Cup of Cheer is the long overdue Xmas film that you’ve been waiting for a lifetime to see and the jokes never stop coming.
She’s just a small town girl working in the big city. He’s just a small town guy about to go out of work. Okay, it worked better in my head trying to pen them to a Tom Petty song but I digress. This is the film that wonderfully satires every Xmas film you’ve ever seen on Hallmark or Lifetime and then some.
Mary (Storm Steenson) is a career woman in the big city. A work assignment takes her to her hometown of Snowy Heights to write about the town’s famous Xmas cheer. Easier said than done, right? While Mary soon runs into Santa (Adam Jenner), the encounter with Chris (Alexander Oliver) will change her life. This meet-cute couldn’t be more hysterical if they tried. Who wouldn’t want to have a large tub of hot cocoa poured on their clothing upon meeting the love of their life? That’s a rhetorical question–don’t answer it!
No sooner than arriving into town and walking into Cup of Cheer–operated by Chris and brother Keith (Liam Marshall)–Mary also learns that they are going to be evicted. Oh, it gets worse when you learn that a national cocoa chain is going to buy the building and open a new location. There are some other embarrassing moments, thanks to Mrs. Clovenwitch (Helly Chester). If you think things cannot get any zanier, they do. A time-traveling prince, Authuh (Jacob Hogan) finds his way into town. He’s super lost and isn’t completely sure of his quest. And when you think the hysterics won’t continue, we’re introduced to the Ghosts of Xmas Past, Present, and Future.
Shutting down Cup of Cheer is none other than Mary’s ex, Mai Ex Her Ex Hernandex Ex (Shawn Vincent). Mai Ex is practically joined at the hip by his henchman (Braden Barrie). The filmmakers have so much fun with creating names here. Some of the character names are certainly worthy of a Mel Brooks spoof. If not spoofs like Airplane! or The Naked Gun. In any event, Mary puts it upon herself to save Xmas while falling in love with Chris.
The Xmas Eve Bake Sale Fundraiser Caroling Competition Time Capsule Opening Tradition Snow Globe Building Competition Wish-making Tradition is an annual tradition in Snowy Heights. And so it’s here where the film comes to both a climax and our lovers also reveal their love with each other. Sorry not sorry–this is a parody of every Xmas film ever so if you didn’t see this coming, that’s on you!
There are some cringe moments here (Keith gives Chris a lap dance) but I wouldn’t expect things differently. Some bowel movement humor, too. But in a year with so much anxiety, this is one of those films that provides laughter. A lot of laughter.
Listen, we’ve all seen the storyline before. This film is honestly self-aware that they’re in a satire. The film’s opening basically gives it away! At one point in the film, Mary even says she wants small-town hot, not low-budget leading man parody hot. What Jake Horowitz does behind the camera is give the genre the outrageous satire it deserves. I’ve watched this film twice already and it is just as hysterical on the second viewing. Should it join the current rotation of Elf, Xmas Vacation, and the first two Home Alone movies? If you want a raunchy film, most certainly!
This film is a low-budget indie and it KNOWS it’s a low-budget indie. Films like these tend to be films that rarely get coverage because most people will focus on the studio films. This is an unusual year and these are uncertain times. Give this film a chance and who knows, maybe you’ll be laughing up a storm like me.
A lot of us have been running on high anxiety and honestly need to laugh. Cup of Cheer may just be what the doctor ordered in certain circumstances.
DIRECTOR: Jake Horowitz
SCREENWRITERS: Jake Horowitz & Andy Lewis
CAST: Storm Steenson, Alexander Oliver, Liam Marshall, Jacob Hogan, Helly Chester, Shawn Vincent, and Braden Barrie