'Last Christmas' director Paul Feig: People are 'predisposed' to be sniffy about festive films

Paul Feig’s latest film Last Christmas arrives in cinemas this Friday and it’s not been given an easy ride by critics. He doesn’t take it personally though, saying film critics are usually “very kind” to him.

Responding to a one-star review from Rolling Stone on Twitter, the director wrote: “I sincerely thank you for your opinion. We can’t win everybody over but we will continue to try! I swear all of our hearts were in the right place.”

His festive film, starring Emilia Clarke, Henry Golding, Michelle Yeoh and Emma Thompson, is in good company though as many other films we now consider to be Christmas classics – including Love Actually and The Holiday – also fell flat with critics upon release.

The Bridesmaids director thinks critics might dismiss Christmas films as frothy because they’re released in the same time period as serious Oscar contenders.

Read more: Henry Golding responds to Bond rumours

“Sometimes you just hit people in the wrong mood,” Feig tells Yahoo Movies UK in our interview above.

“Also, when you get to this time of year – Christmas time – all the prestige movies are coming out, the Oscar films which tend to be a little bit more darker, or not aggressively upbeat like [Last Christmas], and I think [Christmas films are] looked upon like being frivolous until time sorts them out.”

“People are predisposed to look at a Christmas film and go ‘meh, ok’”

Director Paul Feig on the set of <i>Last Christmas</i>. (Jonathan Prime/Universal Pictures)
Director Paul Feig on the set of Last Christmas. (Jonathan Prime/Universal Pictures)

Inspired by the music of George Michael and Wham, Last Christmas sees Emilia Clarke’s Kate in a state of crisis, as she grapples with the fallout of a life-threatening illness. Along the way she forms a bond with Henry Golding’s Tom, who opens her eyes to the joys of the season.

It is on the frothy side, but where’s the harm in that, argues Feig.

“I think we’ve become very cynical these days,” adds the director.

“There’s something about when a movie comes along that is aggressively positive, it just throws critics off. I have no problem with critics, they’ve been very kind to me during my career and very supportive.”

Emilia Clarke as Kate in <i>Last Christmas</i>. (Universal Pictures)
Emilia Clarke as Kate in Last Christmas. (Universal Pictures)

Feig’s last four films – Bridesmaids (2011), The Heat (2013), Spy (2015), Ghostbusters (2016), and A Simple Favour (2018) – all received Fresh Ratings on Rotten Tomatoes (60% positive reviews and above).

Last Christmas has a more middling rating at 49%, putting it on par with Cameron Diaz-Jude Law pic The Holiday which also has a 49% rating.

Last Christmas is in cinemas from 15 December. Watch a trailer below.