“Brutally unfunny”, “forced” and “a beautifully wrapped Christmas gift that’s filled with rotten turkey leftovers” – these are just some of the ways critics have described the new festive film Last Christmas.
The project had some big names involved, as not only does it star Game Of Thrones favourite Emilia Clarke and Crazy Rich Asians star Henry Golding, it was written by Bryony Kimmings and Emma Thompson, and directed by Bridesmaids’ Paul Feig.
What’s more, it’s also soundtracked by George Michael, featuring many of his hits with Wham! and as a solo artist.
However, none of these ingredients seem to have been enough to impress the critics, who’ve had a lukewarm-at-best – and completely-savage-at-worst – response to the film...
“What did George Michael do to deserve this? Why should the singer-songwriter and former Wham! frontman be associated with a brutally unfunny and contrived romantic comedy when he’s no longer around to object?”
The Guardian (2/5)
“It might look the part, with the director Paul Feig successfully capturing the glossy, tourist-friendly London one would crave from such a film, but the script feels like a rejected first draft with unfunny filler one-liners and a scrappy, ill-thought through narrative. It’s a beautifully wrapped Christmas gift that’s filled with rotten turkey leftovers.”
“As much as we go into Last Christmas eager to see a nicely wrapped package of acerbic fun, the film falls short of that. It’s not so much clever, toasty, and affectionate as it is the faux version of those things. It’s twee, it’s precious, it’s forced. And it’s light on true romance, maybe because the movie itself is a little too in love with itself.”
“It’s a misfire by just about any measure, but it earns some warm feelings for its determination not to be like anything else currently in circulation.
“Little can be said about the final act without stealing the film’s thunder. But a viewer who hasn’t been put off by one thing or another in the film’s first hour may well go along with its last left turn.”
“The damp chemistry between Golding and Clarke takes some time to light, but eventually does so in the hands of a sweet, smart, funny script by Emma Thompson (who also plays Kate’s difficult mother), Greg Wise and Bryony Kimmings...
“While it won’t be remembered as one of the great Christmas films, Last Christmas delivers enough moments of heart and humour to keep the festive spirit alive.”
Digital Spy (3/5)
“It doesn’t all quite come together for a true Christmas classic, even if it wears its tinsel firmly on its sleeve. There’s plenty of festive feels in Last Christmas, but it’s hard to imagine you returning to it year after year.”
Emma Thompson previously revealed she’d had George Michael’s blessing to write the screenplay to the film prior to his death on Christmas Day in 2016.
Speaking on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon back in October, Emma said she had met with George to discuss getting the project off the ground.
“He was just the loveliest guy you could imagine,” she said. ”[He loved] all of these themes in the movie; he was passionate about homelessness, and he had this great social conscience.
“I wish he was here because I know he’d love it, because the film’s like being hugged.”
She added of his music in the film: “Heal The Pain, which is my favourite of his songs, it’s like it was written for the movie. He said that.”
Last Christmas is also set to feature a new posthumous track from George Michael, This Is How, after his estate gave permission for it to be used.
The song received its first play on Zoe Ball’s Radio 2 Breakfast Show on Wednesday morning.
Last Christmas is released in UK cinemas on 15 November.
This article originally appeared on HuffPost.