Almost Christmas (film)
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||David E. Talbert|
|Written by||David E. Talbert|
|Music by||John Paesano|
|Edited by||Troy Takaki|
|Distributed by||Universal Pictures|
|Box office||$42.6 million|
Almost Christmas is a 2016 American Christmas comedy-drama film written and directed by David E. Talbert and starring Kimberly Elise, Mo'Nique, Nicole Ari Parker, Gabrielle Union, Keri Hilson, Jessie Usher, Danny Glover, Omar Epps, John Michael Higgins, D.C. Young Fly, and Romany Malco. The film follows a dysfunctional family that comes together for the holidays for the first time since their mother's death.
Principal photography began on November 2, 2015 in Covington, Georgia. The film premiered in Los Angeles on November 3, 2016 and was theatrically released in the United States on November 11, 2016 by Universal Pictures. It received mixed reviews and grossed $42 million.
Walter Meyers (Danny Glover) is a retired automotive engineer who lost his wife, Grace (Rachel Kylian) one year earlier. Now that the holiday season is here, he invites his four grown children and the rest of the family to his house for a traditional celebration. Walter knows that if his daughters Cheryl (Kimberly Elise) and Rachel (Gabrielle Union) and sons Christian (Romany Malco) and Evan (Jessie Usher) can spend five days together under the same roof, it will truly be a Christmas miracle. As his children arrive, Walter realizes a perfect Christmas without his wife is easier said than done. Cheryl, a doctor and the eldest child, arrives for the holidays with her goofy husband Lonnie (J.B. Smoove), a previously famous basketball player who develops a mutual interest in a young grocery store worker (Keri Hilson) shortly after arriving in town. His eldest son and second born, Christian, struggles with balancing his campaign to become a congressman and his desire to spend time with his family. Christian invites his campaign manager along, so they can get more work done. Meanwhile, Rachel, his youngest daughter and third born, struggles to financially support herself and her daughter due to her recent divorce and studying to become a lawyer. Lastly, Evan (Jessie Usher) is a successful football player recovering from a shoulder injury, but when his coach tells him his arm is completely healed, Evan struggles to give up the pain medication.
- Danny Glover as Walter Meyers
- Keon Rahzeem Mitchell as Young Walter Meyers
- A. Sebrena Farmer as Grace Meyers
- Rachel Kylian as Young Grace Meyers
- Kimberly Elise as Dr. Cheryl Meyers, DDS, the eldest daughter
- Romany Malco as Christian Meyers
- Gabrielle Union as Rachel Meyers
- Jessie Usher as Evan Meyers
- Mo'Nique as Aunt May
- J.B. Smoove as Lonnie Maclay
- Nicole Ari Parker as Sonya Meyers
- Omar Epps as Malachi
- Nadej K. Bailey as Niya
- John Michael Higgins as Andy Brooks
- DC Young Fly as Eric
- Keri Hilson as Jasmine
- Monica Brown as Waitress
- Gregory Alan Williams as Pastor Browning
- Gladys Knight as Dorothy, Shelter Director
- Tara Jones as Lucy
- Jeff Rose as Brian
- Ric Reitz as Coach Packer
- Marley Taylor as Dee Meyers
- David E. Talbert as Malaci's Mom (voice)
- Donnie Simpson as Radio DJ (voice)
- Lyn Talbert as Young Grace Meyers (voice)
On April 27, 2015, it was announced that Universal Pictures had bought the comedy script A Meyers Thanksgiving from David E. Talbert, who directed the film, with Will Packer producing through Will Packer Productions. The film was first retitled A Meyers Christmas, with its setting moved to the Christmas holidays. In April 2016, Universal Pictures announced another title change for the film, now called Almost Christmas.
Almost Christmas was released alongside Arrival and Shut In, and was expected to gross around $15 million from 2,376 theaters in its opening weekend. The film made $507,000 from Thursday night previews at 1,885 theaters and $5.9 million on its first day. It went on to gross $15.6 million for the weekend, finishing fourth at the box office.
On Rotten Tomatoes, the film has an approval rating of 51% based on 59 reviews, with an average rating of 5.3/10. The site's critical consensus reads, "While far from the worst holiday dramedy audiences could hope for, Almost Christmas isn't distinctive enough to prompt a visit to the theater – or annual yuletide viewings." On Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating, the film has a weighted average score of 55 out of 100, based on 27 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews." Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "A–" on an A+ to F scale. The film was criticized heavily for being "too formulaic," with a story that had been told many times before.
For her performance, Mo' Nique was nominated for the Image Award for Best Supporting Actress at the 2017 Image Awards.
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