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'Christmas Eve' with these New Yorkers is a big holiday letdown

'Christmas Eve' with these New Yorkers is a big holiday letdown
Patrick Stewart in "Christmas Eve." (Unstuck)

"Christmas Eve" takes place in New York City, with six groups of stereotypically obnoxious characters getting stuck for hours in elevators after a service van runs over an electrical box, severing a power line. These self-absorbed New Yorkers uncharacteristically strike up lengthy, insufferable conversations.

Scenes from the six elevators ranked from least to most exasperating: a pompous real-estate developer delivering a soliloquy of verbal abuse; a boss barely tolerating an employee he's laying off; a dying cardiac liposarcoma patient insisting that her staunchly atheist doctor should pray; a computer programmer and an art curator humoring three uncultured dimwits; seven melodramatic musicians from an orchestra getting hysterical; and finally, a man aggressively harassing a woman to show her how truly beautiful she is.

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Sofia, Bulgaria, stands in for the Big Apple here, which still doesn't help explain why the elevators are practically the size of most Manhattan bedrooms and none of the buildings have functional backup generators.

Like many films of this ilk, the characters and stories are interconnected. But it's probably some kind of a record that writer-director Mitch Davis has managed to cram more than 20 characters who are so vapid and annoying into one ensemble piece.

Who knew a movie seemingly meant to spread holiday cheer could be so off-putting in an almost sadistic way?

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