It’s the day after Christmas, and Emmy (Bridget Devlin Burke) is bringing her new boyfriend Darryl (Demetrius Parker) home to meet the family. Problem is, the previous two boyfriends she brought to meet the family ran for the hills immediately after, and Emmy is worried about losing her new beau. Still, how bad could it be?
Francis Abbey’s Boxing Day proves that it can get pretty bad, but also pretty hilarious. Emmy’s family is as dysfunctional as they come, with an overbearing, know-it-all mother (Vicki Hartford), a harmless, and clueless, father (Jim Murphy), a sister (Jenna St. John) fixated on how Dawson’s Creek ended, who looks a little bit different than the rest of the family, and a soon-to-be-convict brother (Danny Gavigan) who is as dumb as a bag of rocks. On a good day, they’d be a disaster to deal with all together. And did I mention they may be more than a wee bit racist?
See, Darryl is black and Emmy is white. Not a problem for them, but Emmy’s family can’t seem to see much of Darryl but his skin color, and much of the insanity of the day is influenced by that. If the family isn’t outright acting racist, like by assuming he’s a robber and hitting him over the head with a golf club, they’re behaving in a racist manner in their attempts to show just how not racist they are.
Now, I like awkward comedy, and this film is full of awkward. At a certain point it begins to feel a bit one-note (is it only going to be more awkward “we’re not racist but we’re totally acting racist” humor?), but it does mix things up a little bit by the film’s end, when we get a glimpse of the full dysfunction rampant in the family.
And, to the film’s credit, it goes for the funny and lighthearted and stays there for the duration. The little bits of drama that arrive are almost absurd, and nothing is too serious at any given moment. In that way, the film is just a pleasant, funny experience.
On the tech side, the film sounds and looks good, which is usually about as hard as you need to press the aesthetics for a comedy. Really, as long as things don’t look or sound so bad as to distract, comedies are usually made or broken by whether you laugh, and Boxing Day did make me laugh more than a few times. I do wish I could get the damn “It’s Boxing Day…” song out of my head though. Evil how infectious that tune gets…
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