Boxing Day review – likable romcom with a cheeky nod to Love Actually

Aml Ameen directs and stars in a transatlantic love story with glam-tourist London locations and a great supporting cast

Aml Ameen is the actor and director who made his name in Kidulthood in 2006. Now he has made this likable Black British aspirational romcom in the transatlantic style, brashly giving his audience plenty of glam-tourist London locations with a cheeky nod to Richard Curtis’s Love Actually.

Ameen plays Melvin, a British writer whose smash-hit bestselling book has taken him to LA, where he has fallen in love with casting director Lisa (Aja Naomi King) and wants to take her for a Christmas holiday to London to meet his extended family; his formidable mother Shirley (Marianne Jean-Baptiste) will be hosting her traditional Boxing Day party.

But it’s tricky. His sister is personal assistant to the now internationally famous singing star Georgia (Leigh-Anne Pinnock from Little Mix), who used to go out with Melvin and whose heart he broke when he dumped her. Meanwhile, Lisa can’t bring herself to tell Melvin that she has been offered a prestigious job to work with Peter Jackson in New Zealand – and that she’s pregnant. Come to think of it, she may not have shared that info with Peter Jackson, either.

Boxing Day has its flaws: I’m not sure that the world really needed another spoof of the Andrew Lincoln/Keira Knightley placard scene from Love Actually. But Ameen has perfectly plausibly brought off a high-gloss mainstream picture with a big heart and a very nice supporting cast, including Stephen Dillane as Shirley’s new boyfriend. For Ameen, it’s another step on the way to Hollywood stardom.

• Boxing Day is in cinemas from 3 December.