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  Lost at Christmas It's Cliched To Be Cynical At Christmas
Year: 2020
Director: Ryan Hendrick
Stars: Natalie Clark, Kenny Boyle, Sylvester McCoy, Sanjeev Kohli, Clare Grogan, Frazer Hines, Caitlin Blackwood, Karen Bartke, Alasdair McCrone, Alexander Teunion, Nicolette McKeown, Calum Cormack, David Bickerstaff, Paul Kozinski, Giga Gray
Genre: Comedy, Drama, RomanceBuy from Amazon
Rating:  4 (from 1 vote)
Review: Jen (Natalie Clark) was all geared up to have a whale of a Christmastime in Fort William in the Scottish Highlands with her boyfriend, she got all dressed up as an elf, bought lots of presents, and made her way round to his house. However, when she reached it, a little boy answered the door, followed by a strange woman - followed by Jen's boyfriend, which left him with many awkward questions to answer, and Jen with a ruined Yuletide. Meanwhile, Rob (Kenny Boyle) has decided to use the season to pop the question to his long-time girlfriend, so gets down on one knee, proffers the engagement ring - and is cut off mid-sentence, when she tells him she would rather not get married as she's not sure she loves him. This leaves two humiliated people...

Doctor Who is one of the most famous science fiction series on television, one of those things everyone has an opinion on, but a curious effect of its popularity is making many of its fans believe they can make it better than anyone else, which leads to the phenomenon of fan films. One of these was Doctor Who: Besieged from 2013, and the reason to bring this up in a review of a Christmas movie was that most of the folks who made that, made this, Lost at Christmas, too. This was why you had former Doctor Sylvester McCoy yucking it up with former Doctor's companion Frazer Hines at the bar of the hotel Jen and Rob wind up staying in, and "young Amy Pond" Caitlin Blackwood as another guest. It should also be noted director Ryan Hendrick played... The Doctor in his fanfic.

So maybe he was trying to appeal to that notoriously picky fanbase and garner a guaranteed audience, if only for curiosity value. What you had may not find much of an audience, given in the UK at least you could switch on the movies channels and find a TV movie of similar low budget quality, and not have the trouble of seeking this one out. As with those productions, the characters here did not behave like reasonable people, which was how the plot contrivances came about - Jen steals her now-ex's classic sports car to take Rob to Glasgow in out of the kindness of her heart, despite the CGI screensaver snow turning into blizzard conditions, which is why they have to ditch the motor and take a room at the inn. Any sane person would have thought, hmm, Fort William might have heard of hotels so we don't have to take the trip in this treacherous weather, but these were not sane folks.

This could have resulted in some fun, wacky festive nonsense, and come the halfway mark the film starts to work a little magic as the frosty Rob thaws and Jen's naivety seems justified, but then bizarrely Hendrick opted to have everyone in the hotel gaze deep into the bleakest abyss imaginable for the remainder of the story, aside from a sequence where they cheer the hell up for a while and have Christmas dinner. Okay, all that 'tis the season stuff isn't for everyone, but do they watch Christmas movies if it's something they don't enjoy? Because this appeared to be festive fare for grumps who hate the whole affair, adding to the bafflement. Comedian Sanjeev Kohli showed up as the hotelier, singer Clare Grogan (in unflattering glasses) had a face like thunder for the duration as the most anti-Christmas character, and our two leads might have made for a nice little middle-aged romance but carry so much baggage the impression is they will never be happy and content. Maybe if they'd regenerated or thrown in a Dalek it might have livened up the endless cutaways to drone footage and Rob's self-lacerating droning. Otherwise, a very odd set of decisions. Music by Stephen Wright.

[Lost At Christmas will be in UK Cinemas from 4th December and on Digital Download from 7th December. Pre order at this link.]
Reviewer: Graeme Clark


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