Review: Farce ‘Let’s Kill Grandpa This Christmas’ is no holiday


Black comedies don’t get much broader or more cheerless than “Let’s Kill Grandpa This Christmas,” a low-budget tale of malice and murder played out by six singularly unlikable people. Writer-director-star Brian Gianci keeps a snappy pace, and his cast is admirably willing to take chances, but when the humor doesn’t land — which is most of the time — the movie’s tough to take.

Gianci plays Brett, a cocky schemer who, along with his meek brother-in-law Carl (James Wirt), concocts a plan to bump off their wives’ cantankerous ex-hippie millionaire grandfather (Robert John Keiber), to get their hands on an inheritance both men desperately need.

No piece of scenery goes unchewed in “Let’s Kill Grandpa.” Keiber snaps and snarls; Wirt plays Carl as an uber-nerd; Diana Bologna and Courtney Desmond are unpleasantly shrewish as the men’s spouses; and Mackenzie Westmoreland is sweet but awkwardly cartoonish as a brain-damaged veteran.


Most of the film consists of these one-note characters sniping at each other, interrupted by jokes about sexual and cultural identity that are probably meant to be boldly politically incorrect but instead come off as clumsy.

Gianci has a decent ear for dialogue and does a fair job of recapturing the raucous, play-to-the-cheap-seats style of John Hughes. But here he’s applied those gifts to a dyspeptic farce about as much fun as a holiday hangover.


‘Let’s Kill Grandpa This Christmas’

Not rated

Running time: 1 hour, 21 minutes

Playing: Arena Cinelounge Sunset, Hollywood

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