Uncle Nick Blu-ray Review

  • Actor: Brian Posehn
  • Director: Chris Kasick
  • Format: Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region A/1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: Not Rated
  • Studio: MPI HOME VIDEO
  • Release Date: November 1, 2016
  • Run Time: 81 minutes

        Holiday movies about dysfunctional families and their behavior are almost as commonplace as the saccharine feel-good films of the season, but Uncle Nick takes it to a darker place than usual. It isn’t just the darkness, but how grounded in realism Uncle Nick is that makes it so depressingly bleak. I appreciate dark comedies, but this one has too few laughs for the dreariness that must be endured. Most Christmas films all end the same, with the family coming together and repairing damaged relationships in order to celebrate the season. While I commend Uncle Nick for avoiding the seasonal clich├ęs, few films have left me with less of a desire to celebrate the holidays.

        The movie is instead structured around the telling of a notorious evening in Cleveland baseball history, as told by local fanatic Nick (Brian Posehn). As Nick unravels the tale of “ten-cent beer night,” the baseball debauchery correlates with the increasingly sloppy events occurring at the family Christmas gathering. Nick and his raucous sister (Missi Pyle) join their younger brother (Beau Ballinger) with his new wife (Paget Brewster) and her kids from the past marriage. These kids include a snarky teenage (Jacob Houston) and a 22-year-old vixen (Melia Renee) that Nick awkwardly lusts after despite being her uncle by marriage.

        I have to assume that this uncomfortably inappropriate relationship is the primary focus of the film, if not because it takes up nearly as much of the screen time as the baseball stories, because of the title itself. It is somewhat like American Beauty with eggnog and a fraction of the same thoughtfulness (possibly due to the eggnog). As the evening wears on and Nick gets increasingly drunk, he becomes bolder in his creepy and inappropriate behavior, eventually leading to a full-on family meltdown.  The setting and the dynamic may start like a typical dysfunctional family Christmas film, but it is the ending that gives the middle finger to the typical traditions of the holiday movie.

        The film is produced by legendary documentary filmmaker, Errol Morris, who director Chris Kasick used to work for. This may explain the realism of the film, including the sequences involving the historical baseball narrative used as a larger allegory for the film. Although the low budget look of Uncle Nick doesn’t demand a high definition viewing, the Blu-ray does come with a collection of extras to up the stakes. Along with a commentary track featuring Kasick, Posehn and writer Mike Demski, there is also a collection of outtakes and a feature which plays all of the barf scenes from the film set to a classic Christmas tune. There is also a trailer gallery and a collection of posed family photos from the cast. 
Entertainment Value: 6/10
Quality of Filmmaking: 5/10
Historical Significance:  3/10
Special Features: 4/10

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