Let me preface this by saying that satires aren’t really my thing, I enjoy them at times but more often than not, they just don’t do it for me. The thing about making a good satire is that it’s hard because you have to walk that fine line of being funny without being too mean but also keeping the tropes and norm of what you are making fun of. It’s a complicated process that doesn’t work more often than not. That is what Jake Horowitz (All About Who You Know) tries to do with his latest feature Cup of Cheer, a Canadian satire that might stumble at times but in the end, has so much heart that you can forgive its faults. Does it work? Not all the time but it’s so earnest and such a fun time that the end product is a little Canadian film that is worth watching.
Cup of Cheer combines two things that I am usually not really a fan of satire and Christmas movie. Not that I can’t enjoy Christmas movies but I can’t stand these MOW Hallmark type films that follow such a formula that it is impossible to be surprised. But I get why they still are made, there’s a crowd for it. Cup of Cheer plays on that idea, on those films that are so easy to make fun of. From the very first second, the film takes no prisoners and for the entire length time never takes its foot off the pedal. The jokes don’t always land and sometimes they go on for a little bit too long but when they work, boy do they work. And that’s the thing about this film, is that it knows how to have fun, it knows how to make you laugh. But it never is mean to what it is trying to make fun of, instead just pointing out the obvious tropes and elevating them by making fun of it. It’s clever and paired with great acting elevate the film.
Cup of Cheer doesn’t take itself seriously and it helps. It knows what it is and never tries to be anything else but that. Sometimes, it takes it too far but that doesn’t always matter. The film doesn’t always make sense and sometimes it loses itself in trying to do too much. But no film is perfect and it’s easy to forgive the flaws of this film. Because what it is trying to do is not easy and it does it remarkably well. It never feels like it’s being mean to what it is trying to make fun of and instead pays in its weird way homage to it. Jake Horowitz creates a style that copies the films that it’s making fun of but does it by not only re-creating it but also by emphasizing it. It’s a tricky road to be on but Cup of Cheer does it remarkably.
It’s hard to speak about the characters because all of them are pretty much stereotypes and tropes that we all know. And yes, it feels at times like they are just tropes but at the same time, it’s making fun of those films where the characters never feel real. My personal favourite was Jacob Hogan as Authuh because he was so random in the film and yet so funny, I needed more and more of him. The characters might feel random but the names, oh the names of the characters were so good. I won’t give them again but every single one of them had me laughing because it felt so stupid but also so intelligent. And that is the main thing about Cup of Cheer is that it’s so stupid at times that it works perfectly and you can’t help but love it.
Cup of Cheer feels long at times and not everything lands well but making off of something we all know too well has a lot of advantages. We know the tropes, we know what they are making fun of but it also has a few surprises along the way. It’s silly, over the top and maybe at times too much but when it works, it works really well. Forgiving its clumsiness is easy because you can’t help to root for this little film that could.
You can watch the film November 6th on Tubi in Canada or USA. And if you are interested to see the film in at any of these locations Drive-In Oakville, Sunset Barrie Drive-In, Stardust Newmarket Drive-In, and Starlite Hamilton Drive-In. Tickets for all are on sale at premiertheatres.ca.