Rating (1 out of 5)
Had seen this movie on Netflix many moons ago. I had some free time on my hands so what the heck, how bad can it be? Again, my optimism overpowered logic and the history of Netflix, and I watched this. Why……who……. come on, this sucked.
It is listed on IMDB as comedy, crime film. Well the crime is it was made, and the comedy is I watched it. Seriously, this is a drama about some very sad people. My rating may reflect a difference in expectations, I was expecting a comedy (even a dark comedy should make you smile) and I watched a drama.
Plot: Eric Roth (Luke Grimes) comes to El Camino, NV to search for his father. He mets his father, Larry Roth (Tim Allen) who pretends to be someone else. Larry is an alcoholic. That same night, Eric is arrested by Carl Hooker (Vincent D’Onoforio) who is a tired drunk deputy and his partner Billy Calhoun (Dax Shepherd). Through a series events the next day, Eric finds himself in a liquor store in a hold off with the police on Christmas Eve, with his father, Carl, and 3 other people.
What I Liked: When the movie finally ended!!!
There was at one point where both Eric and Larry are in rough spots the night before the liquor store, before they know they are father and son (well except everyone watching this movie). The similarities of their problems was a nice touch.
What I Didn’t Like: There was no comedy here. I don’t even think there was a smile.
So they never really marked the year of this film, so when they do this I assume, current year. So was Tim Allen 12 when he went to Vietnam. Seriously, we are going back to a man drinking and leaving his kids because of Nam. This isn’t the 1990’s right something current would be nice, and an actor who matches the timeframe. By the way, it had to be current, since they were drinking Bud Light Lime (it first came out in 2008).
They forced the situation to get them to the liquor store. It wasn’t subtle or elegant. For example, Carl hunts down Eric down the roads in a high speed chase (while he is drunk). He shots Eric’s car and then flies of the road, into farm area. They had the air bag do a delay explosion, which again was their attempt at humor.
There was a scene where the police men were shooting from the front and back of the store. Each policeman thought the shots were from the criminal inside. I believe this was supposed to be the humor in the movie and it would have been if the rest of the movie was not as serious. In the end, this made the deputies look stupid. They established that these police men were not idiots earlier in the movie so why the portrayed them way was puzzling.
The reason for them to stay in the liquor store was also a contrived. If Eric had just given himself up to the police, everything would have been just fine. There were a number of times he could have surrendered, and there would have been no repercussions. They had enough witnesses that everything would have been just fine. This was bad script writing.
There was a scene in the liquor store where Carl explains how he has helped all the people in the room, and they should thank him. He also reveals why he is now an alcoholic. Carl’s character was just sad and pathetic. Then Larry gives his confession about Vietnam, and that just adds to the sadness. This was a big part of my problem with the film. If they had made it a drama about living in a small town, and how people have these sad lives, then it might have reasonated with me.
Who cares about Jessica Alba’s character. It was just one more character to watch. Too much.
Conclusion: El Camino Christmas never decided what it wanted to be and the confusion leads to a listless movie.