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Film Review: ‘Merry Christmas’

Anna Condo's holiday trifle is the cinematic equivalent of a coal-stuffed stocking.

Cast:

Alexandra Stewart, Anthony Langdon, Tibor Feldman, Elizabeth Jasicki, Wally Dunn, Nadia Dassouki, Eleonore Condo, Angelique Cinelu, David Michael Holmes, Martin Pfefferkorn, Darlene “Kay” Elders.

Ho, ho, ho? No, no, no. “Merry Christmas,” an exceedingly tedious trifle directed by Anna Condo and improvised by an enthusiastic but largely unremarkable ensemble, has all the hallmarks of an indie made for a small circle of friends, most of whom appear onscreen. Call it the cinematic equivalent of a coal-stuffed stocking, and you won’t be far off the mark.

French Canadian actress Alexandra Stewart (“Day for Night”) heads the cast as a Park Avenue doyenne who, for reasons never adequately explained, opts to spend a holiday weekend with family and friends at a secluded Pennsylvania bed-and-breakfast. Much of the weekend is devoted to a role-playing murder-mystery game involving the slaying of a notorious club owner at a ’70s-era New York disco. Unfortunately, even when they’re decked out in period-appropriate glitzy garb and outrageous wigs, the sketchily drawn characters — mostly well-to-do ciphers — are rarely amusing, and almost never engaging.

Anthony Langdon does have a few mildly funny moments as a self-absorbed Brit twit who insists that, even during an economic downturn, his plans for a caviar restaurant are viable. (“Luxury still sells!”) But his scheme, like virtually everything else introduced throughout the dramedy, isn’t given any significant dramatic weight. Indeed, there doesn’t appear to be any purpose at all to the random exchanges and interactions that pass for a plot. Pinchpenny production values don’t help.

Film Review: 'Merry Christmas'

Reviewed online, Houston, Dec. 4, 2013. Running time: 83 MIN.

Production:

A Fern Films production. Produced by Alex Charpenter.

Crew:

A Fern Films production. Produced by Alex Charpenter.

With:

Alexandra Stewart, Anthony Langdon, Tibor Feldman, Elizabeth Jasicki, Wally Dunn, Nadia Dassouki, Eleonore Condo, Angelique Cinelu, David Michael Holmes, Martin Pfefferkorn, Darlene “Kay” Elders.

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