Moner of the sweet family comedy Instant Family and respectfully decent Dora adaptation), the Spider-Man franchise’s Jacob Batalon, Dope‘s Shameik Moore, Kiernan Shipka (who seemed like a wonderful person to meet at the recently passed ACE Midwest comic convention), Odeya Rush, and the aforementioned Joan Cusack trying to drop a little wisdom on these youngsters going to a tumultuous Christmas season, and does nothing but place them in generic rom-com dynamics making sure to give each one of them a painful monologue that is also badly delivered.
Let It Snow marks the directorial debut for Luke Snellin (who up until now has only steered episodes of television and shorts), but the real problems seem to lie within working from a hodgepodge script from various names (among them is Kay Cannon who last year crafted a gut-bustlingly hilarious breakout debut feature in Blockers) that appears to be cramming three books or written stories into one movie. To call it a disaster might be an understatement; everyone has problems, usually boiling down to a significant other and/or the inability of being one’s self while not being concerned with what others think. All of this is wrapped up into a comedy, which is a term that should be used loosely considering there’s a running joke involving a bloody male nipple that is apparently the pinnacle of humor to these writers.
Whenever the film is focused on a character that has a different kind of problem (Isabela Merced’s character is unsure of whether to go to college in New York or let the offer pass her by to take care of her sickly mother, simultaneously interacting with Shameik Moore’s famous pop singer following a meet-cute, occasionally juxtaposing their drastically different lifestyles with mildly effective success) from high-school love it’s a reprieve. That’s not to say teenage romance is inherently boring or annoying, but there are just so many similar subplots regarding the same subject that none of them emerge to say anything thoughtful or resonate as emotionally investing. The filmmakers try to shake things up (one of them is a lesbian romance with one character struggling to come out whereas another involves jealousy), but it’s all for nothing since none of these people register as worth spending time with.
This is the most cliché holiday romantic comedy imaginable, with not a single district trait worth highlighting. Not to mention, the performances are notably bad alongside some inexcusably bad attempts at jokes. Worst of all, the central premise involving snow connecting one another never rises beyond a gimmick, and it’s an overlooked gimmick at that. Yes, characters experience the occasional setback from snow, but realistically you can take away snow from the entire narrative and tell the same story without losing anything. So not only is Let It Snow a horrible movie, but it’s also a horrible movie that decides to never embrace its concept. Let it snow all the way to the bottom of your Netflix recommendations. If the Grinch was real he would detest this town and find them as annoying as whoever allows eggnog to coerce them into pressing play.
Flickering Myth Rating – Film: ★ / Movie: ★ ★
Robert Kojder is a member of the Chicago Film Critics Association and the Flickering Myth Reviews Editor. Check here for new reviews, friend me on Facebook, follow my Twitter or Letterboxd, check out my personal non-Flickering Myth affiliated Patreon, or email me at MetalGearSolid719@gmail.com