As weighty as a snowflake, and just as prone to turn to mush at room temperature, “Let It Snow” is a holiday comedy that sits right in Netflix’s wheelhouse.
It’s a teen-rom comedy, cast with winning smiles like Odeya Rush, Isabela Merced and Shameik Moore, who was the voice of young Spidey in “Into the Spider-Verse.”
It’s centered around a blizzard, and an off-the-hook party, which must be supplied with beer, no matter which bullies you have to steal it from.
There’s plenty of “What the kids are listening to these days” pop in the soundtrack, tunes by Black Caviar, Illuminati Hotties, a cover of The Waterboys, as well as a heaping helping of those teen titans, The Rolling Stones.
But all it does is demonstrate how much the acquisitions folks at Netflix have raised the floor in this genre. They throw that cast and those elements at the screen, screenwriters who had a hand in “Office Christmas Party,” “Pitch Perfect 3” and “Finding Dory,” and if they can’t transcend the trite and the treacly, at least they spend enough to avoid the label “unwatchable.”
I was reading a rare disappointed comment about the film on IMDb. “It’s not as good as the book,” “A Cheertastic Christmas Miracle,” she fumed.
SHE’s disappointed? What about the REST of us? I mean, this cut-and-paste job was based on a BOOK?
The screenplay the writers’ pieced together follows three main threads converging on the teen hangout in Laurel, Illinois (actually Brantford, Ontario).
There’s Julie, played by Isabel Merced, the big screen “Dora the Explorer,” off to the big city to find that one missing figurine that will make her Mom’s elf village complete. On the commuter train home, she runs into an R & B star (Moore) who dodged the tour bus after a Chicago radio appearance.
“Oh my GOD, was that STUART BALE?”
“I really don’t care.”
That’s the nub of their “meet cute,” he’s a shy, lighting charming “pretty important person” (he jokes). She is…underwhelmed.
They’ll get off together at her home town, and duck into Waffle Town, which has aptly lost the “W”” from its sign.
“Say it aloud. AWFUL Town!”
That’s where short order cook Keon, aka DJ K*Pow$ (Jacob Batalon) hopes to host a party that launches his DJing career.
Waitress Dorrie (Liv Hewson of “Santa Clarita Diet” and “Before I Fall”) is all agog — not because the singer’s shown up, but because this dance team member (Anna Akana) she TOTALLY had a fling with has shown up. For waffles.
It’s also where Jeb (Mason Gooding) is hanging out with…oh my GOD — Madison (Hallea Jones). That drives Jeb’s alleged girlfriend Addie (Rush, of “Goosebumps”) batty.
She’s desperate enough to hitch a ride with the loon in the tinfoil suit (Joan Cusack) who drives the town tow truck through the snow to get her there.
Meanwhile, Keon’s pal Tobin (Mitchell Hope) has been assigned the beer run. He’s distracted by his futile efforts to move out of “the friend zone” with Angie (Kiernan Shipka, of “Mad Men”). But she’s distracted by the tall, cute and totally “woke” JP — home on break. No, Tobin is “not at ALL jealous of the enlightened, broomball meditating college boy.”
“Let it Snow” is a picture where little bits here and there, land — gags, one-liners.
The only relationship with any snap to it is the Julie/Soul Singer Stuart one. It starts out aloof and only turns awkward when she introduces him to her mom (Andrea de Oliveira) — “You look like that singer. He smiles like he’s holding in a fart!” — and grandpa (Victor Rivers).
“I Googled you. You grab your crotch a lot!”
As a general rule, the performers are chipper, cute and bland.
The funniest moment is a multi-denominational, SUPER politically correct holiday pageant at the church, and the most cringe-worthy is an organ duet by two of the principals of The Waterboys’ “Whole of the Moon.”
A car chase on snow that kills a beloved ancient station wagon — “She died doing what she loved. Getting really bad gas mileage!” A little lecture from the tinfoil lady about being obsessed with your social media life, via cellphone.
“It’s like standing on a whale, fishing for minnows!”
“Snow hides a lot. It’s like the Spanx of weather!”
None of it adds up to much, but throwing a lot of cute actors and funny lines at the wall means “Let It Snow” isn’t a complete bust.
MPAA Rating:PG-13 for crude sexual material, strong language, and teen partying
Credits: Directed by Luke Snellin, script by Kay Cannon, Laura Solon and Victoria Strouse, based on the novel “A Cheertastic Christmas Miracle” by John Green, Lauren Myracle and Maureen Johnson. A Netflix release.
Running time: 1:33