For reasons that are either malicious, self-indulgent, or an indeterminate combination of both, we here in the P.TV editorial team have committed ourselves to each watching and reviewing at least one of the terrible, cheesy, never-hit-a-cinema-screen Christmas movies offered up on Netflix. For some of us, this only gave validation to something we would have otherwise have been doing anyway as a guilty pleasure. For the rest of us, this is an exercise bordering on psychological torture that would surely be deemed ‘unbelievably cruel’ and ‘extremely illegal’ if it were ever brought to the attention of the Fair Work Ombudsman.

Because I am a tremendous, dedicated employee, I took to the task with the same grave seriousness with which I assume Michelangelo took to painting the roof of the Sistine Chapel: I got home after a day of heavy drinking, ate a bunch of edibles, and watched the 2016 Hallmark film A Wish for Christmas.

Immediately, I was blown away by the star-studded cast, headed up by heavyweights of film and television Lacey Chabert and Paul Greene. Greene I’m sure you’ll be well familiar with from when he played the nude masseur in Sofia Coppola‘s 2010 meditation on rich person sadness, Somewhere, and Chabert is a household name on the strength of two roles alone: as Gretchen Wieners in Mean Girls and (more importantly) as Penny Robinson in the 1998 film adaptation of Lost in Space.

In A Wish for Christmas, Chabert plays a junior web designer (the junior nature of her position is stressed multiple times) named Sara who lives in Chicago and loves Christmas like it’s no one’s fucking business. As we find out from an opening scene almost frame-for-frame ripped off from the opening credits of Bedazzled, Sara is nice — too nice. She holds the door to the office open for a co-worker, only to have a stream of co-workers push past her. As a result, she misses out on the lift, full as it is of those very same co-workers. What a pushover! Waiting for the elevator, we meet her best friend Molly, who is swiftly established as a huge asshole that makes Sara do all her work for her.

They are soon joined by their boss, Peter, who is having an overwhelmingly exposition-heavy phonecall about how much of a drag Christmas is. Wow, I wonder if we’re going to learn any lessons about the spirit of Christmas later on in the film!

This trio of fucks is joined by Bryan. This is Bryan:


Pictured: Zach Galifianakis if you sucked all the joy out of his body.

I hate Bryan with my life. The hate I have for Bryan is more strong than the love I have for anything else. Watching the movie, you get the impression that Bryan is supposed to be the comic relief, but he does a grand total of one half of a joke in the entire course of the film. When we meet him, two things are established: that he is attempting to put himself in a mistletoe situation with as many people in the office as possible, and also that he is in a managerial position with at least five people working under him. I personally may not be a member of the managerial class, but I reckon trying to make out with everyone around you at all times is probably bad practice.

But enough about Bryan.

From the moment Sara sits down at her desk, she is beset by a torrent of woes. Her lifelong best friend, Molly, is bullying Sara into doing Molly’s work for her, at the expense of doing her own work on time. Sara’s immediate manager — Dirk, a bastard in a hideous office that appears as if they intended to greenscreen a better one in later — chews her out because he deleted an email she sent her (?) and then goes off because she is recommending marketing campaigns for clients, something outside the remit of her junior web design role.


Pictured: A shade of green designed by the US military to induce nightmares.

Let’s talk about her proposed campaign, ‘Christmas 365’. For the massive role that Christmas 365 plays in the plot of this movie, it remains a nebulous, mysterious concept that is never fully fleshed out. We’re told that it’s “about keeping the spirit of Christmas alive, 365 days a year” and that, for some reason, this is maybe the greatest idea in the history of ideas.

An idea so good that Dirk, the bastard, decides to brazenly steal it from Sara.

Later at the Christmas party, Peter announces to the entire company that Dirk is the world’s greatest genius for coming up with a thing called Holidays 365, an idea again described solely as something to do with keeping the spirit of Christmas alive, all year round. Somehow, this absolute nothing of an idea warrants rapturous applause, an honest-to-god bow from Dirk, a round of enthusiastic congratulatory handshakes, and an opportunity for Dirk to go with Peter to Seattle to pitch Holidays 365 to the much-talked-about Wilson Taylor Group.

Disheartened, Sara goes to leave, until she is intercepted by the sound of magical tinkling chimes that universally herald the appearance of Santa.


Pictured: Tinkle tinkle motherfucker.

Santa stops her on her way out of the party to give her a gift: a card. But it’s not just any card, the card is somehow magically animated like some real Harry Potter shit, something which both Sara and Molly seem completely unperturbed by, immediately accepting that magic is real.


Pictured: Either this movie is set in an alternate universe with highly advanced greeting card technology or this woman is too depressed to be surprised by anything.

Of course, the card is a magical card, because the Santa that gave her the card is the real Santa. You know, the one from all those songs and Coca-Cola ads? Thanks to the sorcerous powers of St Nick, for 48 hours, Sara’s deepest wish will come true. For me, that wish would be that I was completely immune to all forms of prosecution and was, as a result, free to spend two continuous days robbing every store in sight. But Sara is different.

Sara’s greatest wish is that she will finally have some courage in her life.

A quick sidebar before we get into the whirlwind of Christmas confidence that changes Sara’s life: Let’s talk about bokeh. Bokeh is a word used in photography to describe the quality of out of focus points of light. Good bokeh is nice and round with a uniform appearance and well-defined but pleasantly soft edges. Whatever piece of shit lenses they used to shoot this movie make for some absolutely garbage bokeh:

Yuck! Filth! Filth!!!

Anyway.

Imbued with the magic power of cocaine Christmas courage, Sara marches back into the Christmas party and gets Dirk fired for stealing her work. The good news doesn’t stop there: Sara is now going to Seattle with Peter to pitch her amazing, very vague idea directly to Mr Wilson Taylor himself.

Oh no! They arrive in Seattle to find out that Wilson Taylor has gone with another company’s pitch, presumably one more substantial than ‘Christmas is nice :)’. They have but one chance: to catch him in the rinky-dink town of White Ridge. Peter looks pained at the very mention of the place, and I am certain this won’t come up again at all.

After berating a rental car company manager into giving them a car that he simply does not have available, they make their way to White Ridge, whereupon Sara discovers that Peter is a familiar face here. In fact, his entire family lives here. What are the god damn fucking odds on this one.

Once again employing the infernal gifts granted to her by Satan Santa, Sara invites herself to a cookie decorating spree at the family home of her boss, who clearly has misgivings about it. There we get to meet Peter’s mum:


Pictured: Definitely mother and son.

Does something look a bit weird about this? It might have something to do with the fact that the actress playing Peter’s mum is a mere 7 years older than the actor playing Peter. Troubling!

Finally, we meet the movie’s complication: Peter’s ornery father. The two have refused to speak ever since Peter dropped out of law school to start a whatever-it-is-that-Peter’s-company-does company, ruining his father’s dreams of them being the best damn father-son lawyer team in the Pacific Northwest.

Like on any good, professional business trip, by the night prior to the big pitch, the two coworkers have become irreconcilably horny for each other. If you were worried this movie wasn’t going to contain a sequence of the two of them alone in their respective beds, fully clothed and fully done up, completely sleepless with pent-up horniness, stop worrying: there totally is!

Just when it seems like they have absolutely no choice but to bone like it’s the only thing that can save Christmas, everything goes awry: Sara loses it at Wilson Taylor, a man who acts exactly like the sort of person who wears a Bluetooth headset, and who is also wearing a Bluetooth headset:

Pictured: You can tell he’s the villain because he doesn’t instantly love something called ‘Christmas 365’.

This outburst seemingly loses them the Wilson Taylor campaign, which is awful because, according to Peter, his company is basically broke at this point. What a twist!

Their romance is seemingly gone and Sara’s magical courage has run out, so she does the only logical thing she can: call up the person who organised the Christmas party to ask for the phone number of the Santa they hired. To be clear: she fully understands that that Santa has incredible magical powers, but she also believes he is just a regular rent-a-Santa. Sure.

Unfortunately, Santa cannot be reached via conventional means, so she must find the courage that was inside her all along to finally schwang that deal with Mr Taylor.

Peter, meanwhile, has found the true spirit of Christmas and done the right thing: given the employees at his ad agency the day off on Christmas. Just kidding, he’s still making them work, he just brought them some shitty gifts and some food.


Pictured:The higher the hair, the closer to, uh, Christmas?

And just like that, every loose end is tied up. Peter reconciles with his dad, peter reconciles with Sara because she closed the deal, and, most importantly, Peter gets to make out with one of his employees.

While not a traditionally good movie, this will definitely appeal to junior web designers who love Christmas and who also really want to root their hot boss. If that’s you, get stuck into this guy on Netflix.