CINEMA REVIEW: Ufuoma McDermott’s “Christmas Is Coming” – A Poor, Ill-Fitting Snoozefest We Aren’t Grateful For

I began to pay attention to Ufuoma McDermott after her outstanding role in 2016 Omoni Oboli film, Wives On Strike. In 2017 the actor took on more lead roles and had a good run in films from Okafor’s Law to The Women. In November 2017, her debut film, Christmas is Coming was released in cinemas, portraying the actor in a different light than we have known her, not just because of her role in the film as lead, but because she wore many hats as writer, producer and director, hats that were new and shiny, and probably not so comfortable.

Christmas Is Coming is a romantic comedy about a tomboy career lady called Henri. Her company prepares to go on a Christmas break, but not without giving her a promotion first. But promotions and responsibilities go hand in hand, so her boss announces that she’d be making a big pitch to potential clients the following day. Because Henri is such a lover of Christmas, she parties hard with her flat mates and wakes up to a transformed look in a dress and makeup that makes her look like a model on the runway, with all her clothes gone. It is supposed to be a fun prank, but Henri has to do her presentation and shows up a different person at work, leading to a chain of bad occurrences that nearly ruin her job and the entire festive season.

This would have been a fine story if the writer had just seen it through. But, no. The writer suddenly delves into an asthmatic billionaire’s son’s story, a story about an ex we know nothing of, a story of armed robbers and bouncers and hospitals that look like hotels and an eavesdropping pair of parents. The story is just as confused as we are, and tends to tilt wherever the tide goes, leaving us tired and needing water. It makes an attempt at humor that hits the roof and falls right back, and Sola Sobowole and Zach Orji playing Henri’s parents bring in more confusion by being in the film.

The romantic part of the genre sees Deyemi Okanlawon as Koko Williams, the man who is mesmerized by Henri’s transformed image and falls for her, and while their encounter is interesting, it is hard to believe and devoid of chemistry. Or should I say loaded with too quick emotion, the chemistry collapses like an impatient stack of tumblers.

Christmas Is Coming forces Christmas into its story in a way that makes Christmas uncomfortable. The hymns and decorations and soundtracks full entirely of Christmas songs are overkill, especially for a story that really has nothing to do with Christmas. Chioma Akpotha, who plays Henri’s work rival, Lola Makinde, is surprisingly mediocre in her interpretation of her role. She seems out of tune with it and doesn’t seem like a suitable fit. Greg Ojefua who makes a cameo is completely irrelevant to the plot, and isn’t exactly comical either. Mary Lazarus and Izzie Otaigbe are satisfactory until they aren’t. Michael Okon who plays Henri’s brother is really not a good actor, at least not in this film. The professional board is anything but professional, and Henri’s boss looks in over his head all of the time. The movie seems to beg for a complete overhaul, story wise, character wise, cast wise. Perhaps, every wise, which is why I am doubtful Ufuoma’s many hats fit her lovely head just yet.

Christmas Is Coming is a poor film. It tries not to be, but it fails and offers us an ill-fitting snooze-fest. And for this gift, we aren’t very grateful.


Credit: TNS News

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