Patricio Etxebeste owns a beret-making factory. An important local figure, he is standing for mayor in the upcoming elections. What nobody knows is that he is completely ruined and can't even pay for his yearly holiday.
Happy New Year, Grandma is a mean-spirited film that seems designed to spite the viewer for the time spent watching it. Ostensibly a black comedy, the film is largely tone-deaf when it comes to humor, and is unable to deliver a single amusing moment in the final act of the film, which becomes increasingly difficult to watch.
Briefly summarized, the film is about the trials & travails of a family dealing with an elderly relative (the "grandma" of the title, although she is actually a great grandmother) who needs constant care and attention, perhaps because she has dementia, or perhaps because she is pretending to have lost her senses in order to get more attention. Despite being severely burdened by her care, the woman's adult daughter, Maritxu, is unwilling to put her in a home. So, the rest of the family concoct a scheme to institutionalize grandma while Maritxu and her husband are on vacation. All does not turn out well.
The film is perfectly watchable for most of its duration, as doddering old grandma causes one problem after another, occasionally resulting in humorous developments. This is why I don't give it a much lower score. But having earned some audience goodwill and having convinced the viewer that it might be worth sticking it out to the end, the film then takes a sharp turn for the worse in the final act, frequently confusing senseless acts of violence and cruelty with dark humor. The last 20-30 minutes or so are about as funny as one of Weegee's crime scene photos, and about as enjoyable to look at.
The reader may at this point be tempted to dismiss this review, thinking that perhaps this reviewer simply does not understand or appreciate dark humor, but I have greatly enjoyed black comedies such as The Trouble with Harry, Dr. Strangelove, M*A*S*H, In Bruges, The Guard, and even the misanthropic-but-devilishly-funny Burn After Reading. This film is ultimately very little like these films in tone or style of humor, which it largely lacks.
Happy New Year, Grandma appears to be the product of someone who simply has an impaired or very irregular sense of humor and thought it might be masked by labeling this wildly uneven, borderline psychopathic, largely unfunny film as a black comedy. I cannot recommend it to anyone, except as an object lesson in how to completely squander and undermine audience goodwill in the final act of a film.
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