What happens when you take the writers of S.N.L. and Mad TV, lock them in a room and tell them that they need to write a movie appropriate for Lifetime Christmas Season?
You get Pottersville.
This is a sweet, sugary romantic comedy that still manages to hit all the romance tropes, but still have some surprises that were definitely spoiled in the trailers (which I never saw).
To be honest, the only reason why I bought this film was for Michael Shannon. That man is wonderful to watch. He approaches this movie with an air reserved for Jimmy Steward. Everything he does is selfless, and puts the town first. The characters are painted with broad, but funny strokes. The love interest is played with quiet interest by Judy Greer, who needs to get more work. The wife / romantic foil is played by the voluptuous and carnivore in bunny’s clothing Christina Hendricks, and the funniest person there is Thomas Lennon as Brock Masterson. Ron Perlman and Ian McShane play supporting characters, but they definitely have an impact and certainly are not wasted.
I, as a rule, try to avoid Christmas films and there are a very few romantic comedies that I like. Pottersville is one. I like the slightly subversive tone the movie adopts early on, even if we saw part of it coming. As I said, the movie hits all the right plot points at the right time. This is a movie that was made for a specific audience, skewering another specific audience. There was no unique statement to be made. Everything gets wrapped up satisfactorily in the final last five minutes.
Is this a movie that you should run out and get immediately? No. There are a lot of better movies in either romance or comedy out there to watch. If you happen to find it during the holiday season, should you grab it and enjoy turning off your brain for a few minutes? Sure. Pop it in with your favorite bottle of wine, cheeses and a warm knit rabbit sweater.