‘Uncle Nick’ review

unclenick

By Joshua Kaye

There’s no better time throughout the year than Christma – a time where you’re supposed to spread cheer, give presents, and be jolly. Unless your family is a bit dysfunctional, then there’s usually not much cheer to spread or much to be jolly about. In Uncle Nick, we’re shown what one family strives to be — perfect, loving, happy — and what they really are — a mess where it seems no one actually likes each other. What does this lead to? Some drunken shenanigans, a few fights, and maybe a family being ripped apart at the seams. Throughout the film, moments throughout Cleveland sports history are interwoven with the plot, primarily to show how the destruction of one night of the Cleveland Indian’s baseball team relates to one night of Nick ruining the lives of everyone.

Uncle Nick (Brian Posehn) is a drunk, chain-smoking bachelor who doesn’t seem to have his life together. He’s barely keeping his deceased father’s landscaping business afloat, which seems to be the only way he’s been able to make a bit of money and actually survive. Nick is able to gather himself together and find a way to get to his brother’s house for Christmas. Once there, he’s not exactly welcome with open arms. Being three hours early and nothing being ready could be a good reason for that.

It’s here we meet Nick’s brother, Cody (Beau Ballinger). Cody is the youngest of the family, the best looking of the two of them, and appears to have had everything handed to him throughout his life. Most recently, his marriage to the wealthy Sophie (Paget Brewster) has put Cody in a lavish house and with no need to find an actual job.

Nick has one goal this Christmas: to hook up with Sophie’s daughter/his step-niece Val (Melia Renee). Val is a 20-year-old who has been considering dropping out of college to pursue a modeling career, as shown by her modeling for Cody’s “up-and-coming” t-shirt company. Nick makes conversation with Val while also bringing her a bottle of booze and letting her take drags off his cigarettes. Later on, Nick and Cody’s sister Michelle (Missi Pyle) and her husband Kevin (Scott Adsit) arrive at Christmas. The best way to describe Michelle is someone who’s a mix of both Nick and Cody: loud and at times obnoxious, but who also looks good.

Once the whole family is around for Christmas, that’s when things really take off. Nick spikes the eggnog, forcing Sophie’s teenage son Marcus (Jacob Houston) to vomit; the family plays the Christmas game of White Elephant which turns into a disaster; and, Christmas dinner is ruined by the sad tale of Nick and his ex-girlfriend. But none of that tops the reveal at the end of the film.

I’ll say this: Uncle Nick may not be for most audiences. At times, it can be lewd, a bit disgusting, and oftentimes cringeworthy. But as the layers are peeled back for audiences to see… it can still be lewd, disgusting, and cringeworthy. Hell, the main goal of the movie is for Nick to get in the pants of his step-niece. And I’m not sure what’s more shocking: that it almost works, or that he declines the chance for anything to happen. Nick is loud, a bit of a curmudgeon, and a mess of a human being. And a dick, definitely a dick. But he does show at points that he can be a good person, and it’s for that reason he’s not an irredeemable character. Posehn, going into territory he may not have been in before, takes this role and truly does something special with it. And while Uncle Nick may not get a huge audience, in time this could definitely become one of the most fun cult Christmas movies made.

Uncle Nick is directed by Chris Kasick, written by Mike Demski, and stars Brian Posehn, Paget Brewster, Missi Pyle, Scott Adsit, Beau Ballinger, and Melia Renee. Uncle Nick is currently in theaters on a limited release. Uncle Nick is unrated and does contain nudity.

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