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Joyeux Noel

Christian Carion

Joyeux Noel
Teen comedies are generally exempted from exhibiting narrative or aesthetic virtues, and this hormonally accelerated romp is no exception. Brittany Snow assays the role of Kate, the prototypical wallflower whose social life takes an upturn when she warns three girls that their boyfriend — the eponymous Mr. Tucker (Jesse Metcalfe) — is in fact three-timing them. Thus the girls (head cheerleader Ashanti, tech geek Arielle Kebbel, hippie slut Sophia Bush) hatch a plot to float Kate as his next girlfriend, the better to lure him into embarrassing situations. Only problem: Kate falls for him, and he seems to fall for her back. The production would be entirely undistinguished were it not for its hypersexual nature — not only are the girls sexualised well beyond what the narrative requires but the plot revolves around lurid situations beyond what the MPAA allows (fittingly, the disc offers PG-13 and unrated cuts). Couple that with the fast-and-furious nature of plot contrivances and cutting, and you have a recipe for a splitting cinematic headache. For his part, Metcalfe is so smug that you wonder, why would any girl consider him a catch? For their parts, director Betty Thomas and writer Jeff Lowell paint themselves into a corner when they have to deliver the big learning experience ending the rest of the movie lives to deny. Extras include a useless commentary by director Betty Thomas and editor Matthew Friedman, a questionable featurette on the film’s "empowerment” of girls, a cast meet-and-greet that’s too brief to give up too many secrets, a clip on the humanly impossible basketball moves, a witless tour of the set with Jesse Metcalfe, an un-amusing "dating quiz,” a performance of "Instantly Gratified” by People with Planes, and two deleted scenes with director commentary. (Seville)
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