›› The Christmas Setup ‹‹

a film by Pat Mills.

2020 | 85 mins | US.

a joyous festive take on the boy-meets-boy scenario.

Dave says:

From writer Michael J. Murray and director Pat Mills comes this joyous festive take on the boy-meets-boy scenario.

Given this is the story of Hugo (Ben Lewis); a New York based lawyer repeatedly passed over for the top job, in spite of having sacrificed his joie de vivre for a career that's all but left him a shadow of his former fun-loving self; seemingly ever single, bored and lonely. That is, apart from when he's in the company of his one true friend Madelyn (Ellen Wong); namely an outgoing girl who's the total opposite of him, forever relishing the joy that each day can bring. And when the opportunity presents itself for her to join Hugo on his return home to Milwaukee for the traditional Spencer family Christmas, she cannot wait to meet Hugo's much talked about mother. Only is she in for a surprise or what, when Hugo's mother Kate (Fran Drescher) turns out to be one of Santa's elves, rejoicing in going OTT for the Yuletide, that is when she's not trying to pair her son off with his high school crush Patrick (Blake Lee). Only come close-of-play, just who will be seen kissing under the mistletoe?

Filled with more Christmas trees, baubles and lights than to be seen at Santa's Grotto, this seasonal delight is guaranteed to bring a big smile to your face, thanks largely to a cast who embrace the festive spirit of the show, and then some. And no more so than Drescher who excels as the merry matchmaker of the piece, pairing off her gay son with his Mr Right, whilst equally hard at work to ensure that her straight son Aiden (Chad Connell of Steel fame) is always, accidentally on purpose style, in the company of Madelyn, with Wong here on sparkling form as Hugo's close friend and confidant.

Yet it's the burgeoning friendship between the two young men that captivates and whilst played distinctly US telemovie chaste fashion, it's nonetheless heartfelt and sincere, even if the outcome of their on / off relationship was never in doubt. To that end, the Lewis / Lee pairing shine in their love smitten roles, no surprise really given they're an out 'n' proud married couple in real life, with the whole town, if not the feature itself, as gay friendly as your annual Pride celebration!

Sure, the narrative is saccharine coated and yes, Drescher's character is all but Santa Claus in disguise; yet you cannot beat the feel-good atmosphere of this Yuletide treat. For in a world filled with so much hate and conflict, this is akin to pure gay romantic escapism and frankly, there's nothing wrong with that. And yes, you can debate the rating if you want, but hey, it's Christmas and I liked it!

›› posted: Wednesday, 28th December, 2022.

Gay Visibility - overt | Nudity - none | Overall - file under ... 4 stars

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