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Sweet nothings: 'Last Christmas' is a pleasant mid-winter romance

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(from left) Tom (Henry Golding) and Kate (Emilia Clarke) in "Last Christmas," directed by Paul Feig.{ }(Photo: Universal Pictures)

Last Christmas
3 out of 5 Stars
Director:
Paul Feig
Writers: Emma Thompson, Greg Wise, Bryony Kimmings
Starring: Emilia Clarke, Michelle Yeoh, Henry Golding
Genre: Romance, Drama
Rated: PG-13 for language and sexual content

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SALT LAKE CITY (KUTV) – Synopsis: Kate, a young woman prone to making bad decisions, works at a Christmas shop in Covent Garden where she meets Tom, an enigmatic stranger.

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Review: Twelve hours after watching “Last Christmas,” I found myself sitting in a restaurant ruminating over a veggie sandwich when Wham!’s “Wake Me Up Before You Go Go” came on. I looked for Emilia Clarke to make an entrance in an elf outfit. She never arrived. The world of romantic comedies is far removed from reality.

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“Last Christmas” is populated with a fantastic cast who give the otherwise cliched script a bit of polish that helps to elevate the film above the Hallmark Channel standard. It is as beautifully shot as it is contrived. It’s not “Love Actually.” It’s also not “Christmas with the Kranks.” Be thankful for small blessings.

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If you’ve watched the trailer, I hadn’t, the film’s storyline has probably already been telegraphed to you. The script, co-written by actress Emma Thompson, avoids a few tropes, but largely offers the sort of emotional fluff that is never quite as profound as it is good intentioned.

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Clarke is a lovely elf, Henry Golding is a perfect gentleman, Michelle Yeoh is as sublime as the material allows and Thompson shows a remarkable amount of restraint as Clarke’s Ukrainian immigrant mother. It just doesn’t add up to much more than a passing crush.

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Did I happen to mention that it is all set to the songs of George Michael? Why? Well, that will eventually become painfully obvious.

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If you’re looking for a feel-good romantic drama with an obvious twist, “Last Christmas” is an enjoyable diversion. It’s just not remotely good enough for the talent involved.

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