Dec 16, 2018
Welcome back to another week of movies. This week will be a combination of Netflix Original films, and some great films from last year and earlier this year currently streaming on HBO. It’ll be the format for the rest of year, with one or two movies currently in theaters. We put out the call for contributors to join the team for next season, and the response has been exciting. If you want to get involved as a regular contributor on the podcast, let me know at onemoviepunch.com or reach out over social media. Exciting times are ahead!
Today’s movie is “5 Star Christmas” (2018), the Netflix Original Italian holiday film directed by Marco Risi, and written for the screen by Enrico Vanzina, based on the short story “Out of Order” by Ray Cooney. The film follows Prime Minister Franco Rispoli (Massimo Ghini), as he attempts to turn a political trip to Budapest into a secret tryst with his political rival Senator Giulia Rossi (Martina Stella). However, after finding a dead body in the Prime Minister’s hotel room, the two must act quickly to avoid scandal.
Everyone reacts differently when the holidays come around. Some folks dress themselves up in their favorite sweaters, turn on the classic holiday movies and songs, and get everything just right. It’s a magical time of year, when hope and happiness return. For most of us. The rest, well, we can’t help but rebel against things when they go from sweet to saccharine, seeking out the non-traditional, everything from “Christmas in Hollis” on the radio to “Die Hard” on the screen. The very irreverence speaks to some of us, which is why I absolutely adore “Love, Actually” no matter how many haters there are, and why I loved today’s film: an irreverent Italian political sex comedy and holiday film.
If you are looking a strong Christmas message, give up right now. “5 Star Christmas” is a situational comedy of errors, from start to finish, that complicates itself with every step. Rispoli and Rossi are a fun couple, but they are just the tip of the iceberg, especially when Rispoli’s assistant Walter Bianchini (Ricky Memphis) is dragged into things, and the sudden appearance both Rispoli’s wife Marisa (Paola Minaccioni) and Rossi’s husband Roberto (Massimo Ciavarro) . Everyone tries to hide their sins from each other, culminating in an explosive confrontation that is as scandalous as your average foray into Italian politics. A great cast with a funny story.
But it’s a story I’ve also seen pretty recently, or at least a form of it. “5 Star Christmas” feels an awful lot like an Italian episode of “Veep”, with all characters a mixture of naked ambition, petty concerns, and a lack of dignity for the office. The dialogue between characters and the pacing of the story feels similar as well. However, the film is a lot less mean than “Veep”. It has nothing to do with Christmas as a holiday in the slightest, but it does deliver a morality tale about fidelity above everything else, and sometimes, above everyone else as well. Fun, irreverent, and engaging.
“5 Star Christmas” (2018) is the Italian sex comedy and holiday film we deserve, a fun look into the misguided ambitions of politicians caught in a number of compromising situations. It is not a film that celebrates the holiday spirit, but it does provide a hilarious counterpoint to a generally heartwarming season. Fans of situational comedies, who don’t mind an extra dose of irreverence, should definitely check out this film.
Rotten Tomatoes: NR
One Movie Punch: 6.8/10
“5 Star Christmas” (2018) is rated TV-14 and is currently streaming on Netflix.