27 May 2015 | ginocox-206-336968
Flaccid and disappointing
"A Merry Friggin' Christmas" is a bittersweet experience, as it is one of Robin Williams's last films. Williams was a talented comedian and thespian, but tended toward unsympathetic roles late in his career, such as "The Angriest Man in Brooklyn," "World's Greatest Dad" and AMFC. Instead of employing his natural charisma to engage the audience, Williams manages to quickly alienate the viewers.
Unfortunately, while Williams eventually becomes slightly more sympathetic, none of the other performers seems particularly sympathetic either. Rather than assembling a cast of quirky but likably eccentric individuals, the filmmakers present a group of weirdos and misfits whose unique personality traits are more offsetting than endearing. Their goals are ill-defined, modest to the point of irrelevance and largely unsympathetic and irrelevant. It is difficult to care about any of the characters or to sympathize with their objectives, with the exception of a couple of minor characters like the wino Santa and the service station owner.
Production values are adequate. Performances are okay, but limited by poorly conceived, shallow, one-dimensional, unsympathetic characters. The moral seems lost in the confusion. It seems to have something to do with balancing childhood fantasies with the reality of growing up. In the end, the protagonist either achieves or fails to achieve his objective and the filmmakers seem to approve of the outcome, but the moral comes across as flaccid.
There is one character who functions as a sort of mystical agent of change, but his impact is limited by the somewhat feeble ending.
The biggest flaw concerns a gift that the protagonist claims he made himself, but his claim seems less than credible. He hasn't demonstrated or displayed any of the skills that would be required, so his claim seems a convenient artifice by the screenwriter.