Let It Snow (2019) ☆☆1/2(2.5/4): A passable winter holiday flick

Netflix film “Let It Snow” is a passable winter holiday flick you can watch just for killing your time at cold winter night. Although it is thoroughly trite and predictable in terms of story and characters, the movie is equipped with some holiday cheer and lots of snowy shots at least, and its short running time (94 minutes) will quickly pass by even though it does not leave much impression on you in the end.

The story, which is based on “Let It Snow: Three Holiday Romances” by John Green, Lauren Myracle, and Maureen Johnson, is mainly set in some small snowy town on Christmas Eve, and the opening part of the film busily hops around a bunch of different young people in the story. Many of them are looking forward to having some fun and excitement in the upcoming evening, and Keon (Jacob Batalon) is particularly eager to throw a party for his friends and others mainly because it may help his future DJ career (He already has a rather unimpressive stage name for that, by the way).

When his plan to hold the part at his home is unexpectedly dashed, Keon is naturally disappointed, but then he gets an opportunity to hold the party at some other place instead. Although that place is actually a local diner where he works, he soon eagerly embarks on preparing for the party, and his close friend Tobin (Mitchell Hope) is supposed to bring some beer before the party begins in the evening.

However, Tobin somehow becomes late to Keon’s annoyance, and we already know the reason for that. Before going to the diner, Tobin and his best female friend Angie (Kiernan Shipka), who is often called Duke, hang around a bit with Angie’s college student friend JP Lapierre (Matthew Noszka), and, as watching how Angie is close to JP, Tobin cannot help but feel jealous due to having a crush on her for a long time. When they later commit a little act of stealing along with JP, they have some fun from that, but, not so surprisingly, the situation becomes a bit complicated because of an unexpected trouble. As they and JP are stuck together for a while, Tobin becomes more conscious of whatever is exchanged between Duke and JP, and that consequently causes a very awkward moment between Duke and Tobin at one point later in the story.

In the meantime, the movie also observes the development of an accidental relationship between Julie (Isabela Merced) and Stuart (Shameik Moore). They happen to encounter each other on a train going to the town which is incidentally her hometown, and Julie is not particularly impressed by Stuart being a well-known pop singer, but she allows him to accompany her when she decides to get off the train when it happens to stop right before arriving at the nearby station. As they talk more with each other, they find themselves attracted more to each other, but, as shown from her first scene in the film, Julie has a big personal matter to deal with, and she feels all the more conflicted when she later goes to her family house along with Stuart.

At the diner, Dorrie (Liv Hewson), who works there as an waitress, is also conflicted a lot over her own personal matter. When a bunch of cheerleaders happen to stay in the diner for a while as it gets colder outside, Dorrie recognizes one of them because she and that cheerleader girl have been in a romantic relationship behind their back. She tries to present herself well in front of the cheerleaders, but she only comes to embarrass herself instead, and she becomes more unsure about whether she can possibly go on with that cheerleader girl.

In case of Dorrie’s best friend Addie (Odeya Rush), she has been in a serious emotional turmoil as quite concerned about the possibility of her boyfriend cheating on her behind his back. She tries to contact with him as much as she can, but it really looks like he is going to dump her for some other girl, so she subsequently tries to go to the diner where he will probably be along with that girl and some others.

Alas, as the weather is getting colder and snowier, Addie only finds herself stranded on a road, and that is how she comes to meet an eccentric lady who willingly gives her a ride to the diner. Although Joan Cusack is surely a good comic actress, her several dialogue scenes with Odeya Rush are actually the least funny part of the film, and it is rather depressing to see these two performers trying and then failing to overcome their bland and lackluster lines.

Even if you can overlook this glaringly flawed part, the adapted screenplay by Laura Solon, Victoria Strouse, and Kay Cannon still feels deficient due to thin and mediocre characterization. Although the movie generates some sense of fun when the party is finally started at the diner (Is this a spoiler?), we only come to observe this from the distance without much care or attention because many of its main characters are too flat to engage us from the beginning, and that flawed aspect is not even compensated much by the fairly good efforts from the main cast members of the film.

On the whole, “Let It Snow”, which is the first feature film of director Luke Snellin, is not very bad or boring, but its story and characters are not engaging enough for me, and I am now reminded of how enjoyable “Love Actually” (2003) really is as a winter holiday season film. That movie is surely quite sappy and sentimental at times, but it has much more wit and personality in comparison, and maybe I should revisit it just for cheering me up a bit more.

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