Messy Christmas


original; title: Meine schöne Bescherung

by Johnny Web (Uncle Scoopy; Greg Wroblewski)

Although it is a contemporary film in the German language, Messy Christmas is sort of an Elizabethan-style comedy of errors. A loving wife and mother invited her three ex-husbands to Christmas dinner, but did not inform her current husband. Surprise! She then unveiled an even bigger surprise: during Christmas dinner she announced that she was pregnant. Only one little problem: the biggest surprise is on her. Her husband has had a vasectomy that he never told her about because she really wanted a baby and he was afraid of losing her.

The husband then spends most of the movie trying determine the real father by interrogating and intimidating all the ex-husbands and any other male who crosses his path, including Santa.

I know that sounds more like a hand-wringing, staring-into-middle-distance Ingmar Bergman drama than a warm family comedy, but it does have some funny moments. I mean what could be more heart-warming and comical than tiny tots watching daddy beat Santa to a bloody pulp on Christmas Eve? OK, it's not exactly filled with side-splitting, laugh-a-minute antics, but there is a comedic spin to it. By the time the wife made her announcement, the husband had already asked one of the guests for advice about how to tell his wife the secret, so there is comedy hinging upon who knows, who doesn't know, and the significance of that knowledge. The rest of the comic premise, such as it is, derives from the fact that the ex-husbands seem particularly unlikely to have fathered the child, for various reasons apparent to everyone but the putative cuckold.

Yup. Pretty freakin' zany, those Germans! They are possibly even funnier than the Swedes, who had already been there, done that, and bought the souvenir horned hat. Some eight years earlier, the Swedes made "Tomten är far till alla barnen," which is the same movie. I haven't seen the Swedish film, but based on the info available at IMDb, Messy Christmas must be just about a word-for-word translation. The Germans didn't even change the names of most of the characters, thus demonstrating the common cultural heritage of all sauna- and sausage-oriented nations.

The German film industry today seems to be like the Spanish industry in the late 80s and early 90s, when the same eight people seemed to be in every movie. (Did they ever make a movie in Spain without Jorge Sanz in that era?) Messy Christmas includes all the usual people: Martina Gedeck, Meret Becker, Alexandra Neldel, Jasmin Tabatabai, etc. Martina Gedeck has 92 IMDb credits, and she's only in her mid-40s. Gerard Depardieu had "only" 91 at her age. Meret Becker has 67 acting credits, and she's in her 30s. Depardieu had 62 at the same age. And Depardieu is required to appear in every French movie, by dint of the French constitution! He now has 171 acting credits, and he just turned 60. Setting aside the inexhaustible Depardieu and comparing those women to a typical North American star, we find that Catherine Zeta-Jones is the same age as Becker and has only 29 credits!

There is one more quirky thing about German movies. They tend to be like German beaches: filled with naked guys drinking beer, and just an occasional flash of girly bits. This is a family-oriented Christmas movie filled with adorable little tykes singing carols, and yet there is a four-minute sequence filled with completely naked guys taking a sauna and running outside in the snow stark naked.

In contrast, those who love female flesh get only a very brief flash of butt from Jasmin Tabatabai


Not available on Region 1 DVD. here is the link to order from Region 2. (It's in German, but it does have English subtitles.)

DVD features:

  • Commentary with the director Vanessa Jopp and the cinematographer Hans Fromm
  • Making of
  • Deleted scenes
  • Outtakes
  • Photo gallery
  • Trailer



That is the only English language review online.


6.4 IMDB summary (of 10)


Box Office Mojo. It opened in 7th place on 215 theaters in Germany (That's about like 1000 in the states. Multiplying times five gives you the right idea, because major commercial movies open in more than 600 theaters there). It eventually grossed about two million dollars in that country.


  • Substantial male nudity. See the main commentary



Our Grade:

If you are not familiar with our grading system, you need to read the explanation, because the grading is not linear. For example, by our definition, a C is solid and a C+ is a VERY good movie. There are very few Bs and As. Based on our descriptive system, this film is a:


So-so genre film. Watchable, but not worth going out of the way for.