Netflixable? “The App that Stole Christmas”

Sometimes, you have to wonder if anybody in Netflix acquisitions even bothers to look over a lot of the junk they buy.

Sometimes, you realize that content providers know this and slide quick-and-junky projects in under the door that way. Just slap “Christmas” in the title, and you’re in.

Sometimes, you wonder why four screenwriters would want their names attached to anything as lame as “The App That Stole Christmas.”

A crew of bit players, newcomers and obscure rappers showed up for work on this 63 minute toss-off, a movie with no laughs, no wit and nothing to recommend it.

It’s about Felix (Jackie Long), whose company created a “time thieving app that keeps people apart.” That’s not how he advertises “Bomazon.” But with its animation (amateurish, like the acting) and “buy this/order that” instant gratification, everybody’s hooked on it.

Not that Felix or his hair salon-owner wife (Diane Howard) are enjoying it. They’re glued to their phones, ignoring their son and shrugging off his dad (Miguel A. Núñez Jr.) who lives with them, and who remembers when Felix “played outside” as a boy, and when he “made things with his hands” — durable, wooden toys father and son would whip up in Dad’s workshop.

Felix has a Come to Jesus moment, via rapper JayQ. “Life as you know it” is about to change, the stranger says. Sure enough, Felix has an accident, and he wakes up from his coma in a giant rustic cabin, some busy folks in red and green costumes and the sounds of “Rudolph the Runny-Nosed Reindeer” on the soundtrack.

Say what now?

Our workaholic has to pitch in making toys for a Megyn Kelly-triggering Santa (J. Anthony Brown) and “learn” the error of his ways before he can wake up back home.

The acting’s bad, the dialogue a clutter of cliches, banal affirmations, half-hearted jokes and vocalized pauses — those words all of us use while we’re trying to think of what to say. “You know what I’m saying?” Filler like that should never show up in a script, and this script is almost ALL filler.

Looking for an inclusive Christmas movie after seeing “Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey?” This isn’t it.

MPA Rating: TV-G

Cast: Jackie Long, Ray J, JayQ, Diane Howard, J. Anthony Brown, Miguel A. Núñez Jr., Anthony McKinley and Julia May Wong

Credits: Directed by Monica Floyd, script by Peter John, Monica Floyd, Miriam Bavly and Jenifer Rapaport. A Netflix release.

Running time: 1:03

About Roger Moore

Movie Critic, formerly with McClatchy-Tribune News Service, Orlando Sentinel, published in Spin Magazine, The World and now published here, Orlando Magazine, Autoweek Magazine
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