The holidays are a time for tradition: doing the same things we do every year because we love them, because they bring us a sense of peace in an ever-changing world, because they help connect us to the people you love. We make the same foods, celebrate the same rituals, watch the same old movies. Unfortunately, one tradition that manages to hold on is the infiltration of Love, Actually on every channel.
Love, Actually, if you've had the pleasure of forgetting, is that overwhelmingly British Christmas movie (it's actually an American movie set in London, which explains a lot) with like 35 main characters and the child who sings the Mariah Carey Christmas song at the end. It's a sort of proto-Valentine's Day or He's Just Not That Into You format with just a ton of loosely interwoven stories of people trying to find love...actually. At Christmastime. How precious.
There are about as many plot holes as there are characters (which is about 4,500), which Lindy West did a great, maniacal job of pointing out a few years ago. Why are they recording a Christmas song 5 weeks before Christmas? What is Natalie's actual job? Why is everyone in love with their coworkers? Don't they have HR policies about that? Doesn't anyone just go meet people in normal ways like bars or parties or Match dot fucking com? It's 2003, people.
Anyway, once you accept the total void of logic that is Love, Actually—surprise! There's more to hate. It's pretty much gross and offensive in more ways than you would even expect a Christmas movie to manage. For one thing, those fat jokes. My god. Hugh Grant plays the Prime Minister, and Martine McCucheon plays his young staffer, Natalie, who is just pretty objectively not fat. And yet, the duration of the movie is spent making jokes about how fat her ass is. Like, everyone, including senior government staffers. Which like, ok, not unrealistic, but for Christ's sake, can we not?
Other love plots include some guy who gets cheated on by his girlfriend with her brother, who then falls in love with a woman he literally does not know because he accidentally saw her skinny dipping once. (Bonus fat jokes when the sexy skinny-dipper gets confused with her fat sister, because as we all know, fat women aren't loved. Unless they're literally not fat and just get called fat, like Natalie.)
There's also a storyline in which a twerpy ginger dude goes to the U.S. to bag some babes, and it works: horny Betty Draper and friends fawn over him like something even most pornos are too well-written to try to sell you. Seriously:
Okay, so the meaning of love is a bunch of dudes who lack boundaries winning one or more unspeaking women-trophies for Christmas, in no small part (in the movie's logic) because of their sexy British accents.
What's happening here, guys? Do American guys think this is how it works for the British? Do men not understand the mechanics of sexual harassment in the workplace (it's creepy when the American president hits on you, but charming when the British prime minister does)? This is supposed to be both Christmasy and romantic? Do you secretly hate Christmas?
It's one of those movies that believes in its charm so much, it thinks it can trick you into not being cynical about "love" or commercialization of the holidays or whatever by exposing a number of loveable cynics and making them fall in love anyway. Well guess what, buddy, it's gonna take a lot more than some vapid, frequently offensive, and downright absurd (not in a good way) British Christmas movie to vanquish my cynicism. This movie is just terribly written and embarrassingly unfunny, and I can't think of any movie that's better at killing the holiday spirit. In short, Love, Actually is the real War on Christmas.
Besides, if you're looking to believe in the magic of Christmas again, just watch Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer or something again, geez. That one is fucking adorable no matter how old you get.