Time Loop Review #08
Type of time loop: ~12-16 Hours.
I can’t exactly say that there are a ton of B-class actors out there that I’m consistently a fan of…usually. That being said, there is one actor that would normally fall under that classification that in all honesty, I really do like, and that actor is Jay Mohr. Truthfully, I’ve always considered him a very charismatic actor that never really got a shot at making it big. Whether that was because he missed one good opportunity along the way or if he’s just really bad at picking out winning projects, we may never know. Regardless, I am always ready to watch one of his roles, however good or bad the movie or TV show actually is…because I like him.
Low and behold, it turns out Jay Mohr had his own Groundhog Day time loop movie, unfortunately, it gets lost within the other numerous Christmas time loop movies that exist. Though, out of all of these holiday-themed films, I probably enjoyed Christmas Do-Over the most. Mostly out of bias, and if I’m honest with myself, they all kind of blend in together at this point. However, let’s see where this one exceeds.
Before I talk about the plot, there was one more thing I wanted to mention. The story takes a giant page out of the Liar Liar handbook. Yes, indeed. The magic in the film is completely centered around a manchild’s son making a magical wish that every day is Christmas, and all the while, the manchild is still in love with his ex, who is engaged to an idiot, but a nice idiot, that is.
Kevin tries to be involved with his son and ex-wife’s family for Christmas. During dinner, he thought his Christmas *day* couldn’t be more screwed; his son suddenly wishes it was Christmas every day. After that, it was a regular Groundhog’s Day. Kevin learns new dance moves and can actually sing. Don’t let the caroling fool you.
PEOPLE – 12/20 (60%)
Acting – 2/4 | Characters – 2/4 | Casting – 3/4 | Importance – 2/4 | Chemistry – 3/4
As much as I love Jay Mohr, I can’t just give this entire category full points because of him, he’s not that good. I gave it one extra point for Jay in the casting subcategory, since the rest of the cast is unmemorable in the long run. I suppose that I also gave chemistry an extra point because Jay more does naturally play well with others, but in the scheme of things, absolutely nothing else ended up standing out. Acting range was bland and stagnant, there was nothing memorable, deep, or diverse about the characters, and it was especially disappointing that each character didn’t have their own importance in the big picture. Time loop films are usually good at creating dots to connect, and people and their importance are a big part of that. Not here, though.
WRITING – 5/10 (50%)
Dialogue – 1/2 | Balance – 1/2 | Story Depth – 1/2 | Originality – 0/2 | Interesting -2/2
What we have here is what I’m beginning to see as typical time loop TV movie writing. In short – there’s just basically nothing worth talking about because nothing stands out here, and honestly, that is so unfortunate. Jay Mohr is more than a charismatic individual. He is a comedian. To have a comedian play in a film where the dialogue is basic and completely forgettable is just too bad. The balance comes down to the fact that this really is a man child. He had no ambitions, which is a character trait, but that unfortunately means he has no goals either, in life and in the movie. So…other than the time loop, the film is mostly directionless. Not much depth other than what we are used to for time loop movies, it’s definitely unoriginal. The only thing saving this from being referred to as specifically bad writing is the concept alone, which of course is interesting.
BTS – 6/10 (60%)
Visuals – 1/2 | Cinematography – 1/2 | Editing – 1/2 | Advertising – 2/2 | Music/Sound – 1/2
I’ll keep this short and sweet – this score reflects 90% of all generic comedy films in general. All it really means is that nobody on set was really worrying about this looking remarkable…and that’s fine…if your focus is on the comedy, but the comedy is kind of weak here…so it really did need the BTS to have a stronger direction. I will give it to the editing though, it was typical, which is more than you normally see with TV movies. I’m not saying there isn’t any, but I didn’t see very many super cheap edits, like the common fade-to-black stuff specifically put in to pave way for commercials.
NARRATIVE ARC – 8/10 (80%)
Introduction – 2/2 | Inciting Incident – 2/2 | Obstacles – 1/2 | Climax – 1/2 | Resolution – 2/2
The narrative arc is basically the easiest category to get full points in, especially if you started out the right way. Unfortunately, we have the time loop dilemma where the characters themselves don’t have their own independent character goals, so there can’t truly be any obstacles standing in the way, just the loop itself. The climax, however, was anticlimactic, expected, and predictable, and that was fully avoidable. That is where the writing suffers the most. Other than that, everything is fine here.
ENTERTAINMENT – 3/10 (30%)
Rewatchability – 1/2 | Fun Experience – 2/2 | Impulse/Buy – 0/2 | Impulse/Talk – 0/2 | Sucks You In – 0/2
Same basic score in the entertainment category for the same basic reasons. It’s just a light-hearted film that doesn’t ask for much. You don’t need to think about it, so there’s nothing to really discuss about it, and it isn’t complex in a way that you need to pay sharp attention to, either. It’s fun enough for what it is, and it doesn’t shoe you away if you were to see it airing on TV again in a few years. It is what it is, but it’s hardly a must-watch.
SPECIALTY – 30/40 (75%)
Time Loop – 5/10 | Comedy – 5/10 | Family – 10/10 | Halfway Decent – 10/10
- Time Loop – It has the basic essentual elements for a time loop film, but is one of the most forgettable out of any other time loop movie you’ve ever seen.
- Comedy – I’m not going to sit here and say it lacks in all things comedy. There are still some things that work really well, but it’s ultimately tacky, cheesy, and predictable in all the wrong ways.
- Family – what can I say? This is an ABC Family movie, and if it can do just one thing right, that would probably be it.
- Halfway Decent – Hey, they made the movie they intended to make from the get go. If that doesn’t deserve a little praise, then I wouldn’t be a good critic, so good job Mohr and Friends.