Let It Snow (2019)

“You have terrible instincts.”

The odd thing about Let It Snow is that the film wants to be both a romantic fantasy for young adults and a straight comedic farce, trying to make us swoon over young love while relying on – and building towards – the worst tendencies of teen party movies. The two elements never mesh, nor do the multiple subplots ever dare to develop characters worth knowing, and everything snowballs into one big, plain, icy wrecking ball. I’m a sucker for cheesy holiday films, and yet Let It Snow is still one of the very worst movies I’ve seen this year. What a lump of coal.

Like a wannabe Love Actually for confused high schoolers, Let It Snow has multiple storylines that ultimately meet in the same place come closing time. Tobin (Mitchell Hope) tags along with Duke (Kiernan Shipka), his close friend and his crush, afraid to express his feelings. The waitress Dorrie (Liv Hewson), proudly out, can’t rekindle the flame she briefly sparked with Kerry (Anna Akana). Keon (Jacob Batalon) is obsessed with throwing a party for popularity, and after his parents bizarrely don’t leave him alone for the holidays (only the second most confounding part of a story that makes little to no sense), decides to change the address from his home to the “Waffle Town,” where he works alongside Dorrie. There’s also Addie (Odeya Rush), an obsessive girl who’s newly single, and who somehow ends up in the snow plow truck driven by – and I swear this is her name in the credits – the Tin Foil Woman (Joan Cusack, serving as the cooky, cursing narrator as well).

There’s a faint glimmer of hope in this storm though. Julie (Isabela Merced), hopeful to leave Laurel, Illinois for Columbia in the Fall, doesn’t know how to break the news to her mother. Then she stumbles upon Stuart (Shameik Moore), a modest and massive pop singer, whose press tour brought him into the area for a radio promotion. Sparks fly, and for a few brief moments the film actually earns its romantic elements. Yet like a snowball fight, they’re balled up and blindly thrown in every which direction, never getting the time to precisely aim for and hit the target. I can picture a decent film about these two being made, how it’d develop the characters and their wish list for qualities in a potential significant other. It’s too bad that Kay Cannon’s script, adapted from John Green’s short story, gets so lost in its own microcosm of a snow globe, shaking itself into oblivion.

Although the many tangents in this story all have at least one bright spot throughout, director Luke Snellin’s Let It Snow nevertheless builds to, and finally ends, in a place beyond reasoning. It wants us to believe in the kind of yuletide, convenient mistletoe romance you’d expect from a holiday Hallmark film, but for some bizarre reason it also presents itself as a more tame version of Project X. That the film ends in the “Waffle Town” – apparently located off the beaten path and managed by an oblivious adult – with teens tapping a keg and partying all Christmas Eve night is really all you need to know about just how stupid, silly, and wintry of a mix this movie is. Let It Snow buries its audience with an unrelenting avalanche of clichés, re-gifted and shallow melodrama, and a frostbitten script.

“It’s a tow truck in a snowstorm.

Rating: 1 out of 5

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