Friendsgiving – Film Review

Molly (Malin Åkerman) and Abby (Kat Dennings) along with their crew of their closest friends, host a dysfunctional Thanksgiving dinner.

Although the Canadians have already gotten their Thanksgiving this year just a couple of weeks ago, the Americans are yet to have their day of gratitude, family, friends, and turkey. Much like any other holiday, it just doesn’t feel the same if you don’t watch an excellent and hilarious festive film. For Thanksgiving, Planes, Trains and Automobiles is my personal favorite thanks to its delightfully cheery but outstandingly hilarious script and its two lead performances from Steve Martin and the late great John Candy.

Usually, there are plenty of movies to watch for every holiday. For Halloween, there is, well, HalloweenFriday the 13th, and A Nightmare on Elm Street. For Christmas, there is Christmas VacationA Christmas Story, and It’s A Wonderful Life. But Thanksgiving has always been that one holiday that doesn’t really have a ton of great movies centered around it. That and Easter.

So, I was really hoping that Nicol Paone’s Friendsgiving would be a new addition to the yearly Thanksgiving movie tradition, but it is the furthest thing from that. It’s a ninety-minute disaster filled with tons of scenes that go on way too long, bland and one-note characters, and a script that goes for shocking raunchy comedy rather than clever humor.

Courtesy of Saban Films

Unfortunately, I can’t even say that the film starts off promising because it really doesn’t. Even the first scene in the movie feels extremely embarrassing to have to watch, which was definitely not its intended purpose. This is one of those movies where you can tell the filmmakers thought that every scene was hilarious, but none of them were. Instead of laughing at how funny the script is, you’re going to be laughing at how bad the script is.

What’s especially surprising about Friendsgiving is how many big-name celebrities agreed to star in it. Kat Dennings, Chelsea Peretti, Wanda Sykes, and Malin Åkerman are just a few of the names lining this star-studded cast, and while their performances here do feel fun and energetic, they still feel saddled in a movie that is undeserving of their talents.

Åkerman shines as our lead protagonist Molly thanks to her clear-and-present wit that she carries throughout the film, and Dennings is obviously having a blast in the role of Abby, but as energetic and fun as this cast is, they deserved a lot better. It would have been something if we could at least understand these characters but we never do.

The script barely takes any time to actually pause and flesh out its characters. They are all just quirks. They have one thing that defines them and we don’t really learn anything else about them. Even the scenes where the group of friends get into some friendly banter with one another doesn’t feel as it should. There are some moments where you may be able to crack a smile, but that’s about it. Make no mistake about it – Friendsgiving is not something to be thankful for, even if it had good intentions and a cast that gave their all.

Overall Grade: D

MPAA Rating: R for crude sexual content and language throughout, and for drug use

Cast: Malin Åkerman, Kat Dennings, Aisha Tyler, Chelsea Peretti, Christine Taylor, Jane Seymour, Deon Cole, Wanda Sykes, Margaret Cho, Fortune Feimster, Jack Donnelly, Ryan Hansen

Directed by: Nicol Paone

Distributed by: Saban Films

Release Date: October 23, 2020

Running Time: 95 minutes

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