Principal Cast : Melissa McCarthy, Paapa Essiedu, Denee Benton, Jordyn McIntosh, Alan Cumming, Marc Maron, Tate Ellington, LaChanze, Ellen Cleghorne, Oberon Adjepong, Ego Nwodim, John Reynolds, Nyasha Hatendi, Ralph Brown, Luis Guzman.
Synopsis: The film is a fairy-tale comedy about a workaholic man who enlists the help of a magical genie to help win his family back before Christmas.
Prior to reading this review, I should once again reiterate than I am unabashedly not a Melissa McCarthy fan. At least, not to the extent that I race out and see every single project she’s involved in, because I typically find her humour abrasive and disingenuous despite Hollywood’s obvious mission to place her atop – or at least adjacent to – the pinnacle of female comedienne talent studios use to make a buck. Redoubtably her comedy films are hit or miss, and for me almost always a miss, although having said that, like most comedians when she turns her focus to dramatic roles – Can You Ever Forgive Me is both a leading turn and dramatic film that comes directly from the top shelf – she’s usually a worthwhile time investment. About the only comedy films I’ve seen her in that I have any time for is Spy, and Bridesmaids, but the rest I could leave. So when I spotted her appearing in a Netflix original film as some impish genie granting some poor fool limitless wishes to straighten up his life, I figured it would be a harmless, laughless goof not worthy of my time.
To suggest I was wrong is an understatement. No, I don’t mean that Genie is a wonderful Christmas film, or a brilliant comedy, or a satisfying McCarthy movie, but my suggestion that this is a harmless goof is well off the mark. There is nothing about Genie that could reasonably be described as “entertainment”. From the script, to the acting, to the direction, there is not a single thing about this film that is competent, or enjoyable. It’s the film equivalent of diarrhoea, a liquid shit oozing down your leg that stinks, you can’t stop, and no matter how you try you cannot make it palatable to living, thinking human beings. McCarthy plays the titular genie released by Paapa Essiedu’s gormless Bernard, who is having a mini-life crisis when he accidentally is forced to work through the Christmas holidays by his remarkably dull boss, played by an astoundingly bad Alan Cumming.
The film plays like a Hallmark movie, all glossy and slick but delivered with the wit and charm of rancid meat, and although you absolutely can tell McCarthy is The Star of it all, and gives by far and away the best performance, that’s like suggesting the smallest wart on my bunghole is somehow better than all the others. It’s a miasma of terrible acting, terrible dialogue, ropey direction and a sadistic tone of unrelenting cheeriness personifying the very worst of Hallmark traits. Where there should be charm, there exists turgid “comedy” and protracted pauses for the non-existent audience to chuckle their asses off… if there weren’t already comatose from watching. Idiotic characters, nonsensical plotting and risible performances from everyone turn this from a silly piece of seasonal fluff into a monstrous aberration of the cinematic artform.
Not a single thing about Genie is redeeming. This is an awful movie, a complete travesty and one of the worst things I’ve seen this year. Unrepentantly hideous, everyone involved should be ashamed of themselves.