***½ out of ****
Director: Francis Abbey
Cast: Demetrius Parker, Bridget Devlin Burke, Jim Murphy
Back in 1967, “Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner” answered the question just what would happen if your very white daughter brought home her very black boyfriend. It is an idea that was shunned by many back in the day but has since become a natural occurrence. Now we look at films like “Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner” and its remake starring Ashton and we think of them as a great idea for a hilarious comedy (even thought there is nothing hilarious about the remake). So it begs the question – what would the result be if you put that idea and threw in a few scenes with reefer?
The end result – “Boxing Day.”
“Boxing Day” takes the idea of your daughter bringing home a black man and goes two steps farther. It’s not only an examination of how we’re so uptight about different races today, but how stupid some people can be by judging these races. But believe me, unlike the remake of “Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner,” “Boxing Day” is possibly one of the funniest independent flicks that I’ve ever seen. It acts like a more serious version of “Borat” though it is never once the least bit serious. And the saddest part about this is that it is funnier than some of the comedies released this summer. “What Happens in Vegas” and “The Love Guru,” anyone?
Emmy (Bridget Devlin Burke) and Darryl (Demetrius Parker) have met over the internet on an online dating website, and decided to come visit Emmy’s family for the holidays. There is just one problem – the last two times that Emmy brought her ex-boyfriends to her family, they ran off on her afterwards. Being that Darryl is African American doesn’t help either. When Darryl walks through the door and Emmy’s mother (Vicki Hartford) blows her rape whistle, he knows that he is in for one hell of a day.
Aside of a few minor problems, which I will get to in a moment, I have to admit that I really enjoyed Francis Abbey’s “Boxing Day.” When the filmmaker sent me a request asking him to review his film, I didn’t think I could have reviewed the film in an objective manner. I remember talking to FilmArcade.net’s Jerry a few months back and he told me that he was working on this film. He guaranteed me that the film would be a fun time. Being objective to the film wasn’t hard at all. All I can tell you is that Jerry told the truth – “Boxing Day” is a hilarious and fun flick.
Among the mother, we are introduced to the rest of the family. There is the foot doctor of a father, (Jim Murphy) who seems to be the main reason why every boyfriend of Emmy’s has ran away. There is Emmy’s brother Rick, (Danny Gavigan) a prison-escaped criminal just looking for a way to escape to Mexico. And out of the clear blue sky is Emmy’s sister Grace, (Jenna St. John) who is just the normal teenager who thinks she knows everything. Oh, and she hated the season finale of “Dawson’s Creek.”
It feels like that the first two-thirds of the script was all of the racist jokes that the writers have heard of, but I feel guilty having to admit that I laughed at most of them. This doesn’t make me racist, but rather it makes me able to take a joke. Most comedies today rely on using this kind of humor to get a good laugh, but here, it isn’t the jokes that garner them as much as it is the expressions that follow the one-liners.
The acting in “Boxing Day” is without a doubt the most impressive part of the film. Demetrius Parker decides to steer away from the black stereotype and really acts like a normal man should. Danny Gavigan comes off as a mix of Dax Shepard and Danny McBride. Jenna St. John proves that she needs more work, because there simply aren’t enough actors that are at par with her level. The most impressive comes from Jim Murphy, who never fails to give the audience the laughs that they deserve.
My biggest complaint goes to a few of the scenes where a little bit of the audio is distorted. While the film is premiering in a day, IMDb still lists that it is in post-production. I have a feeling that this will be fixed for its final release, but for now, that is just my biggest complaint.
“Boxing Day” is one of the funniest independent films that I’ve ever seen. If you would like to see this film, you can catch the world premiere at the American Film Institute Theater in Silver Spring, Maryland on August 7th.