Like something from Tiffany’s, this comfort romance movie is wrapped in a glossy gift box that uses style to distract from its under-baked supporting characters.
Planning a Christmas proposal to his girlfriend, Ethan brings his daughter to pick out the perfect ring from the jewel-toned Tiffany’s store. Another shopper at the jewelry store, Gary, is looking for the cheapest option to gift his girlfriend, Rachel. Right as both these men leave, Gary is hit by a car. Dropping the blue gift bag, Ethan comes to his aid and mistakenly picks up the wrong present as he flees the scene. They don’t know they have each other’s gifts until Christmas morning when both their girlfriends react to what is in that tiny blue box.
Adapted from the novel of the same name, Something From Tiffany’s quickly sets up its simple, unrealistic premise in the first few minutes. After discovering the ring is gone, Ethan tracks down Rachel and the two immediately strike up a natural dynamic as they stroll down the streets of New York City. While the unfolding of the mix-up is predictable, the charming chemistry between Zoey Deutch’s Rachel and Kendrick Sampson’s Ethan holds the movie together. Rachel feels straight out of a sitcom while Ethan is a sensitive father. Their electric onscreen appearance lightens up the tone of the film.
Something From Tiffany’s struggles in its attempt to fit all the criteria of what is expected in a romantic comedy and holiday movie into 90 minutes. It is mostly composed of derivations from other films that never makes the world feel lived-in but artificial. It is not interested in adding anything new to the formulaic genre, by having the mold but leaving out the substance. Like many other modern rom-coms, it tries to have viral one-liners instead of interesting dialogue or risks in its situational comedy. The sparkly production design and crisp cinematography come together to craft a picturesque fantasy holiday city that is pure escapism. Other than Ethan and Rachel’s conversations, nothing about this film feels organic; it is all strategically placed in order to get to the perfect ending.
Little room is left in the script to develop the supporting cast of the Christmas tale. The significant others of Ethan and Rachel are neglected and never explored, only defined by a one-word adjective. It wants the audience to root for Rachel and Ethan to be together, but it never shows why their current relationships aren’t right for them to justify the flirtation. The film does have good commentary on the idea of what makes a good partnership, in that in both relationships, the couples are complete opposites. Rachel has a business partner, Terri, whose entire presence feels like a quota as she is pigeonholed into the gay best friend trope. These flat characters don’t add anything to the narrative except barely challenging their leads.
The editing of the film feels very innovative for a holiday romantic comedy. A standout scene is when the couples find out the bags were swapped. By cutting together the couples finding out at the same time, director Daryl Wein builds anticipation for the audience to figure out the impact of the mix-up on the two hesitant couples. The misunderstanding at the beginning of the film shows that an attempt to break out of the holiday movie formula was considered.
Should be Considered: None
Where to Watch: Amazon Prime
Lives in LA
Favorite Director: David Fincher