Last Christmas - C+
Rated PG-13, 103 minutes
If the charming new rom com "Last Christmas" were a Christmas card, it'd be sweet, familiar and predictable. The film, featuring some music from late pop legend George Michael, works well up until its Nicolas Sparks-esque ending that'll make you feel slightly cheated.
A young woman named Kate ("Game of Thrones' Emilia Clarke), who has been continuously unlucky, accepts a job as a department store elf during the holidays. When Kate meets Tom ("One Simple Favor's" Henry Golding) on the job, her life takes a turn.
The likable "Last Christmas" is not really a romantic Christmas film per se, in the vein of say, "Love Actually" (a vastly overrated romantic comedy if there ever was one), but it still wears its holiday themes proudly. Directed by Paul Feig of Melissa McCarthy hits "Bridesmaids" and "Ghostbusters," it's co-written by British artist Bryony Kimmings and Oscar-winner Emma Thompson, who also co-produces and co-stars as Kate's domineering Yugolsavian mother. It goes without saying that Thompson writes herself the hammiest part with some of the best lines, and she ends up stealing much of the film.
Speaking of which, the entire talented cast, with the appealing leads Clarke and Gooding, along with a solid supporting cast that includes Thompson, Michelle Yeoh, and Rob Delaney, make it worth watching, and "Last Christmas" is remarkably serviceable, funny and even cheerful until that disappointing, downer of an ending in which you'll feel the strains of Nicolas Sparks. It also threatens to ruin its happy ending, and without giving too much away, you'll realize that the central character, in spite of trying to change, remains as unlucky as she was in the beginning.
Feig peppers the film with George Michael's music as well, just enough so that you don't grow tiresome of it by the end. "Last Christmas" uses Michael's song of the same name as a general backdrop, but Feig should give the real nods to that romantic cheesehead Sparks, whose presence is felt here more than you think. Enjoyable and sweetly forgettable, "Last Christmas" fills the rom com void, if you're need one.