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CUP OF CHEER: 3 STARS. “bad puns strung together with tinsel.”

“Cup of Cheer,” a new Christmas film available for free on Tubi for the next two weeks and playing now at drive-in theatres, is an extremely silly comedy that places Hallmark movie conventions—the meet cute, a random royal, time travel, the small-town holiday setting and more—under Santa’s magnifying glass, blowing them up large .

“I guess I should start at the beginning,” says Mary (Storm Steenson), a writer living in the big city (a mix of NYC stock shots and live action Toronto street scenes). “That’s when it all started. Funny how these things always start at the beginning.”

She’s about to be let go unless she can come up with a grabby idea for the magazine’s upcoming cover story. When she pitches a story about Christmas cheer and is randomly sent to Snowy Heights, a small town legendary for it’s cool yule. “Whatever you do don’t fall in love with some small town 8 out of 10 stranger and find the true meaning of Christmas,” says Mary’s editor. “I’ve lost too many reporters that way.”

Of course, that is exactly what happens as she begins a journey that involves Chris Smith (say it fast), the owner of Cup of Cheer, a main street hot cocoa shop that may be forced to close by Christmas if Mary’s rich ex-boyfriend goes through with his plan to open a rival café next door.

There’s more. Lot’s more, as Mary tries to save Cup of Cheer and Christmas.

Essentially “Cup of Cheer” is a series of bad puns strung together with tinsel. Its commitment to Christmas clichés, wordplay and double entendre gags is truly remarkable but Jake Horowitz, director and co-writer (with Andy Lewis), keeps things lively with quick pacing. If you care for a joke, don’t worry, there will be another one in ten seconds. Don’t be a Grinch. It’s a dizzying onslaught well delivered by a game cast.

“Cup of Cheer” feels like a sketch blown up to feature length and may be best enjoyed after a glass or two of your own cup of cheer of choice (unless you’re going to the drive in!).


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