Starring: Paul Giamatti, Paul Rudd, Sally Hawkins, Amy Landecker,
Directed by: Phil Morrison
Synopsis: While out on parole, Dennis reluctantly takes a job selling Christmas trees with his old buddy Rene in order to make enough money to buy his estranged daughter the piano she’s always wanted.
‘Tis the season to be jolly…or not. This is a film that just happens to be set around Christmas time. Don’t expect to find any Christmas cheer here. That’s not to say I didn’t enjoy it though.
Paul’s Giamatti and Rudd play two ex cons who are trying to go straight, by selling Christmas Trees. Dennis (Giamatti) has just come out from a four year stretch in prison to find his partner in crime Rene (Rudd) has shacked up with Dennis’ wife and daughter. He’s not happy. And he’s even more unhappy because his wife has told their daughter he’s dead. But desperation is desperation, so he joins Rene in selling Christmas trees so that he can make some money to get his daughter the present she has always dreamed of.
This is a film about bums, trying to scratch a living together, in freezing cold New York. It’s one of those comedies where there aren’t actually a lot of laughs to be had, but you find it entertaining anyway. Giamatti and Rudd both perform well, and Sally Hawkins does a good turn as a Russian maid that Dennis pals up with.
It’s not a film for everyone, you have to be down with the miserable tone of it, but if you get on board with Dennis and Rene’s skewed friendship then, like me, you will feel fairly content with the (kind of) happy ending.