Stream or skip? +2023

Christmas film Deluge ’22 soldiers with Polish comedy Delivery by Christmas (now on Netflix), which puts a parcel courier at the center of a small maelstrom of misdelivered gifts. It seems to aim for the sublime, but lands a little on the silly, which turns out to be not such a terrible thing.

The essentials: It’s not too big of a deal when Marysia (Monika Frajczyk) takes her young son Maks (Franciszek Krupowicz) to work. There’s room for him in her battered but trustworthy van, which she uses to deliver packages for a rude, insecure boss who’s a bastard with a pickled liver who can’t give a speech at the Christmas party to save his life, and who leans on Marysia for a totally unwarranted and unwanted kiss. jick. Sad and drunk, he reacts to her rejection by mixing up the labels on the four packages she has to deliver the next day, which is particularly problematic because today is the day before Christmas and so the next day is the day before Christmas. uh oh

Luckily Marysia only has four packages to deliver, otherwise this movie could be well over 100 minutes long. Of course, the deliveries are in different locations – they can’t all be in the same neighborhood lest the excitement be spoiled. Let’s see if I can sort out the more dramatically critical senders, receivers and objects involved in this scenario in a coherent manner: There’s Krzysiek (Piotr Pacek), a guy working in an office whom we meet in an earlier scene, to find he’s a nice enough guy – he’s friendly to Maks on a chance meeting in a restroom – though he’s a total J-hole to Marysia in a few later scenes. He wants his grandfather (Zdzislaw Wardejn) to send him an engagement ring that belonged to Krzysiek’s grandmother, but Gramps is having a hard time with that, so he puts a weird item (that won’t spoil the gag) in a box and has it for Marysia to deliver – to the wrong person. Someday anyway.

Marysia unknowingly delivers the comic object to a tailor who interprets it a certain way (you’ll find out) because it was sent by one of his customers, a lonely and apparently deeply sexually unfulfilled woman (Dorota Kolak) whose husbands prefer it would be watching giraffes on tv than realizing she just dropped her nightgown. There’s a dope (Lukasz Gawronski) way too old to live with his parents (Barbara Kurzaj and Lukasz Simlat) whose gift from a co-worker leaves him stunned. What about this, that and something else, a couple of policemen (Zuzanna Pulawska and Radoslaw Rozniecki) get involved in the plot a little strangely. The packages contain an ultrasound photo of an unborn child, a strange little doll with a USB stick hidden inside, and a pair of slippers; somehow Marysia’s Christmas present for Maks gets mixed up. Sorting through all of this requires considerable skill in the art of untangling things, but Marysia is pretty much the only person in this storyline with all her wits and attitude, so she’s up for the task, thank goodness, even with Krzysiek out any reason comes along .

'Delivery by Christmas'
Photo: Netflix

Which movies will it remind you of?: First of all, don’t confuse it with the Hallmark film of 2020 Delivery by Christmas – that you don’t have the “y”. Delivery by Christmas is Polish, so to speak love actually crossed with The Butterfly Effectbecause Sloppy Boss ends up significantly affecting a bunch of lives with nothing but a small action.

Notable performance: Frajczyk holds the film together with her no-nonsense, grounded in reality characterization of a working-class single mother who’s certainly rolled down with so many life strokes by this point that a Christmas Eve package mix-up is just one more thing to add to her to-do list .

Memorable dialogue: The Fool’s Dad shares this wisdom quip regarding his son’s tremendous lack of motivation: “The only thing that happens by itself is rusting.”

gender and skin: The bare pale bottom of an old man.

Our opinion: An act of drunken spite almost, but not quite, ruins a bunch of Christmases with its mischievous, slightly malicious ripple effect – it leads to all parties involved spurring some much-needed change, so perhaps Sloppy Boss is an unwitting agent of Destiny itself. Not that the film had such grandiose ideas in mind – all the ins, outs and what the day knows Delivery by Christmas can be boiled down to a succinct statement, finding someone whose company you truly appreciate at Christmas, because life can be too short to do anything else. It’s a sweet feeling. Easy to swallow, like a sip of warm holiday cocoa. Even downright huggable.

And it’s very much a series of unfortunate, but actually probably happy events that only happen in movies, you know, slightly comical inventions punctuated with simple truisms. But this story isn’t entirely implausible — or perhaps predictable — which helps a lot to keep us on board with Marysia’s struggles. Surrounded by stereotypical, if gentle, supporting characters, Frajczyk is key in conveying the script’s whimsical seriousness; The character has a job that society undervalues, but Marysia knows the importance of getting the right package to the right person on time during the holidays. She seems to be the kind of person who does the right thing most of the time, who accepts her lot in life and makes the best of it, and teaches her child to do the same. Delivery by Christmas is a bit goofy and probably not quite as moving as it would like to be, but ultimately manages with its unassuming charm.

Our appeal: STREAM IT and you’ll probably smile a few times, which isn’t nothing. Delivery by Christmas is a light dusting of snow – easy on the eyes and comfortable, but it does not impede traffic.

John Serba is a freelance writer and film critic based in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Read more about his work below

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